Archives for October 2014

The Vienna State Opera

Vienna Opera

While all my posts focus on the beauty of nature, this week centers around a man-made marvel. In Vienna, Austria, a city of old architecture and history, the famous Opera house has been in use since 1869, when it’s opening night held the play ‘Don Juan’ for the Emperor and Empress of the time, and has been in use ever since. Though it was bombed during the second world war, the building remained standing, and after construction was quickly put back into use. The Opera House stands at an impressive 65 meters, with paintings and sculptures from some of Austria’s finest artists throughout the building. I imagine being inside would send you back to the renaissance on a heartbeat.

Vienna Opera 2

Though the architecture is certainly not the whole reason I would love to visit. As I said, the theater is still very much in use. Almost everyday of the year, some performance is being held. Whether it be the famous ballet’s they put on, or the world renowned plays, either would be a spectacular show. Unfortunately the plays are all held in Austrian, so if you’re not fluent in the language like myself, it may being your best interest to see a play you’re already familiar with, as to not get too lost while witnessing the art. But while learning the language is not a requirement to attendance, dress code is certainly much more important. While you won’t be bodily thrown out of the opera house, many people do dress quite nicely for the opera, though it all depends on your seat. In the ‘standing area’ the dress code is much more relaxed, but you still won’t find anyone with jeans or a t-shirt, and in the more expensive seats there may even be long dresses and suits. If I were to go I would certainly want to dress up and gain the full experience, but it’s all preference really.

The plays are something I would love to see, but the true draw to the theater is the annual ball. Once a year a magnificent ball is held in the main ballroom, and the wealthy and famous flock to attend. Below is a video of the event, and if you ever wanted to attend a ball, this would be your chance.

This historic and beautiful theater, easily made it’s way and held it’s place on my list.

 

Cited:

http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/Content.Node/home/Startseite-Content.en.php

 

 

 

 

 

Zhangjiajie National Park

In south-central China, a famous national park has recently gained more attention then it’s used to. For many years it was claimed to be inaccessible, remote, and even dangerous; but that is no longer the case. Zhangjiajie National Park has gained universal notoriety for inspiring the  setting for the world renowned movie ‘Avatar’. The 135 square miles of mountains, foliage, and water forms into a mystical, unearthly place that formed for the perfect starting point for the design for another planet. Ninety percent of the park is covered in foliage and forests, providing for an incredible variation in rare species of animals and trees. While it’s extraordinary landscape is awe inspiring, another draw is the countless ways to view it’s spectacular formations. The options seem endless and give many different viewing points to the overwhelmingly large park.

The Tianmen Mountain cable way is the longest mountain cable way in the world spanning almost 4.5 miles, and is certainly not for those with a phobia of heights.

 

China National Park 2

The Heaven-linking Avenue is a winding path used for mountain bikes that begins at the foot of the mountains and leads to the ‘Heaven Ladders’ at the mouth of Tianmen Cave. The path is 11 kilometers long and it s uphill, so it should probably be avoided for those not looking for a workout with a scenic view.

China National Park 1

For those inclined to less exertion while touring there is Bailong Elevator. A glass elevator going up to 1070 feet, it is the world’s tallest full exposure outdoor elevator. Certainly a once in a lifetime event all on it’s own.

China National Park 3

 

My favorite option is a cruise around Baofeng Lake, it offers the beauty of the park with none of the height. It is certainly the most peaceful option available.

China National Park 4

If the above ground park is not enough for you, and you have an affinity for caves such as the ones posted on this blog before, there are options for that too. The Yellow Dragon Cave is one of the earliest caves open for tourism and is lite for a light show to impress .

China National Park 5

The Zhangjiajie National Park holds so many options for enjoying the outdoors it was inevitably going to end up on my list, so if you ever had the chance to visit, which viewing spectacle would be the first on your list?

Works:

http://www.zhangjiajietourism.us/what-scenic.html

Gardens by the Bay

In central Singapore, there is hundreds of acres of land, devoted to what can be referred to as the garden of the future. The Gardens by the Bay is made up of three water front gardens, Bay South, Bay East, and Bay Central Gardens. Each garden is an indoor botanical garden that is supporting plants and wildlife from every continent except Antarctica. The largest garden, Bay South, holds most of the main tourist attractions in terms of indoor gardens. The Flower Dome, which hosts the Mediterranean plant life is the larger of the two conservatories and the changing flower field display, is what interests me in this particular dome. The field displays flowers from the continents, Africa, America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia. The Cloud Forest is the higher but smaller conservatory, and houses and indoor waterfall which may not have the magnificence of the Iguazu Falls, the fact that it is the worlds largest indoor waterfall certainly ups its’ cool factor, as does the Cloud Walk, which allows you to be level with the falls.

Gardens By the Bay

Though, the three main gardens and Bay South’s conservatories aren’t the only attraction, and most certainly aren’t the most impressive architecturally. Eighteen ‘super trees’ are described as vertical gardens. The range anywhere from 82 feet to 160 feet, and if you’re a fan of heights, you can eat at the top of the highest of the trees. To receive the best views of these giants, there is a walkway between the trees, to better view the gardens below and the true masterpiece as a whole. But the true pull I have to these incredible infrastructures is the light show held nightly for those who have stayed into the evening while enjoying the beauty.

Gardens by the Bay2

 

I wish I could say I had plans to travel to Singapore in the future, but for now I’ll have to settle for watching the light show through Youtube. Below I’m going to link two different videos, one being the nightly light show, and the other  a visual walk through with one of the designers of the gardens. I’d highly recommend the second if you were going to chose between the two.

Light Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpkruNkfQH0

Walk through: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geKHBz8JUhE

 

Works:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardens_by_the_Bay#Bay_South_Garden

http://www.yoursingapore.com/content/traveller/en/browse/see-and-do/nature-and-wildlife/stroll-among-trees/gardens-by-the-bay.html?cpn=in_thythwy

Iguazu National Park

In the northeastern part of Argentina, there is a national park, known for it’s stunning natural waterfalls.The Iguazu Falls are some of those most breathtaking water formations known to man. The river that feeds these magnificent sights, is the international border between Argentina and Brazil, and separates the two national parks, Iguaca and Iguazu. At 80 m high at some points the falls surpass Niagara falls by almost 30 m and while the falls both sit on borders, there intensities are quite different. The curves and cascades of the Iguazu falls boast more of a water show, with phenomenal sprays, while Niagara is impressive for it’s unending uniformity and length. While I cannot compare the two adequately without first hand experience, Eleanor Roosevelt simply proclaimed ‘Poor Niagara,’ upon viewing the falls in Argentina.

Iguazu-Falls-2

But the view, while breathtaking, isn’t the only thing that drew me to this part of the world. If you so chose, you are able to white water raft through the falls. The excitement of rafting is something you don’t soon forget, and I love to white water raft, but I can’t even imagine how incredible and difficult and worthwhile the three hour rafting is. And it’s not the only extreme sport offered, rock climbing is also available, where you get the chance to rappel down the cliffs from almost 180 feet for an hour. The activities are testing and possibly could be dangerous if they didn’t take the precautions they did, so the only limit on the climbing is an age requirement of twelve years.

Iguazu Falls

Perhaps Niagara Falls is all you’ll need to see,because once you’ve seen one waterfall you’ve seen them all, but for me I don’t think the water dividing the U.S. and Canada is going to cut it now that I know I can white water raft under a waterfall in the tropical rain forest. This is definitely a must-do for me.

Works Cited:

http://loves4free.mobi/14-places-to-visit-wonders-and-nature-adventure?page=14&v=5255myBk1DL0H4rrIpg6A9QE1xBVgk0gk

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/303

http://www.getyourguide.com/foz-do-iguacu-l497/iguassu-falls-2-hour-river-rafting-tour-in-brazil-t24426/#reviews

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