Brussels, Amsterdam and the Green Fairy

The green shot glass on the left was mine
The green shot glass on the left was mine

I’ve left Brussels and have made the short trip to Amsterdam. I enjoyed my time in Brussels but in the end I was left with the question “what is really there?”. Brussels is the capital of the European Union and of NATO, as well as being the capital of Belgium. Unlike Paris or Rome the city isn’t dripping with history. Paris has a 1,000 foot tall iconic tower created for a world expo, Rome has a 2,000 year old Colosseum which is a wonder of the world, and Brussels has a two foot statue of a little boy peeing. It is a functional city, and yes despite stereotypes, the fries and waffles are good. (French fries are in fact not from France, but from Belgium. They came to the US after WWI when soldiers returned.) Many of the fries I had were cooked in animal fat not vegetable oil, which is very hard to find in most restaurants.

The highlight of my stay was the people I meet up with. On Saturday I met up with Ninfa, who is from Honduras, her brother and her Irish boyfriend Tony. They made me dinner in their apartment and later we went out to a bar which had the largest selection of beer, rum and absinthe in the world. I had never had absinthe before and thought I’d give it a try. It had been illegal in the US until recently. Despite rumors of absinthe causing hallucinations, I can report no such effects. It was like doing a shot with cough syrup mixed in.

Canals in Amsterdam
Canals in Amsterdam

All the absinthe drinks seemed to have something to do with fire. The shot I had was in a custom glass with a straw built into the bottom. It almost looked like a Sherlock Holmes pipe. They light the top of the drink on fire then you suck it through the straw from the bottom. You are supposed to suck it really fast so you don’t burn yourself.

The next night I met up for drinks with several twitter users in Brussels: @elise_huard, @melissa_bxl, @mateusz, @janisozoltan, and @Indeneus. It was nice to meet other Twitter users and see how they are using the technology. I think I was the only one with out an iPhone which sort of puts into perspective how long I have been on the road. When I started my trip, there was no iPhone.

Tuesday I took the train to Brugge. I had heard a lot about Brugge so I thought I’d go see it myself. Since the movie “In Brugge” came out it has been getting a lot of attention. It seemed like there were more tourists in Brugge than there were in Brussels. It is a quaint old city but it wasn’t THAT big of a deal.

Bikes in Amsterdam
Bikes in Amsterdam

I’m currently in Amsterdam which, so far, I enjoy immensely. The Dutch are probably the most fluent English speakers in Continental Europe. The English language television shows and movies which are show in the Netherlands are subtitles not dubbed, unlike in France or Italy. Everyone I have meet from the Netherlands, including Dutch people I’ve meet traveling, can speak English better than some Americans I know.

Amsterdam is just like the photos you see. Canals are everywhere and you could almost navigate through the entire city by boat. It is also the most bike friendly city I have ever seen. There are a LOT of bicycles and the roads are built to handle bike traffic. All of the bikes here look like 50 year old Schwinn bikes that my grandmother might have rode. There is a huge diversity of restaurants in city, more than I’ve seen anywhere else in Europe so far. I haven’t seen any of the legendary coffee houses or red light district, but then again I haven’t gone looking for it either.

So far I’ve been to the Rijksmuseum and I’ll be going to the van Gogh Museum today. I also might be going out with Karel, probably our best Where On Google Earth player, to visit some of the World Heritage sites outside of Amsterdam. I also plan on doing a lot of walking and photography. Amsterdam seems like one of the most photogenic cities I’ve visited so far.

Waffeling in Beligum

After arriving in Belgium, I immediately started to feel ill. At about 8pm last night my whole body started to ache and i felt very tired. Since then I have been sleeping for close to 16 hours. When I went to sleep I had chills and by the middle of the night I was sweating. I feel much better now but my body is still sore and I haven’t eaten anything all day.

Getting to Brussels wasn’t a big deal. The taxi ride from my hotel to the train station was almost as much as the train ticket. One thing I have discovered is that you should never take a taxi in Western Europe. Never. Even a short trip can cost you $20-30. What I saved in my hotel by not being in the middle of Luxembourg was more than offset by the monopoly cost of food and transportation. Local buses didn’t go to the hotel, so if I wanted to take a bus I’d have to walk 2-3km with all my stuff to catch it.

I got off at the wrong station in Brussels so I was disorientated for a bit. I found the easiest solution was to just find a metro station and take the train to the closest metro stop. It was one of those situations where having an iPhone with GPS would have been a huge help.

I ended up finding a hotel at a reasonable price (€35/night) which is surprisingly less than staying in a private room in a hostel. They have free wifi, but only in the lobby. Every time I see a hotel like this I feel like offering to set them up to put wifi on every floor in exchange for lodging. It really isn’t hard to do.

There seem to be a lot of Belgians who read the site and follow me on twitter. If you’d like to meet up while I’m here, just send me an email. You can find it on my contact page. Hopefully I’ll be feeling better tomorrow.

With that, I’m going back to bed.

First and probably last thoughts on Luxembourg

I’ve left France and arrived in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Despite its size, Luxembourg isn’t even close to the smallest country I’ve visited on my trip. The Vatican, Monaco, San Marnio, Nauru, Macau, Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Tonga, Guam, CNMI, Micronesia, Bahrian, Singapore, Kiribati, and Hong Kong are all smaller. In fact, I was amazed to find out that that Samoa was larger than Luxembourg. One of the oddities of my trip so far is that because I’ve visited so many small countries, if you look at a map of where I’ve been it doesn’t look like I’ve been to many places at all.

I’m not staying in the City of Luxembourg. I’m staying about 10km out of town which sounded like a good idea based on the price, but getting into town is sort of a pain. There is a village about 1km away which has a bus that is cheap, but the schedule isn’t very good. Taxis here are very expensive. That 10km trip (6mi) is about 22 Euros. The area immediately surrounding my hotel is very serene; all farm land with gently rolling hills.

Beyond its small size and the fact that it is the world’s only remaining grand duchy, what makes Luxembourg odd is the way languages are used. Officially Luxembourg has three languages: French, German and Luxembourgish. Most of the signs I’ve seen appear to be in French and most people seem to be speaking in French. Somethings appear to be in German and as I understand, Luxembourgish is an offshoot of German with French influences. I’m not sure I could tell the difference if I were to hear it. Everyone seems to be fluent in both French and German and both French and German TV stations are shown.

Tomorrow I’m off to Belgium (the other motherland) for a few days before moving on to Amsterdam. The ride from Luxembourg to Brussels should be short but expensive (just like everything else here).

Acropolis, Athens

World Heritage Site #67: Acropolis, Athens
Acropolis, Athens: My 67th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Acropolis, Athens:

The Acropolis of Athens is the most striking and complete ancient Greek monumental complex still existing in our times. It is situated on a hill of average height (156m) that rises in the basin of Athens. Its overall dimensions are approximately 170 by 350m. The hill is rocky and steep on all sides except for the western side, and has an extensive, nearly flat top. Strong fortification walls have surrounded the summit of the Acropolis for more than 3,300 years. The first fortification wall was built during the 13th century BC, and surrounded the residence of the local Mycenaean ruler. In the 8th century BC, the Acropolis gradually acquired a religious character with the establishment of the cult of Athena, the city’s patron goddess. The sanctuary reached its peak in the archaic period (mid-6th century to early 5th century BC). In the 5th century BC, the Athenians, empowered from their victory over the Persians, carried out an ambitious building programme under the leadership of the great statesman Perikles, comprising a large number of monuments including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia and the temple of Athena Nike. The monuments were developed by an exceptional group of architects (such as Iktinos, Kallikrates, Mnesikles) and sculptors (such as Pheidias, Alkamenes, Agorakritos), who transformed the rocky hill into a unique complex, which heralded the emergence of classical Greek thought and art. On this hill were born Democracy, Philosophy, Theatre, Freedom of Expression and Speech, which provide to this day the intellectual and spiritual foundation for the contemporary world and its values. The Acropolis’ monuments, having survived for almost twenty-five centuries through wars, explosions, bombardments, fires, earthquakes, sackings, interventions and alterations, have adapted to different uses and the civilizations, myths, and religions that flourished in Greece through time.

Acropolis, AthensI had an eight hour layover in Athens, Greece during my flight from Tel Aviv to Rome. I raced from the Airport with the one objective of visiting the Acropolis. The Acropolis is a small rocky hill in the center of Athens where the Parthenon and other temple buildings are located. There has been extensive restoration there during the 20th century. It is almost impossible to take a photo of any part of the ancient structures without having a modern bit of machinery or support in the photo. Despite the crowds, it turned out that two hours at the Acropolis was more than enough time to visit the site. You are restricted to only walking around the perimeter of the hill because of how old and fragile the ruins are. The Acropolis will also give you the best view of the city of Athens.

Overview

Acropolis, Athens is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Property that was inscribed in 1987 for its cultural value and significance. It is an ancient citadel that was built on an extremely rocky outcrop with an overlooking view of the city of Athens in Greece. The site is home to several remains of ancient buildings that showcase the architectural and historical significance of the area. The Parthenon is the most distinct and popular of these historical structures in Acropolis, Athens.

Even though there are plenty of other acropoleis in Greece, the Acropolis of Athens is the most significant of them all. In fact, it is casually referred to as “The Acropolis”. It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece with more than 22 million tourist visits per year!

History of Acropolis, Athens

Acropolis, Athens

Acropolis is a Greek term that literally means any complex or citadel built on a high point, such as a hill. The Acropolis in Athens is undoubtedly the most famous of them all in Greece. It was built in 5th century BCE, which is a planned construction under the guidance of the Pericles of Athens. It took two years to build a detailed plan for the Acropolis of Athens, even for the Parthenon alone it took them a lot of planning too. The level of detail and planning that went into the construction of the Acropolis was designed in order to create a lasting monument. In fact, the best architects and sculptors were commissioned into the building of the Acropolis.

The Acropolis, Athens measures at 490 feet in height above the city of Athens. Meanwhile, the entire surface area covered by the ancient structures and monuments span about 7 acres or 3 hectares. The site was a natural choice to build such a massive fortification. In fact, there was already an existing structure on the hill but it was destroyed to build the Acropolis in its place.

Ancient Buildings and Structures

Acropolis, Athens

There are several notable buildings, temples and ancient structures within Acropolis, Athens. Below are some of the most notable of these structures to look forward to during your visit:

Parthenon: This is the largest and most popular temple in Acropolis, Athens. It was built for and dedicated to the goddess Athena. The temple was later converted into a church and then a mosque. The Parthenon was built during the height of the Classical period, which is sometime between 447 and 438 BCE.

Temple of Athena Nike: This was the first temple within Acropolis, Athens to be built using the Ionic style. The most unique feature about this temple is the fact that it was built on the Egyptian foot of 300 mm.

Propylea: This is an ancient monumental gateway that welcomes you as you enter into the Acropolis.

Erectheion: This ancient structure was built in dedication to the principal gods of Attica: Poseidon-Erechtheus and Athena.

Theatre of Dionysis: This is a major theater in Athens that was built at the foot of Acropolis in Athens.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus: This is an ancient theater that was built during the height of the Acropolis in Athens. To this day, it is being used for plays and concerts.

Practical Travel Tips

Here are a few things you need to know about visiting Arcopolis, Athens:

  • The Acropolis of Athens is open daily from 8AM to 7PM in the summer. During winter, it is open from 8AM to sunset.
  • If you want to visit Acropolis, Athens for free, you can look up the schedule for free admission days for the public. These are available for limited days a year.
  • There is a canteen near the ticket kiosk. However, you should bring your own snacks and refreshments as these are sold at highly exorbitant prices.
  • You need not book a guide beforehand. There are several guides on-site that will offer their services to you. But if you book a trip to the Acropolis via a tour company, they will most likely provide the guide for you.
  • The site is undergoing major renovation projects. Hence, do not be disappointed if you see a lot of scaffolding.
  • There are special paths and lift built into the face of the hill in order to provide easy access to the disabled visitors. However, the lift is only strictly for the use of disabled persons.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Apr 27, 2017 @ 10:52 pm

Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee

World Heritage Site #66: Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee
Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee: My 66th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription of the Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee:

The Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and Western Galilee are inscribed for their profound spiritual meaning and the testimony they bear to the strong tradition of pilgrimage in the Bahá’i faith. The property includes the two most holy places in the Bahá’í religion associated with the founders, the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh in Acre and the Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, together with their surrounding gardens, associated buildings, and monuments. These two shrines are part of a larger complex of buildings, monuments and sites at seven distinct locations in Haifa and Western Galilee that are visited as part of the Bahá’i pilgrimage.

Unfortunately, I visited the Baha’i gardens on a Baha’i holy day so the gardens were closed to visitors. I was able to take some photos from the top of the hill where the gardens are located (Mount Carmel) but that was it. If I am ever in northern Israel again I will make sure to return to the gardens to explore them more thoroughly.

Overview

Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western GalileeThe Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee was listed as a cultural site by UNESCO in in 2008. This property consists of various structures that reflect the profound spiritual meaning of these structures. In addition, they bear testimony to the pilgrimage tradition of the Bahá’i faith. Within the property are two of the most holy places according to the Bahá’i religion: Shrine of Baha’u’llah (located in Acre) and Shrine of the Bab (located in Haifa).

Aside from these two shrines, the surrounding gardens, buildings and monuments were also included in the property listing of UNESCO. The shrines were part of larger complexes that feature other important historical and cultural monuments in Haifa.

About the Bahá’i Faith

The Bahá’i faith is governed by a few basic principles that it lives by, especially those who are believers of this faith. According to the teachings of Bahá’i faith, there is only one God. Therefore, the theme of unity is an integral part of its teachings, which extends beyond belief in one God but also in unity of humanity or that all men are created equal. According to the faith, the ultimate goal for man is to get to know God through prayer and reflection.

The Bahá’i teachings were first established in the mid-19th century. However, this kind of belief was still resisted during that time. It was only until 1921 when the faith spread throughout the world. When the faith reached the western world, it was already governed by an elected body at that time.

Bahá’i Holy Places

Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee

The Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee represent the faith and pilgrimage tradition in the region. As of 2016, there is an estimated 5 to 6 million Bahá’i worshippers in the world scattered to over 200 countries and/or territories. The designated UNESCO World Heritage Property consists of about 26 monuments and structures that are considered holy by this faith.

As mentioned above, there are two holy places recognized by the Bahá’i religion: Shrine of Baha’u’llah and Shrine of the Bab. The Shrine of Baha’u’llah in Acre is the former home of Baha’u’llah, one of the founders of this faith. This is where he also passed away and where his mausoleum is built on. Eventually, it was converted into a shrine and is now considered a holy site by its believers.

Another holy site for the Bahá’i religion is the Shrine of the Bab in Haifa. Bab is the original founder of the Bahá’if aith and his remains were brought to Persia (now Iran) at the turn of the 20th century. He was interred in a tomb on Mount Carmel with an overlooking view of Haifa. In 1953, expansion projects were done on the tomb and a golden dome was also built at the shrine. From the tomb, you will find terraced gardens that cascade down Mount Carmel.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Israel.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Apr 27, 2017 @ 3:55 am

Old City of Acre

World Heritage Site #65: Old City of Acre
Old City of Acre: My 65th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Old City of Acre:

Acre is a historic walled port-city with continuous settlement from the Phoenician period. The present city is characteristic of a fortified town dating from the Ottoman 18th and 19th centuries, with typical urban components such as the citadel, mosques, khans and baths. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact, both above and below today’s street level, providing an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem.

The World Heritage Committee inscribed The Old City of Acre on the World Heritage List under criteria (ii), (iii), and (v):

Criterion (ii): Acre is an exceptional historic town in that it preserves the substantial remains of its medieval Crusader buildings beneath the existing Moslem fortified town dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Criterion (iii): The remains of the Crusader town of Acre, both above and below the present-day street level, provide an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Criterion (v): Present-day Acre is an important example of an Ottoman walled town, with typical urban components such as the citadel, mosques, khans, and baths well preserved, partly built on top of the underlying Crusader structures.

A former Crusader castle and Ottoman fort, the old city of Acre is still inhabited today. Mostly home to Israeli Arabs, I witnessed kids going to school and an Arab wedding within the walls of the old city. Much of the original Crusader structures are underground, where a network of tunnels was built.

Overview

Old City of AcreThe Old City of Acre is one of the oldest cities that remain inhabited until today. The history of this city dates back to Pharaoh Thutmose III’s rule in ancient Israel, or as far back as the Middle Bronze Age. As long and rich as the history of the city is, the number of monuments and historical structures in the city are one of the most concentrated as with any old cities in Israel can be. If you walk around the city, you will a labyrinth filled with historic alleys, and ruins from the time of the Crusaders, Islamic and Ottoman conquerors.

The city is geographically located in the northern coastal plain region of Israel’s Northern District. The location of the city is therefore considered important as it links waterways and commercial activity. The harbor location is therefore one of the reasons why it has sustained itself throughout centuries and has benefited from the trading route activities in the area.

History: Old City of Acre

The Old City of Acre was once the leading port in the Middle East, not just of Israel. It is on the same level of Alexandria and Constantinople in terms of port activity. According to history, Acre was incorporated into the empire of Alexander the Great until the city was seized by Ptolemy II. During that time, the city was renamed to Ptolemais until the 2nd century BCE. This was the city’s name until the time of the Muslim Conquest wherein the ancient name Acre was restored. This led to some confusion for the Crusaders in 1104.

Old City of Acre

The oldest settlement in the Old City of Acre can be found in the tell or archaeological mounds in modern day Acre. The tell was known as Tel Akko (in Hebrew) and were believed to have dated back to the Early Bronze Age I. The settlement was a farming community that was wiped out after only two centuries – probably because the settlers were forced to move to another location with the threat of rising waters along the coast.

From then on, Acre was inhabited and continues to be although the city underwent a lot of conquest and destruction that it gradually fell into decay. The most recent invasion or conquest was in the mid-13th century when the control of the city was taken from the Crusaders. By the 14th and 15th centuries, it has become a large fishing village and continues to be up to the modern times.

Important Structures

The structures and monuments that have existed and survived in the Old City of Acre are the sole reminder of its long and storied past. Hence, UNESCO and the local government have joined hand in hand in restoring and preserving these important monuments that serve as the sole reminder of the city’s long history. Below are some of the most notable landmarks that you will find in the Old City of Acre:

Hospitaller Refectory – This is an ancient structure made with complex of halls under the citadel and prison in the Old City of Acre. This was used and built for by the Knights Hospitaller, according to archaeologists. It is just one structure that belongs to the Hospitaller’s Citadel and a part of the defense structure in Acre. The structure consists of semi-joined halls, Gothic church, dungeon, a large hall and refectory or dining room.

Old City of Acre

Citadel of Acre – This is an Ottoman fortification that makes up a huge portion of what is left of the citadel today. This structure was built on the foundation of the Knights Hospitaller citadel. It was built primarily as a defensive structure to reinforce the northern wall of the city.

Al-Jazzar Mosque – This mosque was built in the late 18th century but is one of the most recognizable structures in Acre. Within the mosque’s graveyard, you will also find buried the remains of Jazzar Pasha and Sulayman Pasha al-Adil.

There are several other medieval sites found within the Old City of Acre such as the Church of Saint George, houses at Genovese Square, the city walls and Hamam al-Basha, among other things.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Israel.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Apr 26, 2017 @ 8:34 pm

White City of Tel-Aviv

White City of Tel Aviv
White City of Tel-Aviv: My 64th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the White City of Tel-Aviv:

The city of Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 to the immediate north of the walled port city of Jaffa, on the hills along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. During the era of British rule in Palestine (1917-1948), it developed into a thriving urban center, becoming Israel’s foremost economic and metropolitan nucleus.

The serial property consists of three separate zones, the central White City, Lev Hair and Rothschild Avenue, and the Bialik Area, surrounded by a common buffer zone.

The White City of Tel Aviv can be seen as an outstanding example in a large scale of the innovative town-planning ideas of the first part of the 20th century. The architecture is a synthetic representation of some of the most significant trends of Modern Movement in architecture, as it developed in Europe. The White City is also an outstanding example of the implementation of these trends taking into account local cultural traditions and climatic conditions.

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and developed rapidly under the British Mandate in Palestine. The area of the White City forms its central part and is based on the urban master plan by Sir Patrick Geddes (1925-27), one of the foremost theorists in the early modern period. Tel Aviv is his only large-scale urban realization, not a ‘garden city’, but an urban entity of physical, economic, social and human needs based on an environmental approach. He developed such innovative notions as ‘conurbation’ and ‘environment’ and was a pioneer in his insight into the nature of the city as an organism constantly changing in time and space, as a homogeneous urban and rural evolving landscape. His scientific principles in town planning, based on a new vision of a ‘site’ and ‘region’, influenced urban planning in the 20th century internationally. These are issues that are reflected in his master plan of Tel Aviv.

I try to take at least one representative photo of each World Heritage site I visit. I had a difficult time even knowing what I should be taking a photo of for the White City of Tel-Aviv. It is by far the most ambitious World Heritage site I’ve visited. There is nothing which jumps out at you. There is no one single building or even collection of buildings that says “this is what we are talking about”. I searched on-line and the one building people mentioned as an example of modern architecture in Tel Aviv was the Cinema Hotel which wasn’t too far from where I was staying.

The White City of Tel Aviv now holds the position of the lamest World Heritage site I have ever visited.

Overview

Tel Aviv is an Israeli city in the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The city was founded in the early 20th century and quickly became a bustling metropolitan city during the time of British Mandate in the Palestine region. Today, the White City of Tel Aviv – The Modernist Movement is a collection of properties recognized by UNESCO as an important cultural site. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

The White City of Tel Aviv – the Modernist Movement is the term used to describe multiple properties within the city. These properties exhibit the architectural trends and planning that coincide with the modern movement in the city.

About the White City of Tel Aviv

White City of Tel Aviv

The original plan for what is now the White City of Tel Aviv was supposed to be a ‘garden city’ with an urban character. The idea was to establish a free-standing building on its own lot surrounded by a garden. The Central White City is located at the highest point of Israel. Meanwhile, there are several other notable buildings that are part of this Modernist Movement that includes the Habima Theatre, Mann Auditorium, and the Circus of Zina Dizengoff, among others.

The White City of Tel Aviv – the Modernist Movement is divided into three separate zones. The central zone is where the White City is located. In this city, you will find buildings and structures that were inspired by the works of Le Corbusier, Erich Mendelssohn and Bauhaus. The different zones were established at different time periods, which also reflect the movement within the architectural landscape during that time. Both Zone A and Zone B were established in the early 1930s, Zone C was established in the 1920s. Zone C represents the Bialik District and this is where you will find a lot of eclecticism and Art Deco architectural styles.

About the Modernist Movement

The White City of Tel Aviv – the Modernist Movement earned the nod from UNESCO due to its implementation of modernist ideas into the architectural landscape of the city. At the same time, the various tradition and climactic conditions of the land were also taken into account in creating these architectural designs. This approach to architecture provided more relevance to the culture of Israel and the city of Tel Aviv.

Speaking of the climactic conditions, the architects that worked on the design of the buildings tried to adapt to the unique conditions of the desert and the Mediterranean region. The use of white and light colors helped to reflect the heat off of the building. In addition, the use of glass walls was a principle of Bauhaus architecture that was evident in many buildings in Europe, was replaced with small and recessed windows. Rather than letting the light in with the large glass walls, the new design limited the amount of heat and glare that enters into the building.

Since then, this new approach to architecture and construction methods was adapted throughout the city. Concrete was the number one choice of material used for construction. In 1912 forward, reinforced concrete was the most commonly used material in construction. Over time, it helped to define the character of the city of Tel Aviv. But it is more than the architectural design and look of the city that shaped its character, but also the town planning.

Now that the city of Tel Aviv and its modernist architectural features have been listed as a cultural site by UNESCO, there are now efforts being done to preserve them. Many of these so-called architectural classics have been left to ruin and some were even demolished. Some of these buildings were refurbished in order to aid in the restoration process. About 1,000 bauhaus structures were protected as part of a legislation passed in Tel Aviv in 2009.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Israel.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Apr 26, 2017 @ 8:18 am

Paris Part Deux

Suffice it to say that my Paris experience has improved dramatically since the weather improved. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last several days wandering around the streets of Paris, eating in the restaurants, and seeing the sights. Unfortunately, that hasn’t let much time for blog updates, especially considering the hotel I got moved into does not have any sort of internet.

I met up for drinks with Chris Carriero from iKangaroo.com who lives in Paris. He took me to a Basque restaurant and a local expat pub where the England vs Andorra World Cup qualifying match was on TV (yes, Andorra has a national soccer team). Chris is a former tour guide and is working on some audio guides for cities you can listen to on your iPod. He has recently released an audio guide to Rome following the sites from Angles & Demons. If you are going to Rome, or even if you aren’t, you should check it out.

I’ve also been able to visit Versailles, which totally made me understand why the French had a revolution. It was the most ostentatious thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m surprised that the British monarchs never had quite anything so large and gaudy as the French monarchs did. That might explain why they are still around and the French kings are not.

Today I’m going to the Eiffel Tower, which I actually haven’t bothered to do yet, and hopefully Sacre Coeur.

Like Rome, there is no way I can see everything there is to see in Paris in a single week. You have to come here with the assumption that you will return. I’ll be leaving in a day or two for the Motherland: aka Luxembourg. I’m one of the few Americans, along with my brother, who can claim to have ancestors who come from all three of the Benelux nations: Belgium (my father’s, mother’s family), Luxembourg (my mother’s, mother’s family), and the Netherlands (my mother’s, father’s family). I assume that Luxembourg is the rare card in the set.

Not So Gay Paris

Since I’ve arrived in Paris, I haven’t been having the best of times. The weather here has been cold and raining. Temperatures have been hovering around 10-15°C (50 to 60°F). On top of the weather I did something stupid on Sunday and ate a slice of pizza which was stupid as it kicked off the wheat induced stomach pains I’ve managed to avoid for so long. On top of that, my hotel has a very poor record keeping system and last night at 10pm I got a knock on my door and the front desk asked why I was in my room as they had scheduled someone else there.

I’ve been focusing on indoor activities since I’ve arrived in Paris which has included a visit to the Louvre, the Museum d’Orsay, and the tomb of Napoleon. The weather reports are predicting more rain on Thursday and Friday so I’m going to try and visit the Eiffel Tower and other outdoor attractions today.

I’ve also suffered a problem with my camera. The ring which houses the lens cap on one of my lenses has come off. It still works fine by it is a real pain to not have a lens cap and makes putting the camera away awkward. Slowly, everything I have with me seems to be falling apart. All of my pants are falling apart at the seams

*NOTE* Since I wrote the above, the hotel notified me that they only had me booked for 2 nights and I have to find another hotel.

I’m hoping the rain lets up. I’m finishing this post at an internt cafe near Notre Dame. It has been raining on and off all day. I was planning on going to Versallies but now I’m going to wait and see how the weather pans out.

If anyone in Paris would like to meet up for drinks or dinner, please contact me via email or Twitter. I should be here at least through Sunday when I think I’ll be going to Luxembourg.