Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam. District 1 Walking Tour

By Joshua Rappeneker from Tokyo, Japan (originally posted to Flickr as People's Committee) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Under the name Saigon, it was the capital of the French colony of Cochin-china and later of the independent republic of South Vietnam from 1955–75. South Vietnam, as an anti-communist, capitalist republic, fought against the communist North Vietnamese and Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Saigon fell when it was captured by the communists on 30 April 1975, ending the war with a Communist victory. On 2 July 1976, Saigon was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
Today, the city's core is still adorned with wide elegant boulevards and historic French colonial buildings. The majority of these tourist spots are located in District 1 and are a short leisurely distance from each other.

Offline version of this walk for your iPhone you can get via PinMyWAY app.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Things to do in Glasgow. Major Attractions Walking Tour

By John Lindie [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Glasgow is one of the UK's most visited cities.
The city that hosted the highly popular Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988, was European City of Culture in 1990, and was designated the UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999, welcomes over 3 million tourists from all over the world each year who are drawn by its wealth of cultural attractions and activities.

Offline version of this walk for your iPhone you can get via PinMyWAY app.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lisbon, Portugal. Historic Center and Belem Walking Tour

By Nemracc (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
 Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest city in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by hundreds of years.
Lisbon enchants travelers with its white bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways, and an easy going charm that makes it a popular year round destination.

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Offline version of this walk for your iPhone you can get via PinMyWAY app.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Central Park Walk in New York

By Ed Yourdon from New York City, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1850s, realizing the need for a large public green space for New Yorkers to get away from the chaos and noise of the city, the New York legislature set aside a vast swath of land in Upper Manhattan. Landscape designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux developed the winning design for the park, influenced by naturalistic landscapes which were popular in park design at the time. Any architectural features and roads were to be visually integrated into the surrounding landscape, to maintain the "rustic" feel of the park. The park was officially completed in 1873, with more than 500,000 cubic feet of topsoil brought in from New Jersey and millions of trees, shrubs, and other plants laying the foundation of the park.
Through the early 20th century the park fell into a decline due to a lack of maintenance, with dead trees, worn-out lawns, and much litter and vandalism. The park received a major boost in the 1930s, when these issues were finally addressed, but the park once again fell into a decline in the late 20th century, becoming increasingly run-down and crime-ridden through the 1960s and 70s. In 1980, the Central Park Conservancy was founded under contract from the city to restore and maintain the park. Today, the violent night crimes of previous decades are all but gone, and common sense is all you really need to stay safe in the park today.

Offline version of this walk for your iPhone you can get via PinMyWAY app.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hiroshima, Japan. Major Attractions Walking Tour

By Hirotsugu Mori (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Hiroshima is an industrial city of wide boulevards and criss-crossing rivers, located along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea. Although many only know it for the horrific split second on August 6, 1945, when it became the site of the world's first atomic bomb attack, it is now a modern, cosmopolitan city with excellent cuisine and a bustling nightlife.

Offline version of this walk for your iPhone you can get via PinMyWAY app.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weekend Getaways: Explore Madrid

The capital city of Madrid is filled with an abundance of culture, making it one of the most vibrant and exciting places in all of the world. Formally a court of Phillip II, once the city received its New World wealth it was changed forever. A center of Spanish literature and art, Madrid has been the epitome of Spanish culture since the 17th century. It's definitely a must-see European city, and even if you only have a weekend to spend, there's much to see to get the most out of your mini-vacation. It's easy to attempt to do too much, but to truly appreciate all that Madrid has to offer, it's best to focus on just a few items and plan another weekend trip for the future. The capital city is also not as expensive as other European cities, making it possible for visitors on a budget to fully enjoy the attractions, as well. The key to fully experiencing the best of Madrid without feeling rushed is to plan on top choices for sites and restaurants, in order to feel the flow of the weekend.

Travel and Accommodations
The most important part of planning any trip is to think of ways to save money on transportation and accommodations that allow you to spend your funds on the sites. There are an abundance of low-cost hotels in the city that don't sacrifice amenities with the price. Research those in your price range to find a hotel close to some of the locations you hope to visit to save time on travel. Additionally, you need to purchase a two-day metrocard to help you get where you want in a timely fashion, without spending too much money.

City Center
The core of the city is the historic architecture found in the center that can be appreciated just by walking around the city. Plan your walk-through accordingly in order to highlight some of the key monuments, historical highlights and must-see gardens. A visit to the Puerta de Sol and Plaza Mayor should be high up on your list. Visit one of the local markets to purchase some Spanish-style sandwiches called bocadillos and cava, which is sparkling wine, and walk over to El Retiro Park for an early picnic. Located just right of the city center, the gardens are home to a paddle boat lake and fountains, amongst many beautiful attractions. The area right in front of the Prado Museum will allow you to take it all in as you enjoy a traditional Spanish-style lunch. You also want to walk over to Puera De Alcala and Palacio de Comunicaciones, breathtaking sites with plenty of photo opportunities.

Royal Palace
During the summer this historic attraction doesn't close until 6PM, which allows you to fit in a visit to this site no matter your schedule. Located a short walk from Puerta de Sol, across from the Royal Theater, it's the official residence of the Spanish King. Not only does the building have an intricate facade, the palace houses classic artwork from Mengs, Caravaggio, Goya and Velasquez.

An online search before your trip can give you the names of some of the most popular tourist restaurants in the area, but you can find an abundance of traditional, small restaurants by simply walking around Puerta de Sol. If you must eat at the more well-known institutions, Mingos is known for their roast chicken and apple cider, while Casa Lucio is famous for huevos estellados. Finish your night by sipping sangria in one of the outdoor cafes to take in the sunset.

Emma A. Johnson is a contributing author and travel writer. She recently spent her summer exploring Europe on the weekends. After a search for cheap hotels in Madrid, she found top accommodations at a low cost, which allowed her to get the most out of her trip.