San Francisco is a world class metropolitan city with a population of approximately one million people. The large skyscrapers, sprawling parks, and busy city streets make San Francisco an exciting city to visit. San Francisco is a beautiful city to discover and explore as a visitor.
Downtown many areas of the city will impress and entertain you. China town is a central area of the city and just as the name suggests is an area of Chinese heritage, culture and atmosphere. One can emerge themselves in the Chinese culture, enjoy Chinese meals, entertainment, shopping and people. The food markets are always filled with a variety of different types of foods, and there are also many different restaurants to try out. I’d recommend Brandy Ho’s Hunan Food, which has been called “The best Chinese Restaurant in San Francisco” and Yeah!, which is a Chinese bar and restaurant.
If you want to see something a little more risqué, visit Alcatraz , perhaps the most famous former jail in the world. Also known as “The Rock”, Alcatraz draws thousands of visitors every year. Alcatraz was a maximum-security prison located on an Island, and was deemed one of the most inescapable prisons in the world, is now a tourist attraction and can be viewed on a guided tour.
San Francisco Zoo
You can also take a day to visit the San Francisco Zoo. One of California’s largest zoological parks, it features over 1,000 different exotic and endangered animals. Or if you enjoy the outdoors, visit Yosemite National Park, a natural preserve of 1,165 miles of extraordinary beauty. The park features valleys, large waterfalls, peaks and lakes, meadows, wildlife, and rock cliffs. Activities vary by season and include hiking, camping, fishing, bicycling, horseback riding, ice skating and snow skiing.
There are so many sights and sounds to experience. One of the first landmarks you will most undoubtedly see is the Golden Gate Bridge. It is famous worldwide as one of the most beautiful and architecturally well constructed bridges in the world.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening from San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. It connects the city of San Francisco and the Marin County headlands. The length of the entire bridge including the approach is 1.7 miles or 2.7 km. The distance between the towers is approximately 4,200 feet or 1,280 metres. When it was completed in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was the largest suspension bridge in the world. However it is currently the second longest suspension bridge in the United States. The unique color of the bridge is International orange, and it is revered for its example of one of the most difficult structural design challenges and also for its aesthetic appeal. It truly is a beautiful and overwhelming sight, especially at night when it lights up the San Francisco skyline.
Don’t confuse this with the Arc De Triumph in Paris (see here ) – the Arc De Triomph in Barclona is just as great as the one in Paris…well – I must admit – loving Barclona as the most appealing city in Europe – even more.
It was built in 1691 and this monument is one of several built to glorify the spain monarchy. The carved medallions, dating from 1773, celebrate the achievements of king Louis XIV of France.
There’s a small door under the vaulted archway provides access to the interior of the monument with a staircase winding up to the rooftop – too bad I haven’t been in there at night… that’s a plan for my 3rd time in Barcelona then
These are two pics I took in December at night, of course with tripod… and it was cOOOLd…
The Vatican City, is actually one of the smallest cities unto itself and is the smallest independent nation in the world. It is the official home of the Pope of the Roman Catholic church and yearly it attracts millions of people and for many different reasons.
Every twenty five years it is said that to pass through the gates of the Vatican is to be forgiven for all of your sins, and all those of your loved ones forever. The year 2000 was the last occurrence of this event. So be sure to visit again in 2025. Some people visit to get a glimpse of this historical site that is the pinnacle of the Roman Catholic religion, others to see the Pope himself and yet others to view the amazing architectural design and construction of the church and the amazing sculpture and art inside.
The entrance to the Vatican is quite masterful, and grand. There is a great circular open space that is surrounded by great roman pillars that are so perfectly designed that if you stand in front of one you can not see the ones behind it, as they are so perfectly aligned. This is not only a very powerful design but also this was created without the use of modern day equipment to make the approximate measurements that were needed to make the columns so perfectly aligned in this way.
Another fascinating fact is that the Vatican City actually has its own postage stamps and issues its own coins. It is actually even declared a separate region from Italy, basically its own country and so therefore has its own postage stamps and coins. Image this tiny region with its own postage stamps and coins is actually mainly one grand building, a church and the home of the Pope. The Vatican City has its own post office, commissary or supermarket, bank, the automatic teller machines ones in the world to use Latin, and railway station.
The view of St. Peter’s Square from the top of Michelangelo’s dome is a completely unobstructed view of the Vatican City. However the view of St. Peter’s square in the early morning is exquisite. The lights surrounding and shinning on the building are just breath takingly beautiful.
The Vatican City is itself of great cultural and artistic significance. The buildings within its boundaries such as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine chapel are home to some of the most beautiful art in the world, which includes works by artists such as Botticelli, Bernini, and Michelangelo. The Vatican library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance in the world.
The art which is most famous in the Vatican City are the paintings created by Michelangelo. Michelangelo created two of the most influential fresco paintings in the history of Western art, on the ceiling and on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel, called the Last Judgment. Later in life he designed the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Entering St. Peter’s Basilica, ensure that your upper body is fully covered, and that includes your shoulders. It is not permitted for people to enter the Basilica without their shoulders covered as respect to the holy place, so make sure that when you visit you are wearing something with sleeves. As you enter the building, there are usually many people in line with you waiting to enter.
Your first glimpse of the inside of the great doors is the art and architectural design, the beautiful dome ceiling covered in painting and stain glass, and the golden alter. This church really represents the head of the Catholic Church as it is so beautifully and masterfully designed and decorated, by the most highly talented artists in history. You will not be disappointed by the amazing creation of the Vatican City.
At the travel office at our hotel in Venice, we were advised to spend a day visiting the twin islands Murano and Burano. Their amazing surroundings and the atmosphere are so similar to Venice’s, that we won’t even realize we left the city. The islands are also well known for their industries. Murano is famous for the murano glass blowing industry, while Burano is famous for its lacework.
Both of the islands lie north of Venice. Murano lies about 2 miles north of the city and comprises five little islands clustered together, while Burano lies near Torcello. We took a vaporetto from Piazalle Roma to get to the islands.
Glassmaking first existed as industry in Venice and by the 10th century was widespread in the city, becoming the city’s foremost industry by 1200. But after 1217, the city leaders required the furnaces to be moved to Murano in order to protect Venice from fire. Also they passed a lot to forbid the import of glass and entry of foreign glass in the city. These moves gave Venice the monopoly in the glass industry over Europe. Around the 17th century, the popularity of the Murano glass began to decline but a businessman named Antonio Salviati, started selling the glass outside Venice, hence boosting the industry as well as tourism.
The glassworkers were allowed to wear swords and enjoyed immunity from prosecution by the Venice state, while the glassworkers’ daughters were allowed to marry into Venice’s blue-blooded families. But on the other hand, the glassmakers weren’t allowed to leave Venice. The reason was very simple: they were the only craftsmen in Europe who knew how to make mirrors and who developed refined technologies for producing glass (smalto – enameled glass, aventurine- glass with threads of gold, millefiori – multicolored glass- and lattimo – milk glass)
We also found out that the glass was made to be functional, not decorative but the pieces always came out more beautiful than planned. They are indeed a work of art and usually are displayed rather than used. Today they produce jewelry and other decorative objects as well (paperweights, figurines, vases and tableware), all bearing a very high price tag and considered luxury items all over the world.
We found all that information at the Glass Museum (Museo Vetrario), located in the Palazzo Giustinian, right near the island’s center. Also many glassworks can be visited and most of them date from the medieval times.
While on the island we also visited the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato, which is known for its twelfth century Byzantine mosaic pavement. Also legend has it that it houses the bones of a dragon slain by Saint Donatus.
On Burano, we first went to the Lace Museum . We found out that needlepoint lace was born in Venice in the 15th century. It actually derives from embroidery and is inspired by the stitches that create transparency in the design (in Italian, punto tagliato).
The industry became so popular that a School of Lace was founded in 1872. Later on the lace lost its popularity and the school had to close. Now the building houses the Lace Museum. Within the museum we admired all the laces produced over the centuries, as well as drawings, personal journals, photographs and work techniques.
Burano is also known for its colored houses, very famous among artists. We were told that if someone wants to paint the house, the owner must send a request to the government and they’ll respond which colors are allowed in the lot.
While on the island we also visited the Oratorio Santa Barbara and the Church of San Martino.