Venice and It’s Lagoon

Taken from the Rialto Bridge

Location: Venice, Italy

Visited: August 13-17, 2012

Background and Opinion:
If you have the dream of a quiet, romantic getaway taking a gondola with a native Venetian singing Solemio, about 200 million tourists thought of it first. Is that to say that Venice is not worth going to, not in the least! Everyone should go at least once! However, Venice gets 20 million visitors a year, which adds up to around 70,000 a day during high season in a city that is not very big to begin with. The crowds are something to consider since during peak season, some streets are bursting at the seems with people, especially those traveling in huge groups by cruise ship.

Venice is one of the most unique places I have ever visited. It is composed of over 100 islands linked together by bridges. Even with a map, it is quite the labyrinth. Probably the most refreshing thing about Venice is not seeing a single car (if you stay away from the bus station that connects to the rest of Italy) in the entire city. The whole transportation system is water based, with boat cops, firefighters, trash collectors, taxis,  buses, etc. To truly appreciate Venice, try walking around in the middle of the night when it is finally quiet. Of course, very few places will be open, but the canals will finally settle, and you can even see the tide go up if you look at the steps that lead to the boats (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you get there).

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Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan

Sun Pyramid of TeotihuacanLocation: Teotihuacan, Mexico State, Mexico (Near Mexico City)
Visited:
January 2, 2011
August, 2009
November, 2001

Opinion and Background:
It is my very biased opinion that few know, and take care of their historical sites like Mexicans. This site is no exception. These huge pyramids are well preserved and breath taking as soon as you arrive. The only down side is that without a tour group, foreigners have a tough time arriving here without a huge price hike (‘foreigner price’). The area is quite vast and takes a few hours to walk around and take in. Even though I’ve been here three times, I hadn’t noticed the small museum at the south end with original excavated masks and even human bones until the last time I went in Jan 2011. The site’s main draws are the Sun (large) and the Moon (slightly less large) Pyramids.

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The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor


Terracotta ArmyLocation:
 Xi’an,Shaanxi Province, China
Visited: December 28, 2009

Opinion and Background:

This is more spectacular than the Great Wall of China. I thought I’d start this blog on a good note. Seeing thousands of clay soldiers with different expressions, clothes, hair styles and even different shoes leaves a person speechless. Some of the more amazing ones are in individual exhibits in the same complex. The terracotta army is as good as advertised, and definitely worth a look. The First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, thought that by building this army, he could be protected in the afterlife. The army was never meant to be displayed and was buried along with his body. It wasn’t discovered until 1974, even though they were buried in the 3rd century BC. Despite their dull color now, the Terracotta Warriors were originally painted by hand, evident in some of the more preserved soldiers. This particular emperor is the first to unify China as a whole, as well as the first to attempt to build parts of what is now known as The Great Wall of China.

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