Most of your visit to Indias most-famous attraction is natural and inspiring. If it is your first visit, however, it is easy to make the following mistakesMistake 1: Make your visit too short.Buses have been known to allow as little as half an hour to see the Taj Mahal, which is hardly time to walk the length of the reflecting pool. If this is your buss timetable, consider finding another. Allow a minimum of two hours to fully savor the poem in marble.Mistake 2: Arrive with no prior knowledge of the Taj Mahal.The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum and not a palace; it was created by a Mughal king in honor of his wife who died giving birth to their fourteenth child, and it is covered in real marble. There is much more to the story that will enhance your enjoyment of what you will see and feel. Do yourself a favor and enjoy some reading and research beforehand; the more you know, the richer your experience. Guidebooks, such as Eyewitness, are helpful.Mistake 3: Remain with your guide or group during your entire visit.After hearing what they have to tell you, leave them and wander to a secluded spot so you can gaze at this wonder of marital love on your own. Carve out time for solitude. Sit on a bench and contemplate the grace, balance, and beauty of Shah Jahans creation.Mistake 4: Limit your visit to the Taj Mahal to only one time of the day.Throughout daylight, the marble dome reflects sunshine with hues of pink, orange and white. Clouds and rain add additional interest. In Agra, the sky provides a backdrop for the double dome of the Taj Mahal. See as many of these variations as you can. Count yourself blessed if you are able to see the Taj Mahal in the moonlight.Mistake 5: Become frustrated with the guides and photographers.It is a popular business to impart information and produce a lasting memory for you at the Taj Mahal. Guides will ask if you want them to tell you about their countrys most famous attraction. Photographers will want to snap shots of you during your visit. Most of them are citizens of the country you are visiting. If you have made plans that exclude your need for their services, refuse with firm courtesy. Your desire for personal viewing time needs to be balanced with their need to work.Mistake 6: Dont take anyor enough--pictures.The Taj Mahal is the single most photographed place in India. You can add to this distinction with your own images. Unless you are certain you will return shortly, visually record your favorite sights while within the walls of the Taj complex. Are you drawn to the walkway? The row of shoes outside the entrance? The black and white pattern of the platform? The inlaid prayer rugs in the mosque? Whatever they are, record details as touchstones for remembered pleasureFrom the moment you enter through the gate and stroll along the dazzling, rectangular reflecting pool, the lovely mausoleum will draw you to its marble steps. Slipping off your shoes, you will pass into a softly lit interior, and circle two richly inlaid caskets beneath a great domed ceiling. The carvings on the walls, the spectacular dome, and the harmony of all the details are there for you to admire.The truth of the matter is you could actually make all the mistakes above and still be touched by the Taj Mahal. It is a sight undiminished by expectations.
Hello From Nova Scotia - Part 21 - Exploring The Halifax Harbourwalk And Pier 21 - Canada's Immigration Museum
My Halifax City Tour, expertly narrated by Allen Mackenzie, a passionate Haligonian in a kilt, had provided me with a great overview of this city, and my visit to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic had added to my knowledge of Halifax, particularly of its connection to the Titanic and the 1917 Explosion. Still mulling over the historic significance of this city, the largest population centre on Canadas East Coast, I sat down close to the waterfront to finally have lunch and strengthen myself after an intense introduction to the city.On this sunny, fairly warm day I had a seat on the outdoor patio of Stayners Wharf, one of the restaurants on the Waterfront, located right next to the Halifax Dartmouth Ferry Terminal. I was finally able to catch a rest, relax in the autumn sun and get ready for my lunch. I ordered the Captains Brunch, a pan-seared brunch-size portion of Atlantic salmon with one lightly fried egg, creamy whipped potatoes topped with a bit of Hollandaise sauce, served with a slice of tomato and cucumber. It was a very satisfying lunch, looking out onto Halifax waterfront, with a view of the Theodore Too, Halifax famous TV-show inspired tugboat.I took about half an hour before I got up and made my way southwards on the Harbourwalk, Halifaxs 3.8 km boardwalk that stretches all the way from Casino Nova Scotia in the north to the Pier 21 National Historic Site in the south. More than 2.5 million visitors walk the Harbourwalk annually. $31 million were invested in order to purchase and rejuvenate properties and to renew infrastructure. The Harbourwalk is composed of a series of public parks, wharves and plazas all connected by a boardwalk system that is primarily wooden to reflect the historic marine character of Halifax's waterfront which is now easily accessible to the public. People were out in full force, enjoying the pleasant weather. Several street comedians were performing right next to the waterfront, drawing huge crowds of onlookers.The Halifax Harbour actually is one of the worlds best natural harbours as it extends almost 20 km inland into the Bedford Basin. Several islands are located in the harbour. The closest to the harbour entrance is Georges Island which has been designated a National Historic Site although it is not currently accessible to the public. This island has long played an important role in the harbours defense system.McNabs Island is located farther out in the harbour and is accessible via a ferry from the Eastern Passage or via a charter boat from Cable Wharf. This island was settled in the past although the homesteads are now abandoned. A lighthouse, ruined fortress and batteries as well as sand beaches can be found on McNabs Island. One more island, Lawlors Island, is located close to the mainland. It never had any military installations and today is a protected nature area.The Halifax harbour also features a deportation cross, reminiscent of the famous deportation cross at the Grand Pr, the original deportation site of the Acadian Expulsion. And being Canadas major seaport on the east coast, it has always had a strategic military role and even today features key military installations.As I was walking along Harbourwalk, I saw various ships passing in and out of the narrow passage, but the most interesting one was a military submarine, with all the sailors standing on deck, often waving to the fascinated audience on land. I was wondering when the sailors would disappear below deck, but I lost sight of them as I walked southwards towards the pier buildings.Halifax is a true centre of ocean transport due to being blessed with one of the worlds deepest and largest natural harbours. The harbours waters remain ice-free and experience minimal tides and the port generally is the first inbound and the last outbound port to North America from Europe, the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. It is also a major cruise ship centre: in 2005 108 cruise vessels with over 188,000 visitors docked in Halifax, causing a major economic infusion for the city.In line with the ocean transportation theme, a monument to a famous Halifax resident is located just south of the entrance gate to the Halifax Port area: Samuel Cunard (1787 to 1865) , a native son of Halifax, is forever commemorated in a bronze statue that prominently presides over the Port of Halifax. Cunard became a "Nova Scotia" shipping magnate, whose Cunard Steamship Line would run many of the famous transatlantic ocean liners in the 1800s. His primary competitor was the White Star Line, whose ill-fated ocean liner Titanic sank 750 km off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1912. After this disaster, Cunard dominated the transatlantic passenger shipping and his company became one of the most important companies in the world. The Cunard lines fortune began to decline in the 1950s when air travel became popular, but over the last few years has experienced a major revival with the world renowned Queen Mary 2, the first ocean liner to be built in 30 years, and the largest passenger liner ever built. In 1998 Cunard was taken over by Carnival Corporation, but the Cunard name can still be seen on the side of the Queen Mary 2.I was in luck, because as I strolled closer to the pier buildings in the Halifax Port area, I saw that the Queen Mary 2 was indeed in town. An impressive ship, it appears to be about 8 to 10 stories tall and towers over the port buildings. Right here, with the Queen Mary 2 as a backdrop, I had reached my next destination: Pier 21, Canadas immigration museum.Upon arrival I connected with Stefani Angelopoulos, Communications Manager for the museum who was so kind to give me a personalized tour through this unique facility. Pier 21 is the Canadian equivalent to Ellis Island: more than a million immigrants came through its doors between 1928 and 1971. Until its opening in the late 1990s, the building sat empty as a warehouse and was finally turned into a museum in 1999 and designated as a National Historic Site. It was also the embarkation point for about 500,000 soldiers who were transported from here to fight in the Second World War. Halifax strategic importance in linking Canada with Europe became evident once again.Stefani informed me that between 1942 and 1948, more than 48,000 War Brides came to Canada from Britain and other countries in Europe and they brought 22,000 children with them. They had fallen in love with Canadian soldiers and were ready to start their new life in Canada. The vast majority arrived in 1946, 60 years ago, and made their first connection with their new homeland right here in Halifax, at Pier 21. Many then took a train from here to start their new lives in other parts of the country.I learned that to commemorate the 60 year anniversary, Via Rail came up with a special event in celebration of this occasion: the 2006 War Bride Train which is scheduled to bring hundreds of Canadian War Brides back to Pier 21 where their lives in Canada began. On November 6 the train will depart in Montreal and arrive on November 7 in Halifax where there will be great opportunities for celebration and reminiscing for hundreds of War Brides. Stefani commented that Pier 21 is linked to so many moving human stories that sometimes it is hard to keep a dry eye.We started our tour at the Research Centre downstairs which has a collection of photographs of over 90% of the ships that transported immigrants to Halifax from 1928 to 1971. Images and newspaper photographs tell the diverse stories of immigrants, mostly from Western Europe and the Mediterranean area. Many images also relate to the almost half a million Canadian troops that departed from Pier 21 in Halifax to join the war effort in Europe during the Second World War.The Research Centre also provides public reference for all oceanimmigration records from 1925 to 1935 and many Canadians specifically come to Pier 21 to research their parent's or grandparent's arrival records in Canada. Four computer terminals provide access to the website, to the stories database, the ship database and other electronic resources related to immigration. Microfilm records contain the responses to 28 questions that a prospective immigrant would have to answer prior to being allowed to enter Canada. These microfilms are some of the most popular records in the Research Centre.Although I have no personal connection to Pier 21, having arrived by myself in Toronto without family in 1986, Carrie-Ann Smith, Pier 21s Manager of Research, provided me with a copy of the entire chapter on German and Austrian immigration, taken from the Encyclopedia of Canadas Peoples, edited by Paul R. Magocsi, and published in 1999 by University of Toronto Press. I found out that about 31,000 Austrian immigrants came through Pier 21 from 1928 to 1971, compared to 1,152,400 immigrants from the United Kingdom and 527,000 immigrants from the United States. In addition to 48,000 War Brides and their children, many refugees and displaced persons also came to Canada during these years, including about 69,700 Jewish immigrants, many of whom were victims of the Holocaust. In addition, Canada also welcomed about 3,000 Evacuee Children from the United Kingdom who were evacuated during WWII due to the heavy bombing raids and the perceived threat of invasion. More than 250,000 children were supposed to be evacuated, but one of the ships transporting children was sunk by enemy ships so the program was cut short.Another category of immigrant were the Home Children: more than 100,000 left Great Britain between the late 1860s and the mid 1930s due to the extreme poverty in their home country. These children would typically be employed either as domestic help or farm labourers, and the practice was already dwindling when Pier 21 opened in 1928. Stories representing the almost half a million WWII veterans who embarked for military service in Europe from Pier 21 during the Second World War, can also be found here. The human stories of so many different types of people provide fascinating insights into one of the most turbulent times of human history and Canadas role in it.Pier 21 is certainly one of Canadas most unique museums, testimony to the key role that immigration has played and continues to play in this country. You enter the museum and arrive in a large exhibition hall, the Kenneth C. Rowe Heritage Hall, a multi-purpose area that can also be rented out for private functions which holds up to 600 guests. Up the elevators you arrive in the main exhibit area which features a wide variety of exhibits illustrating the immigration experience. The Rudolph Peter Batty Exhibition Hall allows you to retrace the steps of an immigrant who just arrived at the Halifax Harbour, complete with wooden waiting benches and an immigration officers desk. The Wall of Ships features images of many of the ocean liners that used to transport thousands of immigrants to their new home country. A replica of a Canadian National Railway car conjures up memories of the train journeys that so many immigrants took across Canada to their new homes in different parts of the country.Six video booths provide access to video clips featuring the story of immigrants from different places. As a Canadian immigrant from Austria, I sat down in the first video booth where an Austrian video testimonial was being played and I saw the story of an Austrian immigrant , a man who had come to make his life in Canada in the 1950s. His emotion and gratefulness to his new country were clearly visible.For the entire story including photos please visithttp://www.travelandtransitions.com/stories_photos/halifax_pier21.htm
The weather in the Costa Blanca region of Spain is mild all year round and is one of the driest areas in the country. The southern part of the Costablanca region below Alicante has the mildest weather, enjoying approximately three hundred days of sunshine annually. The Worth Health Organization has indicated that the weather in this region is one of the healthiest climates in the world, due to the abundant sunshine, milder temperatures in the winter and the lack of extreme weather fluctuations. The summer is the most popular vacation time in this region. This seasons hot, dry weather is perfect for enjoying the beach and outdoor activities, such as golf which is a popular vacation activity. There is very little rain during the summer and temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit are very common. The temperature may fall somewhat toward the evening, but it does not get cold. The Costa Blanca region experiences rain more in the autumn than any other season. Its rainfall is from two sources, the cold air from the north and the Atlantic airflow. The cold air from the north reaches the higher temperatures of the nearby Mediterranean Sea and increases the movement of air, leading to heavy rainfall. With such rains, flooding is possible. November is the wettest month of the year for this region, with some rainfall likely in the early part of both the spring and autumn. There is not as much rain in the spring as there is in the autumn, but it does experience some rainfall. Daytime temperatures range from 20 to 27 degrees Celsius and temperatures at night range between 16 to 20 degrees Celsius. In the sprig, the white almond blossoms are in bloom and which are, actually, what gave this region the name Costa Blanca contrary to what many believe to have stemmed from the beaches. Winter is very mild with average temperatures ranging from 8 degrees Celsius to the not uncommon temperature in the low 60s. The temperatures in this region of Spain are more comfortable than any other European area. With such comfortable temperatures, those in the warmer areas still use the beaches but, generally, the entire region is comfortable enough that you can spend time outside. The beautiful winter climate has been led to an increase in the number of retired people visiting the area during the winter seasons. Many from Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and Austria have relocated to the region, though some only spend the winters in the regions warmer weather to avoid the colder winter weather back home.
Exploring the wildlife in Africa could be the greatest and the most exiting experiences of your lifetime. People, who get used to living in a big city will be really astonished be the grandeur of the African nature, its flora and fauna. If your aim is to sink deep into this world your choice is safari. There are several kinds of this sort o tour. Your decision will depend on what you would like to see and how much time do you have. The significant part of safari ways is situated in the Eastern and the Southern parts ot the continent. During walking safaris you usually will use temporary bush camps or permanent lodges as a base from which vehicles and sometimes boats will get you into areas of activity or specific interest. Its the closest to nature way to see and to feel the African wilderness areas. If you lie to see more in a shorter time, then mobile safari is for you. Mobile safaris make use of 4x4 vehicles usually to cover larger areas or a variety of different habitats in a single trip. The diversity and relatively large distances between the prime spots in Botswana and Namibia make mobile safaris the preferred means for covering these destinations. In case you want to see all thats possible then flying above Africa will the right way. Fly-in safaris are regularly done in Botswana and Namibia in order to cover a large amount of territory with some very specific spots on the agenda in as short a space of time as possible. One of the more popular means of experiencing Africa's wilderness is a canoe safari. Several of the large African rivers are run by canoe but it's the lower Zambezi that really holds the leadership. Mana Pools National Park is on the southern bank - the remote Lower Zambezi National Park is on the northern shoreline in Zambia. You can choose the class of your canoe and travel with the maximum convenience. Self-drive safari is the most flexible type of trip that you'll find. In this variant you hire a vehicle, plan your own route, pre-book accommodations of your choice and explore the region on your own. Namibia is the easiest to on a self-drive basis even if you travel for the first time. Privately guided safari is your variant if you're looking for exclusivity, special attention. Some excursions are into the remoter parts, others are on well trodden trails simply exploring on a more casual and relaxed basis.Your trip can be a combination of all these types of safaris. Anyway dont forget to receive all the possible information about the destination you are going to. The more information the better. Also, dont forget to make all the necessary vaccinations. In Africa its a must, if you do not intend to spend your holiday in the hospital.
Lijiang is an and quaint town in Yunan, a province of China which is well endowed with magnificent and beautiful mountains, rivers and a long history. The ancient Lijiang county was put into the list of world cultural legacy by the World Legacy Committee of the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization in 1997.The city of Lijiang has a history of 800 years or 900 years dating from the Sung Dynasty. Why is Lijiang one of the most beautiful city in the world? Firstly, it is one of the very few city which is over a mile high above sea level. Smacked in the middle of the Lijiangba Dam, surrounded by snowcapped mountains and a river that runs through an oriental forest with small streams meandering into the town. Some tourists even called the town "Heaven On Earth".Lijiang experienced an earth shattering 7 on the Richter scale earthquake on February 1996 which killed more than 5,000 people mainly the Naxi community being the major community in Lijiang. Since then, Lijiang caught the attention of the world and tourism growth was unprecedented. As such, Lijiang is now one of the most favoured tourist travel destination in China.Most residents in Lijiang are of the Naxi tribe. The Naxi community makes a living by herding yaks and doing small retail businesses. The construction of the ancient Lijiang city was quickly developed in the Ming Dynasty. This is especially so because the Ming Dynasty made a large number of people in Anhui Province to migrate into Lijiang in order to station military troops and common people in the boundary areas.As a result of this mass migration, the buildings of Lijiang ancient city were very much influenced by the architectural style of Anhui Province. The original buildings of the Naxi community can only be found in the rural areas surrounding Lijiang City.The Yuan dynasty and the Mongol Emperor then, Kublai Khan stationed military troops in Lijiang in 1253. He brought the foreign culture alien to Lijiang and thus Lijiang was then influenced by the culture Central China, such as Buddhism and Taoism, and then affected by the Christianity and Islamic culture in the early 1900s. The Naxi community assimilated all these cultures. As such, Lijiang is also very much appreciated for its cultural landscape not only in China, but the entire Asia.Millions of tourists travel to Lijiang each year to enjoy Lijiang's primitive simplicity, tranquility and elegant culture.The folks at Lijiang enjoy music too. You can hear the beautiful music from the dwelling houses in Dayanzhen Town. The musicians carry their often home made musical instruments to take part in household parties all over the town.The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang is perhaps one the most beautiful mountain range in the world, famous for its perilous, beautiful and breathtaking landscapes. The mountain is a world class tourist scenic spot. The peak of the Jade Dragon Mountain is some 5596 meters (about 17,000 ft) above sea level. The mountain's thirteen peaks viewed from south to north look just like a flying giant Chinese dragon. A very formidable view indeed.So if you are travelling to China, don't miss the quaint city of Lijiang.