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Walter Elias ”Walt” Disney was born December 5, 1901. An extremely talented director, animator, producer, voice actor and entertainer, Walt is most famous for his creation of Mickey Mouse, and for being the founder (and namesake) of the Walt Disney Company.
To celebrate the life of this icon, here is a picture of a statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, at the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, USA (October 2012).
Happy Halloween, 31st October 2013!
To celebrate this All Hallows Eve, let’s take a look at some beautiful photos of one of the most beautiful cemeteries I’ve seen: The Waverley Cemetery on the sea-view Cliff Walk off of Bronte Beach, in Sydney, Australia.
With gorgeous views of the sea, The Waverley Cemetery has been named the most-scenic resting place in the world… Not a bad place to spend the rest of eternity. You know, like, six feet under.
Yes yes, this place is too beautiful to be my main Halloween post… But think about all the dead people that inhabit this resting place. I had no issue visiting the cemetery during my Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk in January 2012, but I’m not so sure I’d be too comfortable visiting at night!
Today is the international day appreciating teachers. Let’s face it, whether or not we liked school (what, some of us genuinely did!), we all had a number of teachers who made an impact in our lives. Here is to them!
This is King Ram Khamhaeng the Great, the ruler of the Kingdom of Sukhothai (now Thailand) in the 1200s, who is credited with inventing the Thai alphabet. A knowledgeable scholar, his name is a popular household name in every Thai home.
Today, King Ram Khamhaeng continues to be a part of daily Thai life, having achieved a faux god-like status: during exam times, school children (and their mothers) will pray for hours to him, asking for the children to perform well in school, especially when it comes to grammar classes!
The 21st of September is the International Day of Peace.
What better place to showcase the need for peace than the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a beautiful park in downtown Hiroshima, Japan. Hiroshima has raised from the ashes of destruction to be the world’s number one advocate for world peace.
Today, the Peace Memorial Park brings beauty and life to a place in which less than 70 years ago, the first Atomic Bomb fell over the city, destroying over half the buildings in the city, killing over 80,000 people instantly, and causing the death of another estimated 70,000 – 100,000 people in the following five years, due to injuries and cancers caused by radiation.
This Popular Park is Beautiful, but Also Carries a Strong Message. One of Peace.
On site at the Peace Memorial Park are the UNESCO heritage listed A-Bomb Dome, as a perpetual reminder of the destruction; the cenotaph with all the names of the known victims; the tear-inducing Children’s Peace Monument; and the Peace Memorial Museum. Most importantly, the Park is also home to the Flame of Peace, a burning flame which Hiroshima city has vowed not to put out until every atomic weapon in the world has been destroyed.
I visited Hiroshima, Japan in April 2010 and I loved it. The Peace Memorial Park is beautiful and touching, and the Museum is so overwhelming I actually (literally) had to walk out of it mid way through, about to burst into tears!
Let’s learn from our mistakes, and try every day to celebrate peace.
I have to confess I knew very little about Belgium before my visit: if asked about it, I’d pretty much only be able to mention chocolate, beer, waffles… and a fountain of a little boy peeing. After spending five days in Belgium with a local, I am blown away by the beauty and the history of this small European country.
Timothy showed me around his hometown, Antwerp, over a few days. Together, we also visited Bruges, a Western medieval town which, as touristy as it may be, is a must visit spot in the country; and Brussels, Belgium’s majestic capital. From incredibly detailed building façades, statues, monuments, parks and open public squares, Belgium’s cities are really a sight to see.
And let’s not forget about the food, which extends much further than chocolate, beer and waffles; Belgian cuisine is something to write home about! Timothy was kind enough to cook me a few homemade traditional dishes: Gentze Waterzooi with chicken and meatballs, tomaat garnaal (grey shrimp and mayo salad stuffed into tomatoes), Meatloaf with Cherries, and a Dame Blanche ice-cream dessert. He also took me to restaurants where I could try more Belgian cuisine: Lapin aux Pruneaux (rabbit with prunes), and Mussels & Frites, with tons of mayonnaise.
Tim introduced me to multiple Belgian treats as well (yes, including different waffle styles and many chocolates). Of course there were also afternoons and evenings spent tasting many of Belgium’s different world-famous beers, at various spots around the three cities we visited.
With a local by my side, I was able to learn about the history, funny / interesting facts about the places we visited, and also got the opportunity to go to out-of-the-way neighbourhoods and visit local restaurant and bars. There is nothing like seeing a country through the eyes of a local, and I could not be any more grateful to Timothy for showing me around his country and helping make my stay here that much more memorable!
I will eventually write about each city visited in Belgium, and due to my love of food, I will dedicate an entire post to Belgian cuisine when I’m no longer on the road… stay posted!
Last week my friend Samantha and I went on our first helicopter tour. The ride took us around Burrard Inlet, all the way along the coast of the North shore, before turning around and going all the way to UBC, and Jericho Beach., before flying over False Creek, circling the downtown core.
The experience was unbelievable, and the views of the city and the mountains on a clear summer day were outstanding! Here are some photos I took during the helicopter ride!
Helijet tours start at CDN$99 per person for the 10-minute tour, based on how many people are in your group. Standard for a couple is CDN$300 for both.
The Pacific National Exhibition fair is back in Vancouver at its usual home, in the grounds of Playland in East Vancouver.
The fair experienced some cut backs this year (the one I was most sad about wad the Pyrotechnic Spectacular nightly show, which was worth the entry price alone!). With these cutbacks, the fair is able to provide goers a 20% discount over last year’s prices, so you can now visit the fair for only CDN$16 (CDN$14 if you pre-buy online!).
The usual attractions are still intact, including the popular Superdogs, the hilarious pig races, as well as the breath-taking Peking Acrobats. The summer night concerts have a number of popular singers gracing the stage at night, and tribute bands also play at night.
You can also walk around the agricultural stages and take a look at the horses, cows, pigs and sheep (yes, that sort of stuff is interesting to city folk like myself!).
New this year is the Sportacular musical / sports show, which was very cool (especially the motorcycle tricks!), and the short but sweet 80′s Forever dance show. These shows combined don’t add up to the canceled Pyrotechnic Spectacular, but they are a great time.
The rotating exhibit this year is about Mongolia’s historic leader Genghis Khan; admission to the exhibit is CDN$3 per person. I found the exhibit to be quite interesting, showcasing a collection of artifacts and weapons that are centuries old.
If you want to go on the rides be prepared to spend extra as the rides are not included in this ticket (you can either pay for a few rides or get an all-in pass). Also, be prepared to spend quite a bit on food, as the usual suspects (wiggle chips, mini donuts, sno-cones, kettle corn, and cotton candy) can get a little pricey. Tip: Make sure to bring a water bottle to refill along the day, as even water costs CDN$4 at the park!
Check out the official website of the PNE to see what shows are playing when, so you can plan your trip to the PNE. Also, note that the park will be closed using both Mondays of the run of the PNE, to aid in the cost cutting.
The Sea to Sky Highway, which connects Vancouver to the resort town of Whistler, is one of the most scenic highways I’ve ever traveled.
The ride takes just over one hour since it was renovated for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, but there are plenty of view points that will allow drivers to stop and really take in all the scenery in.
A couple of the stops look out into the ocean and the gulf Islands, but my favourite stops include Shannon Falls, near the town of Squamish, and Brandywine Falls, which my friend Ryan and I only just discovered on our latest drive up!
Vancouver’s iconic urban Stanley Park turns 125 years. An oasis of calm bordering the downtown of the city, Stanley Park is bigger in area than New York City’s famous Central Park, and is one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions, with over eight million visitors per year!
Stanley Park is surrounded by a large portion of Vancouver’s famous Seawall. The park is also home to other popular attractions in Vancouver, including the Vancouver Aquarium; the summer outdoor theatre series Theatre Under the Stars; horse-drawn carriage tours, the Stanley Park Train (which hosts the Christmas Bright Nights and the Halloween Ghost Train), and the summer outdoor movie series Fresh Air Cinema.
The park also boasts three beaches and a public swimming pool, as well as plenty of gardens, open spaces, picnic spots, and trails.
Last weekend, Vancouver dressed up in rainbows to celebrate LGBT Pride once again. Vancouver’s Pride celebrated their 35th anniversary in the city, and this was by far the most incredible Pride I’ve ever been to. From the events leading up to the parade (my favourite being Picnic in the Park, the weekend prior), to the amazing 2013 parade, Vancouver Pride did not disappoint.
Here are some photos of the Pride parade itself, the Pride Marketplace and beer garden party at the end of the parade, as well as random displays of pride around Vancouver’s West End.
The 5th of August 2013 is British Columbia Day, a celebration of the province I live in. It really is simply an excuse to have a holiday (there are no special celebrations for the day). However, how about I share some photographs I’ve taken of the beautiful scenery from around my province?!
We’ve had beautiful sunsets all week long in Vancouver. One of my favourite sunset-watching spots is at English Bay, in downtown’s West End.
Yesterday I couldn’t resist the beauty of it, and ended up jumping in the water with my friend Steve. First time I swim in English Bay in YEARS… and it was amazing!
I saw this Mayan Calendar, sculpted out of sand, during my recent visit to Playa del Carmen, in April 2013.
This sculpture was part of a new initiative by the city to offer more displays of public art. The artist who sculpted the calendar was in the process of creating another sculpture (which seemed to be multiple mayan people in a boat), but I had to leave Playa del Carmen before I got to see the finished product!