Tag: Landmarks

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This Photographer Traveled the World Shooting Abandoned Places

June 30, 2015 at 3:25 PM | by | ()

If any movie producers are location scouting for a found footage horror film, they might want to give David de Rueda a call.

The photographer and urban explorer recently partnered with Nikon on a 22,000-mile road trip that took him inside abandoned architectural relics in 12 cities across Eurasia. Using his sponsored camera and equipment (clever promo idea, Nikon!) de Rueda spent 44 days (!) traipsing between Paris, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Reykjavik and other cities, braving dilapidated conditions and, most likely, flesh-eating monsters buried under the rubble of decrepit Soviet military compounds and whatnot. For instance, to reach an abandoned radar station in the Italian mountains, the photographer hiked for three hours through 20-inch snow drifts. Normal. (At least, that’s what a release announcing the partnership details.)

Among the other fascinating, dangerous, daunting and haunting (and probably haunted) locales he caught on camera: Chernobyl and the ghost town of Pripyat, a Douglas DC-e aircraft wreck on the south coast of Iceland (illuminated by the Polar Lights), and abandoned warehouses in Kazakhstan desert containing prototype Soviet Buran spacecraft. All of which sound like lovely locations for “The Blair Witch Project: Nuclear Fallout Edition.”

Check out a video about his journey above. Rated R for: Really Freaking Awesome.

[Images courtesy of Nikon]

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It's Not You, It's Me: Paris Breaks Up With Love Locks Tradition

June 2, 2015 at 1:44 PM | by | ()

What does it sound like when one million hearts break at once? In Paris, a power drill.

Not to over-dramatize, but there’s something sad about the era that’s ending in the city of romance this week. Yesterday authorities began the removal of 45 tons of “love locks” affixed to Pont des Arts. As any tourist knows, over the last decade or so affixing a padlock (and disposing the key in the River Seine below) has become a romantic rite for lovebirds that want to leave behind a symbolic representation of their committed love. Well — SIKE! The great weight of all that devotion is damaging the structural integrity of the bridge — and if you ask some Parisians, upsetting the aesthetic value — so yesterday the dismantling process began. The New York Times reports that city workers will “temporarily replace the lock-laden grills this week with panels painted by street artists,” before installing a final fix of plexiglass panels to protect the iron grillwork of the historic monument, built in the early 1800s and reconstructed in the 1980s following a partial collapse.

And on that note, we understand the need to preserve the landmark and avoid another (potentially dangerous) structural snafu. So, City of Light — do what you’ve got to do! (And at least we’ll always have… Vegas?) But it’s still a bummer that all those couples who built memories on the bridge will know that the vestige of their visit is destined for a landfill somewhere. (Then again, approximately 50-percent of relationships end in rubble, so maybe it’s appropriate?) And though the city has been trying to dissuade lock leavers for a while now — last year launching a “Love Without Locks” campaign that encouraged selfies instead — it’s ironic (and for some of us, oddly irritating) that two of the most strident recent champions of the removal are actually American-born transplants and self-identified Francophiles, according to their bluntly-named petitioning website, nolovelocks.com.

One of those anti-lock crusaders, Lisa Anselmo, explained her rationale to the Times: “As a tourist, the most important thing is to be respectful of a place’s culture,” says Anselmo, who moved to Paris in 2012. The first Love Locks appeared in 2008.

[Image via Flickr]

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10 Famous Attractions That Look Pretty Disappointing When You Zoom Out

May 13, 2015 at 4:05 PM | by | ()

How many travel photos have made you say, "There! I need to go THERE!" Sometimes a site is so beautiful a photo hardly does it justice. On the other hand, sometimes photos are the only thing doing something justice. The following landmarks look stunning up close — like serious hop-a-flight-tomorrow, skip-the-suitcase destinations — but the moment you zoom out on the photo-snatching iPhone, you reveal a larger scene that leaves a lot to be desired. (Disagree? Or know other destinations that aren't worth the hype? Tell us in the comments!)

Mount Rushmore: If Mount Rushmore becomes more than a slightly disappointing five-minute pit-stop, let us know. Maybe the monument would be more exciting if visitors could reenact the chase scene in North by Northwest. It’d probably seem bigger as well. [Image via Flickr]

Pyramids of Egypt: Would you like fries with your Pyramids? Or would you prefer pepperoni? The overwhelming commercialization surrounding the Pyramids is about enough to ruin a onde-in-a-lifetime experience to interact with the legacy of one of the most important civilizations in human history. [Image via Youtube]

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Skip Copenhagen's 'The Little Mermaid' for This Vertiginous Landmark

May 1, 2015 at 5:10 PM | by | ()

While tour buses and walking groups all convene around the waterfront, selfie sticks held high to snap a photo with Den Lille Havfrue (“The Little Mermaid”), you could be above it all, alone on the immensely instagrammable spiral staircase-wrapped steeple of the 17th century Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Saviour's Church), in Copenhagen's Christianshavn district.

Fun fact from the official website of the church:

It has always been regarded as somewhat of a manhood test to climb up and touch the globe on the summit. That the whole spire is built of oak which can shake a little in a strong wind, adds to the sinking feeling as one stands at the top.

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'The Most Beautiful Room in Canada' Lifts Ban on Tourist Snapshots

Where: Ottawa, Canada
January 30, 2015 at 6:14 PM | by | ()

You've just got to see the Library of Parliament, located within the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Ranked as one of the "7 Wonder of Canada," but more famously recognized as the "most beautiful room in Canada," the library is the only remaining piece of the original 1876 Parliament building, surviving the destructive 1916 fire thanks to iron fire doors. Inside are 1 million documents and 11 miles of books and, up until very recently, a "no cameras" zone.

Visitors to the Library fall into one of two groups: members of Parliament and their staff, or members of there public making the official (and free!) Parliament tour. The latter would find themselves disappointed by a major rule: photography was strictly prohibited if the room had anyone in it, either staff or politician. Occasionally a weekend tour would get lucky and find an empty library, but viewing the room with all its lights on, a librarian stationed, and in active use brings out the spirit of the space.

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Complaints May Send the Highway Near Stonehenge Subterranean

December 10, 2014 at 10:21 AM | by | ()

Visitors to Stonehenge might have a better experience in just a few years, as it sounds like the British government is thinking about routing traffic elsewhere to reduce the noise pollution and traffic in and around the prehistoric monument.

The initial plans call for the highway to be buried underground near the ancient sites, as the A303 highway will disappear into a tunnel and reappear once safely away from any potential congestion. There are three proposals kicking around, and of course there’s already some serious debate regarding if this will even happen—or if it’s even a good idea.

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Travel Trivia: What are the USA's Largest and Smallest National Parks?

April 25, 2014 at 11:20 AM | by | ()

National Park Week is upon us, which, on a grand scale, is a time to reflect on what an incredible job our country does at preserving its natural landscape. We are the world leader in this effort, especially when you consider the size of our country and how many cooks we have in the kitchen as compared to other nations.

Although vast open space is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of a National Park, the sites actually come in all shapes and sizes, and include monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and even the White House (President’s Park). And as you’ll see, some are even found in cities and take up less space than an apartment building. In total, the parks cover 84 million acres in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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The USA's Newest Landmarks Run the Gamut, from Art to Airplane Crash Site

April 24, 2014 at 2:54 PM | by | ()

Four newly designated National Historic Landmarks were named by U.S. Department of the Interior only yesterday, but only three of the four will welcome your visit. Most accessible is the "Detroit Industry" murals (pictured above) by artist Diego Rivera.

Of the group, the odd one out is actually a tragic airplane crash site, with exact coordinates kept secret although it exists somewhere in the more remote stretches of the Grand Canyon.

Here's all four newly landmarked areas, and why they matter:

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Check Out the 'Eiffel Tower of the East' Before Russia Swings a Wrecking Ball

April 17, 2014 at 9:14 AM | by | ()

If you haven’t yet heard of the Shukhov Tower, now’s a good time to check it out (at least on Wikipedia), as it might not be around much longer. The funky landmark is a radio tower over in Russia, and some have even called it the country’s version of the Eiffel Tower. We wouldn’t go that far, but there are preservationists eager to keep it hanging around for future generations.

The thing rises 525-feet into the Soviet sky, but structurally it's a little shaky and needs to come down sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the aforementioned preservationists cite the symbolism of the tower as it relates to Russia’s history and past advances in telecommunications.

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Travel Contest Alert: Be One of the First Inside the Reopened Washington Monument

April 9, 2014 at 1:06 PM | by | ()

You'd think, with Instagram celebrating its fourth birthday this year, that the limits of intriguing new accounts would be stretched. Alas, we still find new and interesting people to follow, and one such account is @usinterior. It's actually the official account of the US Department of the Interior.

They've been active on the app for nearly two years, but only now are they taking the step to get interactive, announcing a contest to join in their first Insta-Meet for the reopening of the Washington Monument on May 12. You see, the monument closed after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the DC area in 2011. This caused cracks near the top of the monument, closing it indefinitely...or at least until May 12.

The opportunity to be among the first back into the national landmark sounds awesome, but there is a major catch:

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The Churches of Chiloé Island: A UNESCO Site Worth the Trek

November 11, 2013 at 2:21 PM | by | ()

Chile’s Chiloé Island is no quick weekend getaway (unless you happen to live in Santiago), but its remote beauty is worth the trek halfway down the world. Until a year ago, the island was only reachable by boat, but in 2012 Chiloé welcomed an airport. The tiny but beautiful red terminal serves only one flight at a time, either to or from Santiago and only on LAN.

To set foot in Chiloé, you'll need to fly into Santiago and, there, transfer to a flight to Castro, Chiloé’s capital. The flight first stops in Puerto Montt, where once travelers picked up the ferry, before the flight continues on for about twenty more minutes to arrive in Chiloé. (This leg is so short that you won’t be able to go to the bathroom or turn your Kindle back on.)

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Rising Above the Hustle of Hong Kong with a Visit to Po Lin Monastery

Where: Hong Kong
October 31, 2013 at 4:27 PM | by | ()

If you've been to Hong Kong, you know that the buzz really never stops. Even with all this action, it can be nice to have a quiet moment with some self-reflection; that's where the city's Tian Tan Buddha (more commonly called Big Buddha) comes in handy. Not only does it offer a little time-out from the energy of the city, but it comes complete with killer 360-degree views of the neighboring islands and waterways.

Just east of the city, at the end of the Tung Ching MTR line, sits Lantau Island. Lantau is better known as the home of Hong Kong International Airport, but amongst some high-rise apartment buildings and incoming approaches is a substantial gondola station taking visitors from sea-level and through the mountains to Ngong Ping. This is a kicking off point to what was the biggest sitting Buddha statue until 2007. It's so big that some say on a clear day it can be seen from Macau, but Hong Kong's clear days are few and far between, so we're not too sure about that.

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