Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cities with Most Billionaires

Memorial Day Weekend was a busy, BUSY weekend filled with exciting events! On Monday, I even got to go to a Red Sox game with my friends from home. On this blog post, I decided to take a little different approach and put a new twist by not only naming off one unique place, but something else. I was catching up on some current events on Yahoo news and came across this article: Cities with the Most Billionaires (This also reminded me of that Bruno Mars song).

I’ll name off the top 5 cities in descending order:

1. Moscow
The capital of Russia wins the race with a whopping 79

2. New York
The Big Apple comes in second with 59 billionaires,
including Ralph Lauren, Donald Trump, and
Michael Bloomberg.

3. London
With 41 billionaires, the British capital finished off third this

4. Hong Kong
This Chinese city came so close to London with 40
billionaires, including Angela Leong and Li Ka-shing.

5. Istanbul
Remember my earlier post on Istanbul? This Turkish city
finished fifth in the competition with 36 billionaires.

This article made my jaw drop…79 billionaires in one city?? That’s just outrageous! It really inspired me that it is possible to strike it that rich. Hope you enjoyed this little twist! What did you think?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Florida Keys, USA

I’ve been extremely excited that these past several days have been sunny and warm outside! After over a week of constant rain and grossness (yuck!), I’m ecstatic to finally catch some rays. On that note, today I decided to go to the Florida Keys, a vacation I took two summers ago.

Although the Keys are a couple of hours away from Miami, the archipelago of a whopping 4,500 islands is most definitely worth the trip. U.S. Route 1 goes all the way down to Key West from the east coast of Maine, and the part of the highway going across the keys is called the “Overseas Highway.” There are five main keys: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key, and Key West. All five of these keys have something unique to bring to the table. Key Largo is the best key to go diving and snorkeling, while Islamorada is known for sport fishing. Marathon is the heart of the keys and offers the best vacation resorts. Big Pine Key is best for maximum relaxation and is awesome for boating and bird watching. Last but certainly not least, Key West is the most famously known key as the “Last Resort.”

Key West is certainly a unique place that is known for its heavenly sightseeing. There you will find the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in the heart of Old Key West. Hemingway lived and wrote for over ten years in this house before his death. The house is currently home to about 60 polydactyl cats (meaning that they have extra toes) and these cats are taken care of by the museum employees. Just across town, you can also check out Kermit's Key West Lime Shoppe where they make the original Key Lime Pie! I happened to buy this pie (it's my absolute favorite dessert) and it was the most amazing and delicious experience.

My sister, mom and I at the Southernmost Point

Key West is also the southernmost point of continental United States and is 90 miles away from Cuba. While it was common for Cubans to escape the country after its revolution to Key West, this practice has died down with inspections of illegal immigrants and naval patrol. You can also check out Duval Street which is full of history of old settlements and museums.

The most captivating part of the Florida Keys is the tropical beaches. The clear turquoise waters will mesmerize you and bring you some amazing relaxation and enjoyment. Also while you are there, you should most certainly try snorkeling or scuba diving. While I was there, I went snorkeling in Marathon then had a nice Florida Keys barbecue dinner at a restaurant nearby called Porky’s Bayside. This was honestly one of the most interesting vacations I have ever been on and would love to go back someday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sri Lanka

Since my last post was about a colder region, I decided to go a little bit around the world to somewhere warmer. Sri Lanka is a country right off the southeastern coast of India that is well known for its export of raw spices and goods. For its beauty, the country has rightfully earned the name "The Pearl of the Indian Ocean." Sri Lanka has over 3,000 years of written history, making it one of the oldest documented civilizations in the world. Let's look at some amazing places to visit while in Sri Lanka!

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is one of the most popular attractions in Sri Lanka. Attention elephant lovers, this is your dream come true! You get to interact with nearly 3,000 elephants bathing down at a river bank and with a small fee, you can feed them at lunchtime. Although this place has gotten mixed reviews from its visitors and has gotten criticized for holding elephants captive, the orphanage is certainly a place worth visiting while checking out Sri Lanka's attractions.

Adam's Peak in Sri Lanka is unique because it is considered sacred by four different religions. This mountain is also called the "Butterfly Mountain" because there are so many butterflies residing on top of the mountain. There is a strange footprint at the top of the mountain that is interpreted in four different ways by the four different religions. According to Buddhists, it is the footprint of Buddha that he left behind as he walked away from Adam's Bridge. Hindus believe it to be the footprint of Lord Shiva. Christians believe it was the footprint of Saint Thomas. Lastly, Muslims believe the footprint was left by Adam himself. If you're up for the climb up the mountain, you can go see this footprint for yourself, which is protected by a Buddhist temple around it.

If you’re looking for more relaxing instead, you can visit some of the beaches in Sri Lanka. There are beaches spread along more than 1,000km of the coast and are absolutely gorgeous. Some of the most famous beaches in the country are Negombo, Hikkaduwa, and Beruwala.

From what we’ve explored in Sri Lanka, I think this place is unique enough for a visit some time, what do you think?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland is a huge attraction to millions of visitors every year for many reasons. It is the capital of Finland and is the world’s northernmost urban area. Established in 1550, Helsinki has developed a rich history that is still embraced by its locals. The city is a leader in architecture and design and is famously known for its numerous Art Nouveau buildings. The most unique part of the city is its climate. Because of its high latitude, Helsinki experiences less than six hours of sunlight around the winter solstice and close to nineteen hours around the summer solstice.

The Helsinki Cathedral is perhaps the most popular attraction in Helsinki and its symbol. Built from 1830 and finished in 1852, the Cathedral was known as the St. Nicholas’ Church until Finland’s independence from Russia. Around 350,000 people visit the church annually, mostly tourists but also by regular attendees. The cathedral hosts weddings, religious events and organ recitals around the calendar and the admission for tours of the cathedral is free if you’re up for a visit!

Helsinki has over 80 museums, including the most popular Finnish museums. A big portion of them are art and design museums, but there are also unique museums such as the Fire Museum, Arabia Museum and Gallery, Kindergarten Museum, and the Submarine Vesikko Museum.

There are other places and events to attend in the city. Helsinki hosts the Helsinki Festival of arts and culture, which takes place every August. The city also hosted the fifteenth Summer Olympics in 1952 and the stadium is still maintained extremely well today.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil, is more commonly known as Rio. It is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is famous for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba and beaches. Some of these balneario beaches include Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana (does anyone remember these songs??). The city is home to about 6.1 million residents and was the capital of Brazil until 1960 when Brasília became the new capital. The first European exploration to the area was on January 1, 1502 to the Guanabara Bay by Portuguese explorer Gaspar de Lemos, hence the name Rio de Janeiro (January River). Rio is an absolutely breathtaking place (or as it seems like it from pictures I’ve seen) and it is one of the few places I’m determined to visit someday! Let’s check out some awesome places you can gaga over when you get there.

Cristo Redentor, Portuguese for Christ Redeemer, is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in Rio. It is a giant statue of Jesus Christ finished in 1931 that is considered the second largest Art Deco statue in the world. Overall, it stands at about 130 feet and is located on the top of Corcovado Mountain. This statue overlooks the city and has become an icon for Rio and all of Brazil. In 2007, it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Cristo Redentor was built to symbolize not only Christianity, but also of peace. It’s a huge monument for all to see and enjoy, you most certainly will not miss this one.

Before the 40 days of Roman Catholic Lent, there is an annual celebration called Carnival in Rio de Janeiro that attracts visitors from all over the world. The event started in 1840 and now attracts almost 1 million people just in one day! There are parades in every corner of the city where samba dancers and musicians in lavish costumes get to show off their moves. This event takes place every March; it’s definitely something you can think about while planning a trip to South America!

After you’ve seen all the big and popular attractions, you can “relax” at the famous and beautiful beaches in Rio de Janeiro. These beaches are so crowded you won’t just see a sea of water but also a sea of people. Don’t forget to pack your suitcase with some thong bikinis; there will be plenty of women showing off their bikini bods at the Brazilian beaches! I’d love to go to Brazil and visit Rio, what do you think of this unique place?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Québec City, Canada

Today we’re going to Québec City, Canada. Although I’ve been to Québec when I was younger, I unfortunately did not get a full experience out of the trip because I went in the middle of an awful, snowy winter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all the things to do in this amazing city! Québec is the capital of the Québec Province in Canada and the second largest city after Montréal in the province. The flag of the province also includes the fleur de lis, also the symbol of my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma! Québec city was founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608 and is one of the oldest cities in North America. It is also the only remaining fortified city in North America north of Mexico, which means that there are walls that surround the entire city. Check out some of these sites to visit the next time you make a trip to Canada!

Château Frontenac is the world’s most photographed hotel for its beauty and lavish architecture. This hotel is hard to miss because it dominates the skyline of Québec City. Once a real palace, the building was restructured as a hotel by architect Bruce Price and William Van Horne, the General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 19th century. The name was inspired by the French governor, Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac. Located in the Old Québec district, you’ll love the historic and antique places to check out. There are horse-drawn carriages, street entertainers, singers, and artists. If you like to check out the local art scene, the Rue du Trésor offers an open-air art gallery for all the aspiring artists to flaunt their talents.

If you are feeling up for a challenge and are planning a winter trip to Québec, then you should most definitely visit the Ice Hotel. This is an experience that you just cannot miss out on while you’re there! Otherwise the hotel will literally melt away in the spring. The Hôtel de Glace, first built in 2001, is constructed every year to last for four months. It is made of 15,000 tons of snow and 500,000 tons of ice! You can have a comfortable stay at the hotel while your luggage storage, meals and showers are offered at the Four Points Sheraton Québec. These packages might seem a little pricey, ranging from $400 to $600 per person, but they are so worth it. Some offer dogsledding rides with a shuttle service or a visit to the hotel’s sauna and hot tub, while every package comes with ice cider cocktails in ice flutes. Whether you’re looking for a winter adventure or a romantic getaway, the Hôtel de Glace offers a unique experience you will never forget.

As well as these awesome places to visit, there are plenty of places in Québec if you want to grab a bite to eat. The Restaurant Le Patriarche, which is also located in Old Québec, is famous for its French and Canadian cuisine. It offers courses made from local farm products that are simply to die for. However, if you’re looking around on a budget, you should try out the most famous and highest rated restaurant in town called Casa Calzone. This Italian restaurant is conveniently located right downtown and offers mouthwatering calzones that visitors and locals cannot resist. So plan a trip to Québec City the next time you are looking for a cool getaway!

Total Pageviews