JULY 2013

Paris: the city of love

by: Jacqueline Thompson (reading – 3.6. - 9.6.)

Ah Paris, the city de l'amour. What better place to spend the Valentine weekend?

Who knows or cares how Paris's reputation as the City of Love came about; the fact is romance saturates the air. The city's architecture is beguiling, the gentle curve of The Seine, hypnotic. Perhaps it is because Parisians themselves seem so much more open in their gestures, unashamed about making public displays of affection. Well, when in Rome, as they say ...

With flights from London airports to Charles De Gaulles starting at just L20.99 or the Eurostar from L69, it is a fantasy easily turned into reality. Plus there are some great deals to be had on hotel accommodation, saving you money for all of the city's many attractions.

If you're not too bothered about finding privacy and queueing during the daytime, then visit Paris's popular landmarks: Sacré-Cour, Notre Dame, the Champs-Élysées and Montmartre to name but a few. Naturally, don't miss the irresistible Eiffel Tower from which you and your significant other can marvel at the 360 degree panoramic of Paris below, no doubt falling in love all over again at the sight.

Say the words 'cafe culture' to anyone and it instantly evokes images of Paris streets, chic women in sunglasses sipping coffee, engulfed by swirls of cigarette smoke, handsome Gallic men reading Le Monde making flirty eye contact, perched with effortless elegance on the stylish cafe furniture. Make a point of stopping for un café, s'ilvous plait and soaking up the atmosphere. Sit at separate tables and catch each other's eye provocatively, as if you're perfect strangers.

When evening comes, enjoy a romantic cruise along The Seine, taking in Paris by night or simply stroll along the streets, hand in hand. Stop for dinner at a little bistro and sample the recommended vins or feed each other spoonfuls of sumptuous dessert. You can do that in Paris without putting fellow diners off their grub.

The city of love may only be a couple of hours, away but it's guaranteed that you will remember your visit to Paris for a life time.

About The Author

Jacqueline Thompson, a successful business owner of decor sites discusses cafe furniture and cafe tables. Finish your furniture in style. Click today - www.cafereality.co.uk/

Volcano Climbing in Arequipa, Peru

by: Gary Sargent (reading – 10.6. - 16.6.)

Arequipa, the attractive "White City" in Southern Peru, is surrounded by three volcanic mountain ranges: the Cordillera Volcanica, the Cordillera de Ampato and the Cordillera de Chila. The volcanoes have provided interesting findings for archeologists as it has been discovered that the Incas used to climb some of these volcanoes and use them to perform rituals in various sanctuaries, leaving human sacrifices near the summits. Some of the special Inca offerings that have been discovered include Juanita, the Ice Maiden, who in 1995 was discovered on top of Ampato. The geography of the area lends itself to volcano climbing with summits of between 5000 and over 6000 meters.

There are various organizations that provide guided volcano climbing in Arequipa. For example some tours climb to the summit of Picchu Picchu (plus many others) in two days. The first day involves reaching the base camp, firstly driving in a four-wheel drive vehicle and then climbing to 4700 meters to camp. The second day involves a four to five hour climb to 5664 meters at which point, El Misti, Chachani, Ubinas volcanoes and the lovely colors of Picchu Picchu itself can be admired.

Another popular tour climbs the famous El Misti cone in two days. A Quechua name, El Misti means the gentleman. This volcano is 5825 meters high and sits between the Chachani mountain and the Picchu Picchu volcano. There have been some random eruptions of the volcano since written historic records began and between 1438 and 1471 the last really strong eruption is thought to have occurred.

Inca inhabitants living near the volcano reported other smaller eruptions dating from the mid-fifteenth century but the year 1870 saw the last major eruption of this volcano. A large quantity of white volcanic stone from El Misti (sillar) has been used as construction material for most of Arequipa's colonial buildings and gives the historic center of the city a lovely appearance.

In common with climbing of Picchu Picchu the first day of the El Misti climb is taken up with hiking for five hours to the base camp at 4500 meters and then the second day requires hiking for another five or six hours to reach the summit. At the top the crater can be seen which is still active pumping out sulfur as well as affording great views of the beautiful surroundings.

At a height of 6075 meters, Chachani is another popular volcano to climb. The altitude is the biggest concern to climbers, who really need to spend time to acclimatize, but no special equipment is needed to climb the mountain as it has no remaining glaciers. It was first ascended by Biggar in 1889 but it was also climbed in pre-Columbian times shown by the existence of archeological remains near the summit. Although it is not climbed as often as El Misti, many people still attempt it.

The first day of the ascent of Chachani involves a 4x4 excursion through the National Reserve of Aguada Blanca to see wildlife such as vicunas, guanacoes, eagles, viscachas, deer and sometimes condors. Following this is a hike to the base camp at 5200 meters with its sandy slope, reddish colorations and volcanic ash. The next day is a two step approach to the summit with a stop at 5800 meters to view the other nearby peaks of Coropuna, Ampato, Hualca Hualca, Sabancaya, El Misti, and Ubinas. Then it is a push onwards to the summit to enjoy the superb views and spectacular scenery. Then climbers descend to the base camp and take road transport back to the city of Arequipa.

For those interested in volcano climbing Arequipa in Peru is really an excellent place to indulge your passion, and somewhere that has a lot more to offer too!

About The Author

Gary Sargent is the Managing Director of the tour companies Escaped to Peru and has lived in South America since 1998. Gary is passionate about life here, the people, customs and places. Visit Gary's website for more Peru travel advice or to book your next Peru vacation visiting www.escapedtoperu.com

The author invites you to visit: www.escapedtolatinamerica.com

Brazilian Soccer - 4 Reasons Why Their National Team Is The Best

by: Gary Sargent (reading – 17.6. - 23.6.)

If you know anything about soccer, or futbol as it is known in Latin America, you'll know that the national team to beat is Brazil. Known for its trickery, fast flowing nature and attacking style, the Brazilian squad has been terrifying oppositions in World Cup matches for decades. If you were hopeful about the chances of your national squad beating Brazil, these 4 points should put you straight.

1) Brazilians want to win more than your team

Football in Brazil is close to a religion, and everyone from players to managers to spectators take it very, very seriously. To illustrate, three hours before a match by the national squad you'll be out of options to deposit a cheque because all the banks close, allowing their employees to prepare for the game. Brazilians also accept nothing less than a win as a result, viewing a draw as a loss. Up against that attitude, you won't stand much of a chance on the pitch or supporting from the sidelines.

2) Brazilians have the best players in the World

The ultra-rich European leagues are widely regarded as the best in the World, and they are flooded with Brazilians; 600 players to be exact. Superstars such as Robinho, Ronaldinho and Kaka dominate the English, Italian and Spanish leagues, commanding huge salaries and advertising contracts with big name sporting brands. To crown it all, the best player in the history of soccer is a Brazilian, Pele (Also known as the slightly less memorable Edison Arantes do Nascimento) was voted number one in the 2000 FIFA "Player of the Century" poll, amongst numerous other player and fan awards. Scoring an incredible 1281 goals in 1363 games, his talent is qualified by more than just opinion.

3) The Brazilian national team is a priority

As salaries for European teams climb higher, league teams are frequently accused of prioritising "club over country", with players encouraged by their coaches to focus on international competitions such as the UEFA cup more than those of the national squad, such as the World Cup. Not so in Brazil. Brazilian players have the tendency to view competing in the higher standard of the European leagues as an opportunity to develop and refine their skills in order to stand a better chance for national selection.

4) The Brazilian team is the most successful in the World

The statistics speak for themselves; with 5 World cup wins, Brazil is the most prolific national team on the planet. They are the only team to have qualified for every single World Cup, and their dominance of Latin American football is demonstrated by their successful retention of the Copa America in 2007.

Next time you jog out onto a pitch to play against the Brazilian team (hey, it could be possible!) or sit down to watch an international match, be sparing on the hope; you'll be betting against some of the most accomplished and competent players on the planet.

About The Author

Gary Sargent is the Managing Director of the tour companies Escaped to Peru and Escaped to Latin America and has lived in South America for over 10 years. Gary is passionate about Latino life, people, customs and places. To learn more or to book your next adventure please visit www.escapedtolatinamerica.com

Visit The Burj Khalifa - The Tallest Building In The World

by: Highest Building (reading – 24.6. - 30.6.)

The Burj Khalifa: Standing Tall and Proud

The United Arab Emirates owns the distinction of having the tallest building internationally. Measuring a staggering 2,717 feet (828 meters), the Burj Khalifa, formerly known as Burj Dubai, is the highest man-made structure in history. It can be found along Sheikh Zayed Road general business district in Dubai.

This marks the second time the Middle East has claimed the honor of having the tallest artificial structure in the world. The Great Pyramid of Giza once held that distinction for many hundreds of years until England built the Lincoln Cathedral in 1311.

Named in honor of one or more of the project's top supporters and the actual president of the United Arab Emirates and king of Abu Dhabi, Khalifa bin Sayed Al Nahyan, the Burj Khalifa gained the attention and recognition of the rest of the world. It was constructed with the primary goal of diverting the country's image from a debt-ridden oil-producing country into a tourist mecca generating necessary income and investments. Conceptualization and construction began in 2004 and the building was launched on January 4, 2010 during the rise to the throne of Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashin Al Maktoum.

The Burj Khalifa was designed by architect Adrian Smith and engineer Bill Baker who were with Chicago's Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) right at that moment. Among the other groups involved in the actual construction were South Korea's Samsung Engineering and Construction (primary contractor) and Besix and Arabtec. Emaar Properties served as the project's developer. The $1.5 billion tower was inspired by Islamic traditions and culture and featured patterns prevalent in Islamic architecture. The three-lobed base of the building was patterned after the flower Hymenocalli.

Among the lavish features of the Burj Khalifa are the 57 double-deck elevators with modern LCD displays for the visitors' entertainment. There are also eight escalators and a total of 2,909 stairs. The 124th floor showcases the highest open-air observation deck internationally, the At the Top. It was opened to the public on the 5th of January, the day after Burj Khalifa's inauguration and also houses the Behold Telescope.

Apart from being the tallest building ever, the Burj Khalifa holds a number of other records. Among them are:

The most number of floors (160) - beating the former record holder Willis Tower by 52 floors

The highest occupied floor (160th floor)

The highest pool - situated at the 76th floor

The highest nightclub - located at the 144th floor

World's highest mosque - discovered on the 158th floor

The highest outdoor observation deck at 1483 feet - aptly named At the Top and situated at the 124th floor; it is the second highest observation deck on record

The highest restaurant - At.mosphere that is on the 122nd floor and at a height of 1450 feet, a distant 302 feet over CN Towers' 360 restaurant

The world's fastest elevator which goes at a speed of 64 kilometers per hour

The highest elevator installation

The tallest man-made structure that has residential features, and

The world's highest New Year's Eve celebration and firework display.

About The Author

To find out more information about 10 tallest buildings in the world, visit www.famouswonders.com and while you are at it, check out tall building.

The author invites you to visit: www.highestbuilding.livejournal.com