Apr
06

Famous Oscar Wilde quotation

No man is rich enough to buy back his past

No man is rich enough to buy back his past

The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast

The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast

I don`t like principles. I prefer prejudices

I don`t like principles. I prefer prejudices

One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry

One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry

Life is never fair… An perhaps it is a  good thing for most of us that it is not

Life is never fair… An perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not

I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible

I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible

Experience is the name everyone gives to his mistakes

Experience is the name everyone gives to his mistakes

Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world`s original sin

Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world`s original sin

Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood

Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood

I am not young enough to know everything

I am not young enough to know everything

We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell

We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell

I can resist anything but temptation

I can resist anything but temptation

Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it

Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them as much

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them as much

A kiss may ruin a human life

A kiss may ruin a human life

I am always astonishing myself. It is the only thing that makes life worth living

I am always astonishing myself. It is the only thing that makes life worth living

Category: Quotations  Tags: ,  24 Comments
Mar
04

Havana highlights, January 2010

Havana (La Habana) is an amazing and unique place to experience the Cuban history and lifestyle. As a capital of Cuba it hosts the Cuban government, various ministries and business headquarters.

Castillo del Morro view from Malecon

Castillo del Morro view from Malecon

Tito El Bambino – El Amor

I recommend starting exploration of Havana from Castillo del Morro (Morro Castle), a picturesque 16th century fortress, that guards the entrance to Havana bay. Sitting near its cannons you can enjoy marvellous view of the city and its Malecon (a broad sea-front promenade), Old and Centre part of Havana. Next to the Morro Castle there is Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, commonly known simply as La Cabaña. It is a big 18th century fortress complex with several small museums. Every night at 9pm a beautiful ceremony of the cannon shot (ceremonia del cañonazo) takes place, where solders in costumes from colonial times signal the closure of the city wall doors and nightfall.

View of Havana from the Morro Castle

View of Havana from the Morro Castle

Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana

Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana

Jesus Christo

To experience a little sea adventure you can take a local ferry from the ferry terminal at the foot of the hill where the statue of Christ (Jesus Christo) stands. It will take you to the old colonial part of the city right to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral “Our Lady of Kazan”. Then you can drink Aztec hot chocolate, mixed with black pepper and nutmeg in Museo del Chocolate close to the Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís, a wonderful example of eighteenth century architecture. The Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis has a 42 metres (138 feet) high bell tower that provides visitors with a stunning view out over Havana and out to sea.

Basilica de St. Francisco de Asis

Basilica de St. Francisco de Asis

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Randy Malcon and Aned Mota – Gozando en la Habana (2010)

Plaza de Armas, first known public square of Havana, situated in the heart of the old city and it is always packed with tourists. There are some cafes with terraces close to the square where during the lunch time local bands play “Guantanamera” and the other famous Cuban songs. In a few steps of Plaza de Armas there is El Templete, a monument that pays homage to the place where the foundation of the town of San Cristóbal de la Habana was celebrated in 1519. Near the enterence to the monument there is a column which replaces a silk-cotton tree, under which the first mass and the first Council of Havana were celebrated.

The Catedral de San Cristobal de La Havana

The Catedral de San Cristobal de La Havana

From Plaza de Armas you can walk along Calle Obispo (Obispo street), perhaps Havana’s most vibrant street, that will take you to the Parque Central (Central park). The narrow roadway throngs with life, history, architecture and entertainment. In the old pharmacy in Obispo it is possible to buy the Nonix, juice from the famous noni fruit. On the same street there is the famous El Floridita bar, the favourite place of Ernest Hemingway, where the Daiquiri cocktail was created and now you can taste it with fried bananas there.

Ernest Hemingway statue in El Floridita bar

Ernest Hemingway statue in El Floridita bar

The Capitolio building is the main tourist spot in the centre part of the city. Built in 1929, it looks like Washington DC’s Capitol, but the government had been set there only until 1959. Nowadays, it is the National Museum of Natural History, where you can give one CUC (Cuban convertible peso) to the workers and they will allow you to make a picture inside the President office on the chair where Fulgencio Batista, the last Cuban president, was sitting before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution. Behind the Capitolio there is Partagas Cigar Factory that sells cigars in their well-stocked shop, La Casa del Habano, there also you can see how cigars are made from the tobacco leaves.

The Capitolio building

The Capitolio building

Partagas Cigar Factory

Partagas Cigar Factory

The best view of the city is from the highest point in Havana – Memorial José Martí, 109 meters (358 feet) marble tower situated on the Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square).

Memorial Jose Marti on the Revolution Square

Memorial Jose Marti on the Revolution Square

Coppelia ice-cream restaurant serves the most delicious ice-cream in Cuba and it is very cheap if you buy it in with Cuban national pesos at the back part of the restaurant.

Taxi cabs

Taxi cabs

Malecon during the day

The best place to meet sunset in Havana is in the Malecon. This sea-front street stretches for 8 km along the coast and represents the Cuban lifestyle. In the morning there some foreigner joggers run here along the Atlantic Ocean. During the day some small bands and single musicians play Cuban and other music, fishermen try to catch some fish, locals walk with dogs and tourists admire significant colonial and modern buildings restored and painted in all imaginable and unimaginable colours. On Fridays and Saturdays nights you will hardly find a free place to sit or stand. The whole Malecon is crowded with locals and tourists as if half of the city is going to spend the night here. Young people are kissing, drinking, dancing, talking and fighting with lots of tourist which tries to become part of the Havana`s nightlife.

Sunset on the Malecon

Sunset on the Malecon

Around midnights lots of night clubs host famous and not yet famous live-music bands. I recommend to spend a nice evening in the Jazz Café or Havana Café in Vedado distinct; to dance salsa in Casa de la Musica, Café Cantante Mi Habana or Salón Rosado de la Tropical.

Havana at night

Havana at night

Category: Cuba  Tags: ,  3 Comments
Mar
01

Spring has returned

Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. Its days are close to twelve hours long with increasing day length, as it occurs near the time of an equinox. Springtime is a time of growth, renewal and of new life being born.

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. - Rainer Maria Rilke

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. - Rainer Maria Rilke

Tito El Bambino – El Amor

Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn. - Lewis Grizzard

Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn. - Lewis Grizzard

Spring is a heart full of hope and a shoe full of rain

Spring is a heart full of hope and a shoe full of rain

Nothing is so beautiful as spring - Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as spring - Gerard Manley Hopkins

Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring? - Neltje Blanchan

Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring? - Neltje Blanchan

Every spring is the only spring - a perpetual astonishment.  - Ellis Peters

Every spring is the only spring - a perpetual astonishment. - Ellis Peters

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!" - Robin Williams

Spring is nature's way of saying, Let's party! - Robin Williams

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. - Doug Larson

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. - Doug Larson

In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours. - Mark Twain

In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours. - Mark Twain

When spring comes the grass grows by itself - Tao Te Ching

When spring comes the grass grows by itself - Tao Te Ching

Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil - Bishop Reginald Heber

Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil - Bishop Reginald Heber

Jan
25

World`s most amazing deserts

1. Sahara is the world’s largest and hottest desert

The Sahara (“The Greatest Desert”) is the world’s largest hot desert; at over 9,000,000 square kilometres (3,500,000 sq miles), it covers most of Northern Africa (Algeria, Chad, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Sudan, Tunisia and Western Sahara). On the west, the Sahara is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and on the east by the Red Sea, and on the north it borders with the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Sand dunes make up about 15% of the desert, rocky plains comprise another 70% and the remainder consists of limestone and shale plateaus.

The Sahara is the world's largest and hottest desert

The Sahara is the world's largest and hottest desert

The Greatest Desert has a subtropical climate in its northern parts, and a tropical one in the south. Winters in the north are cold to cool; in the south, mild. Summers are hot all over the desert. The highest desert`s temperature ever recorded is 57.7°C (135.9°F) in Aziziyah, Libya it is also the hottest recorded temperature ever on the surface of the Earth.

According to archaeologists, the Sahara was much more densely populated. It was more than twenty thousand years ago when the desert’s climate had not been as arid as it is today. This area was once a real paradise of lush vegetation, but slowly it started becoming drier and the fertile landscape gave way to infertile region, as we see it today. However, some studies and researches show that the desert was manmade.

For centuries caravaneers have been travelling through the Sahara desert. Even though there are many oases in the Sahara, the desert is so immense that travellers may go for days to reach them.

2. Atacama is the world’s driest desert

The Atacama Desert is the driest desert on Earth that covers 1000 kilometres (600 miles) of northern Chile, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, being extended to the border of Peru. The average annual rainfall here is about 25 mm (1 inch) and, in some mid-deserts spots rain has never been recorded. The average temperatures range is from 0° C to 25°C (32°F to 75°F).

The Atacama is the world's driest desert

The Atacama is the world's driest desert

Most of the precipitation that comes to the Atacama is in the form of fog (locally as the Camanchaca) that blows in from the Pacific. The fog nourishes plant communities called lomas, isolated islands of vegetation that can contain a wide variety of species, from cactuses to ferns.

The reason that the Atacama doesn’t get enough rainfall is because of a phenomenon called rainshadow. The warm, moist tropical air that blows on the tradewinds from the east, which douse the South American rainforest, gets hung-up on the east side of the Andes.

3. Gobi Desert

The Gobi Desert is he Asia’s largest desert area and it also covers some parts of Southern Mongolia and north-western China. The desert measures over 1600 kilometres (900 miles) from southwest to northeast and 800 kilometres (500 miles) from north to south and has an elevation of 1520 meters above the sea level.

The climate of the Gobi Desert is highly varied on account of its large size and regions situated at different altitudes; the temperature variations are extreme in nature with some parts of the desert having maximum temperatures of 45°C (113°F) in summer in the month of July and minimum temperature as low as -40°C (-40°F) in winter in the month of January.

The Gobi Desert

The Gobi Desert

Unlike the romanticized image of deserts with sweeping sand dunes, most of the landscape of the Gobi consists of rocky, hard packed terrain. While the solid land under foot made it easier to transverse the desert, catapulting the Gobi onto the scene of history as a viable trade route, there was very little settled human occupation in the area until modern times.

Despite the harsh conditions, the Gobi Desert is one of the most exciting areas in the world for finding the dinosaur fossils.

4. Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt desert

The Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa) is with its 10,582 square kilometres (4,085 square miles) the world’s largest salt desert. It is located in the Departmento of Potosi in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes. Salar de Uyuni is estimated to have a reserve of 10 billion tons of salt.

The Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt desert

The Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt desert

Approximately 40,000 years ago, the area was a part of the Lago Minchin, a giant lake. When the lake dried, it was left behind two modern lakes, Lagos Poopó and Uru Uru, and two major salt deserts, Coipasa and a larger Uyuni.

Despite the desert dryness, freezing night temperatures, and fierce desert sun, this landscape is not devoid of life. Pink flamingos, ancient cacti, and rare hummingbirds all live in the Salar de Uyuni.

5. Death Valley

The Death Valley is one of the hottest places on the surface of the Earth located in California, United States. On July 10, 1913 temperature got up to 56°C (134°F) and annual (potential) evaporation here is the highest in the world at 325 centimetres (128 inches). The desert is also the driest place in North America, with an average rainfall of less than 5 centimetres (2 inches) a year on the valley floor.

Death Valley is one of the best geological examples of a basin and range configuration. Salt and alkali flats, unique rock formations, and briny pools are found there.

The Death Valley in California, USA

The Death Valley in California, USA

The valley received its English name in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. It was called Death Valley by prospectors and others who sought to cross the valley on their way to the gold fields, even though only one death in the area was recorded during the Rush. During the 1850s, gold and silver were extracted in the valley.

Death Valley is believed to have nearly 900 different species of plants existing, despite its harsh and arid climate. A large number of small desert insects, animal lizards, snakes, rodents and coyotes are found here. The most amazing occupant of the Death Valley is a fish called Devil’s Hole pupfish. This species has managed to survive here for thousands of years, despite the monumental changes in its environment.

6. Taklamakan Desert a desert covered with snow

The Taklamakan Desert (also Taklimakan) is a desert of Central Asia, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is known as one of the largest sandy deserts in the world. It covers an area of 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 square miles) of the Tarim Basin, 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) long and 400 kilometres (250 miles) wide.

Taklamakan is a cold desert climate. In February 2008 the desert had experienced its biggest snowfall and lowest temperature (-32°C (-25.6°F)), for the first time it was entirety covered with a thin layer of snow reaching 4 centimetres (1.6 inches).

The Taklamakan desert snow

The Taklamakan desert snow

In Uigur language, Takla Makan means ‘you can get into it but can never get out’ and the desert has another name ‘the Sea of Death‘. It once formed the greatest obstacle to be found along the Silk Road and fearful Caravaneers of old would skirt its edges, to the north or to the south.

Category: The world's top  Tags: ,  10 Comments
Jan
20

World’s Most Spectacular Waterfalls

Angel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world, as well as the tallest single drop in the world and one of the eight natural wonders of the world. The waterfall is 979 meters high (3,212 ft) and it drops over the edge of the Auyantepui mountain in the Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State, Venezuela. Pilot Jimmy Angel is widely credited for discovering the falls in 1937, but the true discoverer was one Ernesto de Santa Cruz, who found the falls in 1910. The falls were subsequently named for Jimmy Angel, since he was the first westerner to view the falls. The height of the falls is so great that before getting anywhere near the ground, the water is atomized by the strong winds and turned into mist. The mist can be felt a mile away.

Angel Falls is the world highest waterfall

Angel Falls is the world's highest waterfall

Iguazu Falls (Iguassu Falls or more accurately Iguazú Falls) are known throughout the world as the widest waterfall and one of the most beautiful and majestic natural waterfalls man has ever seen. The waterfall system consists of 275 falls along 2.7 kilometres (1.67 miles) of the Iguazu River located on the border of the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentine province of Misiones. During the rainy season of November – March, the rate of flow of water going over the falls may reach 12,750 cubic meters (450,000 cubic feet) per second. Iguazu Falls is actually split into two main parts by the San Martin Island (La Isla San Martín). The part with the largest volume of water is the narrow horseshoe of the Devil’s Throat (La Garganta del Diablo).

Iguazu Falls is the world widest waterfall

Iguazu Falls is the world's widest waterfall

The Victoria Falls are one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. The Falls are just over 1.7 kilometre wide (1 mile) and 108 meters (355 feet) high. During the wet season over 500 million litres (19 million cubic feet) of water plummets over the edge into the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. The Victoria Falls are divided into five separate waterfalls: Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow Falls and Eastern Cataract. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European recorded to view the Victoria Falls in November 1855. The original Victoria Falls was 8km downstream from the present falls. Weaknesses in the basalt perpendicular to the river’s flow and 2 million years’ erosion – have resulted in the river cutting through seven subsequent gorges, each further upstream from the previous one. The present-day falls is actually in its seventh location.

The Victoria Falls is the greatest waterfall in the world

The Victoria Falls is the greatest waterfall in the world


The Niagara Falls is the largest waterfall (by volume) in North America. The falls actually consists of three separate components – Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls on the Niagara River, straddling the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. The Canadian “Horseshoe” Niagara Falls are 60 meters high (180 feet) and 833 meters (2,500 feet) wide. The Falls at Niagara are about 12,000 years old and they were formed when melting glaciers formed massive fresh-water lakes (the Great Lakes) one of which (Lake Erie) ran downhill toward another (Lake Ontario). In 1848, Niagara Falls actually stopped flowing for 30 hours when ice fields from Lake Erie jammed at the source of the river.

The Canada Horseshoe Falls, in Niagara Falls

The Canada Horseshoe Falls, in Niagara Falls

The Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America located in Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, USA. The waterfall drops in three major stages. The first stage is the Upper Fall, which plunges 436 metres (1430 feet). The second stage is the Middle Cascades, which tumbles down a height of reportedly 205 metres (670 feet). The final stage is the Lower Fall, which drops 97 metres (320 feet). The falls were formed by creeks tumbling into the Yosemite Valley over the edges of hanging tributary valleys (which eroded more slowly than the glacial and river carved Yosemite Valley and were left “hanging” above it) into the Merced River below. The name for Yosemite is a corruption of the name of a Native American tribe that lived in the area. They called themselves, Uzumati, which means Grizzly Bear. Now, this name is but a tribute to Yosemite’s past, when Grizzlies roamed the park.

The Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America

The Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America

Langfoss or Langfossen, located in the municipality of Etne in western Norway, as it is sometimes called is possibly one of the more beautiful cascade waterfalls in the world. A width of 76 meters (250 feet), the river spills over the side of a mountain slope for a length of 2000 feet before it joins the waters of the Åkra Fjord. With the total height of 612 meters (2008 feet), Langfoss is the 5th highest waterfall in Norway and is among the tallest waterfalls in the world. Surprisingly, this waterfall remains completely untapped for hydro production – a rarety for streams of this size and waterfalls of this height in Norway. Because the European route E134 runs along the base of the waterfall, many people get to stop by for pictures or just to admire the majestic natural phenomenon.

The Langfoss Falls

The Langfoss Falls

The Havasu Falls is one of the most beautiful and photographed waterfalls in the world. This is an absolutely amazingly beautiful waterfall located in a remote canyon of Arizona, USA. The water flows out of limestone, which gives it a pleasing blue-green hue. The falls consist of one main chute that drops over a 37 metres (120 feet) vertical cliff (due to the high mineral content of the water, the falls are ever-changing and sometimes break into two separate chutes of water) into a large pool.

The Havasu Falls is the most photographed waterfalls in the world

The Havasu Falls is the most photographed waterfalls in the world