Redwoods National and State Parks

Redwoods National and State Parks

Along Pacific Coast Highway 1

Location: (North of) Eureka, California, USA

Visited: September, 2007

Background and Opinion:
It is an understatement to say that these are “some big trees.” These behemoths tower higher than you can comfortably tilt your head up, making for a spectacular environment. There is nothing to really plan except for a camping stay near the beach, as this park is located along the northern Californian coast. The “avenue of giants” is a must as it is a side scenic route with some of the largest redwoods (you will see signs for it is you are driving up Pacific Coast Highway 1), some of which you can literally drive through! There are however two downsides.
1) This redwoods area contains the tallest known tree (and consequently, living thing) on Earth. However, due to past vandalism, its location is kept secret from the general public.
2) Accessibility on any sort of a modest budget is out of the question. Like pretty much anything worth seeing in the US, you have to drive to it (foreigners would have to rent a car). Being near the border of Oregon and California, it’s hardly “around the corner.”

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Three More Things to do in (Southern) Seoul, Korea (Near Express Bus Terminal) (pt.2)

Seoul is the city I currently live in, so naturally, I have a lot of great things to say about it. Here are three more things to do in Southern Seoul using the Express Bus Terminal Subway Exit as a reference point. I am using that station as a starting point because it is a good central location in the South side of Seoul, and a likely location for visitors who take the long distance buses to locations outside of Seoul to places like Yeoju (King Sejong’s Tomb). However, you can of course see these any time you are in southern Seoul. This is essentially a “part 3” post, so in case you missed the first two articles, they are here, and here.

1) Bongeunsa Temple and Temple Stay

Bongeunsa is one of the largest Buddhist temples in Seoul. Despite what websites like tripadvisor might tell you, it is actually quite easy to find a Buddhist temple in Seoul. However, just like you wouldn’t tour just any regular church, most Buddhist temples are meant for meditating or praying, not tourism. This one however is quite impressive for its size and history given that it is in the heart of Seoul. Most of the other important temples in Korea, such as Haeinsa Temple near Daegu (article coming soon) or Bulguksa Temple near Gyeongju (also coming soon) are quite far from the city and are deserving of a trip in their own right. Bongeunsa however, is perfect for people on a “time budget” who don’t have an extra day to visit far away temples.

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Three More Things to do in Venice, Italy (pt.2)

Three things were not enough, so here are three more things you can do in Venice. Why didn’t I just make a list of 6 things to do in Venice? Well, it is easier for me to handle three at a time, and I think it’s easier for you, the reader, to get bite sized information than an overwhelming list. I digress:

1) Visit Murano or Burano

I must admit that I was not originally impressed with Murano. It was sold to me as a better version of Venice. In fact, it is like Venice, but smaller, who would want that? Now that I think of it though, maybe some people would (after visiting Venice enough time). Murano is famous for its continuing tradition as a glass producer. There are still plenty of shops who offer tours for 5 Euro and produce some of the finest glass in Italy. While I didn’t personally have time to visit Burano, I have been assured that it is similar, which is why I clumped them into a single entry.

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Three Things to do in Venice, Italy (pt.1)

This post is a bit of a cheat since I am going to suggest some things technically included in the Venice UNESCO World Heritage inscription. However, these three things are to fill up your itinerary once you are already in Venice. While some are obvious, others you might not have considered.

1) Stroll Around at Night Time

The views at night are as good as in the daytime, but with less people.
The views at night are as good as in the daytime, but with less people.

The first thing you will notice in Italy is The Grand Canal. What is the second thing you ask? The CROWDS! I didn’t try to look very hard, but I didn’t notice much of a “night scene” in Venice besides a few scattered restaurants that were open. Furthermore, from my personal observation, the majority of the crowds came from cruise ships and were much older than me (20’s). Maybe it was a combination of these three things that makes Venice quiet at night, which is a good thing! The canals, and the city in general is as aesthetically pleasing at night as it is in the day.

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Venice and It’s Lagoon

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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