It was very solar days for sure 38 degrees Celcium. I met with my pen pals (for this I must thank Oksanalove agency) and I went all over Lugansk City, (the roads are not good) it was interesting to watch the taxi drivers avoid the holes in streets:). I went ice skating and then walked a few blocks to see the beautiful new Orthodox Cathedral with a gold dome. And I have also seen the horse back riding at the stables on way to airport. We walked several times along the main street where the large statue of Mary and Jesus is. Then across the street there is park. You keep walking and you come to The Museum of History. Across the street there is WW1 memorial. There is another area if you keep going with more large bronze statues, but a foreigner must have a walking guide to show them military leaders former home and Lugansk famous peoples homes and old factories of military area. The German hotel is the other beautiful building. There are little underground shopping malls beneath the main street of Lugansk. Also along the main street there are many nice restaurants serving many kinds of food. There is the Russian drama theater and the Lugansk drama theater. There is also The Puppet Theater for ladies with children. The circus arena, the soccer stadium and a tennis-court there. A nice restaurant just in front of the stadium on the street. There's so much beauty in Lugansk!There is the University of teachers and the famous Rossiya dept store with it's beautiful displays of merchandise. You can buy tickets to all entertainment events in the city on the second floor.(It is like ticket master in USA) only they hand you the tickets to any event. It is so convenient. There are three good disco clubs and more if you ask the cab drivers. The one I went to is the 80's music club which is the best one and has great lighting and music. Life starts after 10.00 pm and Thursday is a good day to go. The comedy club with the large stage is good and there is another on the north side with lots of mirrors. It is a large club with go-go dancers.There is also the Art Museum where you can buy art, too. The Lugansk Region building, city hall, and regional sports building make good photo shoots as well as the many statues and older buildings in the factory neighborhoods. There is the open market street across from the Rossiya Dept store for several blocks. It is loaded with hundreds of shops and street vendors and thousands of people each day visit this area. It is fun just to walk up and down the street and visit the long malls which run parallel to the street. I have mentioned quite a bit here. It kept me busy for 8 full days not including my arrival and departure days from Kiev and back again. Take a cab - cabs are inexpensive for westerners 15-25 Ukrainian dollars (hrivnas) to any club one way ($3-$5) pretty cheap. There are cabs everywhere you look. OK, so I gave you many items of pleasure and don't forget the ice cream - it is very tasty!! Here are the main streets of Lugansk where I traveled. We went down the main side streets to connect. Geroev VOV , Sovetskaya street, Oboronnaya street, where Rossiya supermarket is. There is a casino next door, a bank machine, a workout gym across the street, restaurants, farmers market, street vendors, perfume store. I love the underground malls - they are different. All the hundreds of street vendors and hundreds of small shops. I walked many, many kilometers for hours, it was quite an experience and I enjoyed it and food. My friends made me home made "Borsch" and the sour cream Summer soup, yummy!!!And of course I can not keep silence: there are many beautiful women there! :).
The sea roars, whipped into a frenzy by the Atlantic winds racing across the bay. The waves look good today, surfers will be out for sure. Come rain or shine, these boys are dedicated.You can taste the salty spray as it draws you towards the water. The familiar smell of seaweed was home. I knew I was back.The Cornish town of Hayle sits in the far southwest corner of England, near the midpoint of St Ives bay. It lies approximately 10 miles north of Penzance and is part of the Heritage Coast of Cornwall, owned by the National Trust.The Trust has purchased large chunks of the Cornish coastline, ensuring protection for its wildlife and natural beauty."Morning," greets an elderly man, his face weathered, exposed to the elements and sands of time. His dog retrieves his masters stick from the white surf."Winds up. Pity the small boats today," he continues, his faithful companion by his side, stick in mouth.The small fishing boats leave regularly, setting out from Hayle harbour and sailing along the estuary at high tide and into the big blue. They must return before low tide else the estuary runs dry.Hayle is part of a beautiful stretch of coastline running from St Ives to the west, through to Godrevy Point in the east and its symbolic lighthouse.Godrevy Lighthouse features predominantly in paintings by John Miller who has captured the stunning natural beauty on canvass in many of his famous prints.Westwards leads to the estuary and inland to the working fishing port. The small dock escorts you to the high street, a mixture of old and new. Shopping here is not great; Hayles strength is its coastline.Approximately halfway along the high street are the best Cornish pasties money can buy. Upon the corner sits the old bakers shop, striving to meet demand for the local delicacy.At least half a dozen work the ovens tirelessly to satisfy the endless queues. Seagulls perch atop the roof hoping for a taste of the action.Across the road, the Cornish Arms serves a great pint of ale with which to wash down your meal. Relax and enjoy the unique Cornish ambience where strangers stop to say hello. Far from the mega metropolis cities, life in Hayle slows down to a crawl.
In 1999, I decided to live a year in the city of Chita, Russia. For those not in the know, Chita is a city in Siberia.HistoryThe City of Chita is a the administrative center of the Chita Oblast, which is similar to a state. It is located smack dab in the middle of Siberia and is about 500 miles east of Lake Baikal.From the 1930s through the end of communism, Chita was a closed city. During this period, foreigners were prohibited from traveling to Chita as were many Russians. The basis for the closing of the city was apparently its proximity to China and military installations.In some circles, Chita is known as the City of Exiles because prominent intellectuals starting with the Decembrist were exiled to the city after failed uprisings in 1825. Despite this informal name, the arrival of the Decembrists was a boon for the city. The well-educated exiles made an effort to educate the citizens of Chita and pursue trade. Through these efforts, the City became a major trading portal in Siberia, particularly since the natural resources of the area included timber, gold and uranium.Architecturally, Chita is a clash of styles. Foremost, Chita is populated with communist concrete buildings. The apartment buildings are almost universally five stories tall and, frankly, not the most appealing things youve every scene. In contrast to these soviet signatures, Chita is also populated with individual homes made primarily out of wood. The homes are the equivalent of those you would see in any mountainous area and are very comfortable. Clashing with these two styles are a number of buildings in the center of Chita.During World War II, a significant number of Japanese soldiers were taken by the Russians as prisoners of war. Through whatever machinations present at that time, they were put to work in the construction industry. Yep, you guessed it. In the center of Chita you will find buildings with a definite hint of Japanese style. The buildings are not overtly Japanese, but they definitely differ from the other styles present.Having lived in the city for a year, I can definitely say it is worth a visit. The Trans-Siberian Railway passes through the city, so access is very easy.
If you watched CNN or Fox News like I did a few evenings ago, you might have been impressed at the student demonstrations in France. Both TV channels had us sold on the idea Paris was being mobbed by the angry multitude. Pictures of Mad Max-like police trucks hosing thousands of protesters. Scenes of massive gatherings around Bastille square. Interviews of malcontent students. Some pyrotechnics to boot!Golly! Though I often travel to Paris, I live in Florida. So I had to wait until the following day before I could call relatives and friends in Paris. I got Vince first. Vince is always a reliable source, he's got the local pulse. When I need to get the lowdown on all-things-Paris, I get it from him first."Hi Vince, it's Phil. Gee, how is it today? Have you lived through the night?"Hi man, what are you talking about?"Well, I mean, the demonstrations and all. The mayhem."Oh yeah, so what about them?"Well, I was on CNN yesterday, and they were showing all this mess with the police, and students, and cars burning!"And?"Come on, man, you can't tell me nothing is happening there!"Well, there was a demonstration, for sure. Students in the streets. But this was yesterday...."You mean, it's over?"Sure, buddy. Guys didn't like what the government handed over, guys got in the street, guys vented their anger, guys go home and watch TV, end of story."Oh. But about the cars torched? I mean, we saw it on TV!"To hell with TV! You see a couple of cars burning, and you think it's the war? OK, that was Vince's input. Kind of reassuring. Let's ring family. I wanted to talk to Lolo, my brother in law. Lolo was an army firefighter for 15 years, he's cool-calm-collected, and he's used to assessing disasters with a cold eye."Lolo? Hi, it's Phil."Hi bro, whassup?"Hey, I just wanted to hear it from you, you know, about the demonstrations, and the mess in Paris."Yeah, that was sporty."You mean, they wreaked havoc in the place?"No, I mean it was sporty to get to work on my scooter. I mean, some of the streets near the Bastille Square were jam-packed."But what about the protests? I mean, they showed us the stuff on TV; it looked like mayhem with the cops and their trucks!"That was towards the evening, not during the day. I was not far from the demonstrations when they were full on. The students sure were a loud crowd, but the hosing only started in the evening, and only lasted a couple hours."What about the cars burned?"There were a few. Less than in November, during the events in the suburbs."Not many then. And how is it now?"Quiet. Everybody's home, like nothing happened."Do you mean the demonstrations are over?"Sure. I rode in Paris today, and it was business as usual."Is it safe for Americans to come? You know I have this website, Paris-Eiffel-Tower-News.com, and I give travel advice to people. Is it safe for them, or should I just tell my visitors to postpone their travel plans to Paris?"It's just as quiet today as it was before the demonstrations. Come see yourself if you don't believe me."Oh I sure believed Lolo, he having served 15 years as a firefighter in the army, and saved several lives. He used to serve in Paris too, so he knows the place like the back of his hand. But I figured: I'm not gonna risk sending the visitors of my website to Destination Hell. I want proof. Solid proof that it's all over, and there's nothing bad happening now in Paris.So I called Serge and Tony, two friends who are in the video business. "Guys, could you do me a favor, and shoot a short video for my visitors, with the time and date on it? I wanna see Paris as it is today.Serge and Tony are very cool guys, and they sure obliged. This is the video they sent me: http://media.libsyn.com/media/hotels/ballade-high.wmv.It was shot in Paris, between 1:00 and 2:00 PM on April 3, 2006, in various well-known places: under the Eiffel Tower, on the Alma Bridge, on the Champs Elysees Avenue, on Place de la Concorde, at St Germain des Pres, on St Michel Blvd, near the Cluny museum, at the Notre Dame Cathedral, on the Cite island, near the Louvre and Orsay museums, near the Opera house, and finally, right in the department store neighborhood.What it shows is exactly how Paris is at this time. Business as usual.So how come we have seen such a mess on TV, and there seems to be no trace of it today?For one thing, student protests rarely last. They are put together quickly, and dissolve even quicker. What we saw on CNN and other news channels was a live-fast-die-fast occurrence.What's more, TV and the news media rarely report quiet endings. 'News' is drama, war, atrocities, and the like. Uneventful endings never make the news. The student protests of March 28 were filmed until everybody just went back home after sunset. Then they became much less newsworthy. Or so think the big honchos at CNN, Fox News, and the like. Don't forget folks, these guys think for y'all, the rabble. So shut up and watch.Thirdly, the French are Mediterranean in character. An argument breaks, tempers flare quickly, bird names are exchanged, and suddenly it's all drama.... Then things resume their regular course, everybody shares a glass of wine, and the argument is soon forgotten.The French government tried to pass a law which students and unions consider as a danger to job security. When the latter felt this law was forced into their gullets with no negotiations, their temper flared, and in no time they were down in the street. But it ended just as quickly as it all started. A flash in the pan. Within a day, it was over.There is only one regrettable fact in this: heavy-handed, scandal-happy, war-loving news reporting gives us all a false impression that France is "a dangerous place to travel to these days." Yet, had TV cameras continued rolling and spent just as much time showing Parisians had returned to their peaceful lives, such impression would have been quickly dispelled for what it really is: 100% false.And so it is the privilege of regular Joes like me and other honest-to-God travelers to report the happy ending: everything is fine and dandy in Paris, folks. Live your lives as you plan them, and if you wish to travel to France, just don't bother too much with the news. PS-- Paris is a big city. Demonstrations are mostly channeled along certain boulevards: Nation-to-Bastille, Nation-to-Italie, Bastille-to-Republique, and Bastille-to-Chatelet. Look them up on a map. Look at all the space around these spots. Well, that's your own playground in case new demonstrations occur when you are in Paris. A fact the news media conveniently omit to tell you. It wouldn't sell.PPS-- To see the short movie, click here: http://media.libsyn.com/media/hotels/ballade-high.wmv
Honeymooning Down Under with a Honeymoon destination in AustraliaIts the only continent in the world that also happens to be a country. Theyre known for the kangaroo and rugged men with their heavy Australian accents. For an exotic experience during your honeymoon, why not try exploring the Australian wilderness and bask in the Australian sun? Theres a varied range of spa treatments, horse drawn carriage rides, hot air balloon rides and rafting and scuba diving in this part of the world. The Australian wilderness, with the kangaroos and the koalas and the various species of birds are perfect for the couple whod like to explore the outdoors and get in touch with the rugged side of nature. A world class city, theres Sydney to explore the restaurants for wining and dining and the stores for shopping if you ever get tired of the Australian wild. If you want adventure, theres the Sydney Harbor Bridgeclimb to take you on top of the world. And if you want to feel the seaside breeze and the cool mountain air, theres the city of Melbourne. Explore their offerings of parks, gardens, and pure, Australian entertainment. Theres also the Yarra Valley, with its 30 wineries, to visit. Theres Brisbane with its tropical weather and amazing beaches. Go swimming at the Gold and Sunshine Coasts or explore the islands of Moreton Bay and the Scenic Rim. Farther north, theres an amazing rainforest you can explore. South of the country, theres Adelaide, a stylish and vibrant city. With its hills and beaches, Adelaide offers the best in entertainment. Visit its bookshops, galleries, cafes and pubs, antique stores and fashion houses. Twenty-minutes away from Adelaide, there are the Adelaide Hills, a break from the city life. It offers an excellent taste of country life great food, great wine, great country scenery. Drive around the area and explore the vineyard and market gardens, Australian bushlands and pasture land. Forty minutes farther from Adelaide, honeymooners can go exploring the coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula. If youre looking for some private swimming, this is the place to go. The beaches are protected by cliffs and bushlands that tips fown rolling hills. And of course, dont ever dare miss the Kangaroo Island when you go exploring Down South. A nature lovers haven, Kangaroo Island is the third largest island off the coast of Australia. Isolated from the rest of the country, it offers wildlife yet to be explored clean air, clean water, unspoiled scenery and an exotic mix of flora and fauna. Here are other ideal places to explore on your Australian honeymoon: Barossa. Go wine-tasting at one or more of its 60 cellar doors. Experience the soothing taste of this regions products and get to be one of those that have had this wondrous delight.Limestone Coast. Theres white sand beaches, lush pasture lands, seaside towns and yes, vineyards and wineries to explore. Coonawarra is one of the most famous wine regions and the experience is as exhilarating as the wine you get to taste. Whether its the wilderness, the beaches, the rolling hills and the lush pastures, the food and the fine wine youre after, Australian is the place. It offers you a colorful blend of entertainment, good scenery, good food and a memorable honeymoon experience. Going south may be the best honeymoon idea yet.