The world's longest (and highest!) suspension bridge, over a river at the foot of Grouse mountain. Get the SeaBus from the Waterfront Station, and then a bus towards Grouse Mountain (a two zone ticket will cover the whole journey). There are great filmset-like views from the bridge itself, plus a network of platforms linking huge pine trees once you reach the other side. Keep your ticket for a discount on entry to Grouse Mountain. Get the SeaBus back to downtown Vancouver in the evening for fantastic views of the skyline as the sun sets.
The best place in North America to grab an all-over tan and partake in Amsterdam-style smoking.
Trail 6 from the University of British Columbia. Ask anybody how to get there. Locals, police, politicians, artists and visiting Americans all know how to get there.
In the heart of China Town there is an oasis. The Chinese gardens are the biggest replica outside of China (I think) and are beautifully kept.
In the summer you can see turtles floating in the ponds and the flowers are stunning.
The guided tours are free and really interesting.
Well worth popping into especially if you happen to be in China town.
578 Carrall Street;
tel: 604 662 3207;
If there's one attraction that is a must see in Taipei it's the National Palace Museum. It houses some of the most magnificent examples of Chinese paintings, jade, caligraphy, tapestry and books.
When Chiang Kai Shek's KMT fled to Taiwan in 1949 at the end of the Chinese civil war he somehow managed to bring with him the most important items of art and culture. These were set up in the National Palace Museum in the Shi Lin district of Taipei, close to Chiang's old residence.
There simply isn't a better collection anywhere. While tours in English are a regular part of the day it's just as rewarding to take yourself off and get lost among the artifacts.
The National Palace Museum's existance probably rankles with mainland China more than the existance of Chen Shiu Bien. And rightly so.
221 Chih Shan Rd sec 2, Shi Lin, Taipei. Take a cab from the city centre or take the red line MRT to ShiLin then a bus East.
Main Street south of 49th avenue to about 55th is lined with shops selling wonderful Indian fabrics, foods and jewelery. Fabrics are beautiful, authentic and extremely reasonably priced, and the clothes are unique and beautiful.
Farther north on Main is also lovely, but quite different. Between about 33rd and 16th it has plenty of antique shops, second hand stores and cute little stores selling home furnishings and accessories (no chain stores). Between 16th and Seventh it's more eclectic, with some very good second-hand stores (the Salvation Army is on 12th just east of Main) and cafes. Urban Source, at 16th and Main, is a fantastic resource for craft supplies: they recycle industrial leftovers, and the results and the offerings are irresistable.
The strange triangle between Fraser, Main and Broadway is known as Dysfunction Junction, and hosts 2 outstanding second-hand bookstores, literary cafe Our Town, a pool hall, a neon art cafe, and several hole-in-the-wall galleries and restaurants. The Jem gallery is a particular gem; a recent exhibit featured the work of I.Braineater, an outstanding local artist.
Farther north again, Loomis arts and crafts superstore is an awesome place for paper junkies. Just to the west is the Seawall; you can go on the south side all the way to Kitsilano, or you can take the north side and go up to Yaletown, English Bay, and Stanley Park. If you know some tricks you can connect with Portside Road and skate all the way from Science World (near Loomis) to Stanley Park and back to the foot of Main street, a loop of about ten miles if you don't also skate around the park itself. And it's all on the Seawall, away from traffic, except for a mile along Portside Road.
North along Main is Chinatown, and then at the very foot of Main street is the Viaduct which will give you a fantastic view of the mountains, North Vancouver, and Downtown. It will also take you to Crab Park (closed after 10pm) which is the only beach on the Downtown Eastside, and features nesting eagles and hawks, seals in the water, and a marvelous break from city noise.
Nearby, on Alexander just west of Main is the Alibi Room, a very arty place with a very hot crowd, very good food, and very original (and tasty) cocktails. Open late, and for great Saturday brunch, but the DJ might be a bit loud if you're hungover. Not that I would know what that's like.
Mount Vesuvius is still one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world and as such is constantly monitored with a seven day warning system. Assuming that no warning has been issued, it's well worth climbing to the top to peer into the ashen crater and view the Bay of Naples which looks all too vulnerable as it spreads out from the foot of the mountain. Coach trips will take you so far up the ascent, but the last 1000 feet must be done by foot, once you've paid your entry fee of course. Unless you're feeling charitable, it's best to ignore the little man handing out 'walking poles', as they're not of much use and he'll demand a few euros from you when you've come back down.
To get there, it's best to take an organised trip - you can drive there, but there are very limited parking facilities.
Unlike Pompeii, it's possible to look around the whole of the Herculaneum excavations in one visit. The small town was buried in lava and mud in the same AD79 eruption and rests below the ground level of modern day Ercolano. Highlights include a gymnasium, complete with athletes' swimming pool, bars which still have the recesses from which wine was served and some wonderful mosaics and sculptures.
Corso Resina 6, Ercolano;
tel: 081 739 0963;
To reach the ruins walk straight down the hill from the station for about five minutes, or if driving take the A3 from Naples then the turn-off for Ercolano.
The Kölner Dom, or Cologne Cathedral, dates back to the 13th century and is Cologne's best-known landmark. It's a fascinating historical building - about as Gothic as Gothic can be, and close examination of the intricate internal carvings reveals even the odd pagan symbol.
For those in good health, I recommend climbing the stairs of the spire. Sure, it's a particularly touristy thing to do, but climbing the spire is to Cologne as climbing the Arc de Triomphe is to Paris - it gives you a view of the city from a central vantage point, atop an amazing structure.
The castle dates back to the 13th century, but it includes impressive Renaissance additions which make it an imposing sight. It's also worth paying a few euros to have a look inside, where you'll find the Barons Hall, a chapel, a disconcertingly glass-floored room that you can walk on to view original foundations below, and an exhibition of art and artefacts. It also has excellent top-floor views over the bay.
tel: 081 795 2003
You can't beat Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) when it comes to looking for souvenirs from Krakow: Amber, silver jewellery, linen table cloths, stained glass, wooden chess sets and decorative glass are among the most popular buys.
On the first floor, there's a gallery of 19th century Polish Art, housing paintings by Jan Matejko, Henryk Siemiradzki, Józef Chełmoński, Julian Fałat, and the Kossak family.
After shopping and sightseening have a rest in the Noworolski cafe, a favourite of a certain Vladimir Lenin during his stay in Krakow.
In the middle of the Market Square (Rynek Glowny).
In 1079, King Bolesław the Bold accused the bishop of Kraków, Stanisław Szczepański of treason.
According to the legend, Szczepański was beheaded and then chopped into pieces. The Royal Family then became cursed. To appease the spirit of the bishop, the Pauline Church was built and the Royal Family made regular pilgrimages there to atone for the killing.
Szczepański was canonised in 1253. There are other famous Polish people buried in the church including painter Stanisław Wyspiański. The church has a lovely tranquil feel to it.
West end of ulica Skałeczna
The ghats are the main reason to visit Varanasi, but once you've done the standard tour and the boat trip, if you have time then simply pick a ghat you like and sit there for a day or so.
This is by far the best way to capture the essence of the city. You'll never get bored, there's too much going on, and you'll learn so much more about India and its people just by quietly observing the daily life and rituals of the Ganges from sunrise to sunset.
Walk along the banks of the river and pick a ghat that appeals: then find a spot to settle down and go with the flow.
The Salt mine has been visited by many high standing people, including Prince Edward, and is an awesome sight. The tour takes you on a trip down the mine in stages and explains about the workings and the medicinal properties the climate has. However, what is truly spectacular are the many salt carvings and the magnificent commissioned church at the bottom. From the altar, which features a picture of the last supper, right down to the tiles on the floor, everything is carved from salt. This place is truly a wonder of the modern world.
There are trips from the Old Square - Stare Miastro, and a train leaves regularly from Krakow Glowny Railway Station;
A towering glass structure in the Wola district of Warsaw. It is a beautiful symbol of how Warsaw is becoming a thriving, cosmopolitan capital city to rival Berlin or Moscow. A futuristic building for a new Poland.
Ul. Chlodna 51, Wola;
tel: 22 528 22 22;
This is the tallest skyscraper in central Europe and is the symbol of Warsaw. It was built as a “proof of friendship” of Russia to the Polish people. It is one of Poland's most modern buildings. Inside are art galleries, theatres and shops.
Plac Defilad 1, in the very centre of Warsaw, next to Centrum metro station;
These 900 year-old mines must be one of the least known wonders of the world. Thirty minutes drive outside Krakow at Wieliczka, they comprise 300km of tunnels on nine levels. Three kilometres are open to the public. There are underground lakes, numerous chapels, a ballroom and, most breathtaking of all, a church 70m high with exquisite Bible story carvings on the wall. All of it was created by the miners who worked here. Eight hundred stairs take you down into the mine - but there is a lift to take you up. Contrary to popular belief, criminals and political prisoners were never sent down the salt mines. It was too prestigious a job when salt was (almost literally) worth its weight in gold.
ul. Zamkowa 8, 32-020 Wieliczka;
tel: 12 278 32 66, 12 422 19 47;
Siem Reap's premier restaurant. For a taste of what the colonial lifestyle might have been like before the guns started firing take a pew on the veranda in this old French villa . The menu is extensive, tasty and not that expensive, and Angelina Jolie can't be wrong about the cocktails (they even named one after her).
If you really like it, there's a guesthouse too.
No. 341, 50 m north-west of the Old Market, Svay Dangkom, Mondul I;
Don't miss this great restaurant in the former Jewish quarter, especially on a night when a klezmer band is playing. The kosher food is superb - try the stuffed goose neck! It's a good idea to book a table.
tel: 12 421 79 20;
This collection of 360 tapestries was begun by Zygmunt I and continued by his son, Zygmunt August. The tapestries were commissioned for specific places on the walls of the Royal Castle on Wawel and, thus, were tailor-made to fit the exact dimensions of the area where they were to be hung. The themes of the tapestries range from biblical stories, animal and landscapes to mythical creatures, coats of arms and allegorical scenes.
Catherine the Great appropriated the tapestries for herself, having them transported to Russia. They were returned in 1921 but removed to Canada at the start of the Second World War. The tapestries were finally returned to Krakow in 1961.
They really are amazing pieces of art. Huge, intricate and finely detailed. The amount of work that must have gone into creating them is stunning. Examples of the tapestries can be seen in the State Rooms and Royal Apartments of the castle
Wawel Castle, Wawel Hill
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