... and the word of the LORD shall go forth from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3)
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Preview of Spain’s Glorious Architecture and Splendid Museums
It’s not a big surprise that many people choose to visit Spain as their chosen place for vacation; millions of people internationally do so. A lot of dazzling buildings and fine museums can be located in Spain; its interesting customs and the people’s creativity has paved the way to several great structures not just in Spain but also with other countries around the globe. At the moment people who wish to take a holiday in Spain won’t go away dissatisfied due to the fact that Spain has so much to offer, whether you appreciate taking a look and admiring at buildings or art works, or structures that are considered to be works of art.
Going to Spain can be a very significant event in your life, especially if you give attention to some concerns related to your travel that can help you out. Lessons online like Rocket Spanish can teach you how to understand simple Spanish so that you can easily communicate to ask what you want to ask the people. Rocket Spanish is an excellent tool that can aid you in learning to speak Spanish.
You can also plan your trip in indicating which tourist spots are easily accessible from your hotel; if as a sample you are somewhere in Barcelona, you cannot afford to miss out on visiting the Temple Expiatory de la Sagrada Familia. The building’s vast scale and idiosyncratic designs has led many tourists to visit Spain and cause the building to still be under construction which initiated from 1882 and is projected to be finished in 2026. This affluent church of de la Sagrada Familia is quite unique in that Gaudi really poured out his talents over this, dedicating fifteen years of his life in making this church unique and magnificent; his aim is to give rise to recognizing the Temple Expiatory de la Sagrada Familia the greatest sanctuary of Christendom.
The de la Sagrada Familia church’s construction started way back in 1882, but the design is so intricate and difficult that the construction is still underway and it is likely to reach completion by 2026. trivial township of Briones, between Madrid and Bilbao, the five storey building of twenty seven thousand square feet serve as shelter to wine cups and bowls from the iron age, and Greek, Roman and Egyptian drinking container which is related to be centuries before Christ. The Museum of Wine Culture can be located at Briones, a place near Madrid; this house of wine is five floors high and is filled with artifacts like wine cups and bowls from assorted cultures and of different years, with some as old as centuries before Christ.
Another notable museum in Spain is the Museum of Wine Culture established by a family of four generations of wine growers; the Vivancos clan pulled together and collected important artifacts connected to wine culture. Another interesting museum is touted as one of the best in Europe and the world; Spanish locals are so fortunate to have a museum that can be called as undeniably first-rate in terms of the size and variety of art pieces housed in it. The Museo del Prado is [considered]|regarded|known] to be one of the most excellent museums in the world because of the massive quantity of important pieces of art that are housed in it, from paintings of great Spanish painters to atypical prints, sculptures, stamps, stones, and a whole lot more.
Museum-hopping and uncovering beautiful buildings are some of the things you can do in Spain, even if there are many other things that you can do. You can even meet new friends because the native residents are known to be very sociable and carefree.
Vietnam - Temples and Traffic by Niki Franklin
Our introduction to Vietnam wasn't quite what we anticipated. Arriving in Hanoi from Bangkok we jumped into our transfer van expecting to be raced hazardously through the streets to our hotel. Instead, we meandered along at a mere 30 kilometres an hour. Exactly which side of the road we should have been on was not entirely clear- but we were too busy admiring the Vietnamese countryside to worry about oncoming traffic. Our driver probably thought our faces were stuck to the lens of our cameras as we snapped away at the glittering emerald rice fields and marveled at all the tall, skinny houses, decorated in yellows, blues, pinks and reds, that punctuated the paddy fields.
A guided walking tour of the old quarter helped us become acquainted with the quaint streets and cobblestone paths of Hanoi. The streets are named after the main product sold on them, so there is Tin Street, Silk Street and Bamboo Street etc. We had a fascinating day and finished it off with a great meal at a local restaurant.
The next day we headed off to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where the body of Vietnam's former leader is laid out in a glass casket. The atmosphere here was in direct contrast to the rest of the city and was exactly how we imagined a Communist country to be. There was no talking or hands in pockets, definitely no cameras and you had to remain very sombre. If you happened to forget the rules, armed guards berated you before allowing you to continue!
After Hanoi we flew to Danang. Business class costs only a little more than economy so if you have the choice, pay a little extra to get superb seats, and access to free internet, food and drink in the business class lounge. Our destination was Hoi Ann - which is about 35 kilometres south of Danang, an interesting hour's drive away. Hoi Ann is the place to shop because it's so cheap. Every shop has mannequins outside adorned in coats, suits or dresses. You go in, tell the shopkeeper what you want and they measure you, take a small deposit and tell you to come back the following day. With an offer like that - how could you not overspend? Hoi Ann is also known for its ceramics. We purchased far too many bowls and teapot sets. The last thing we bought in Hoi Ann was a new suitcase, jammed to breaking point with our purchases (the suitcase was later weighed in at 35 kilograms).
Saturday is a great day to visit Hoi Ann's Old Quarter - no-one is allowed to drive a motorbike or a car. The lack of traffic meant we felt like we were wandering around in another century. It was a marvelous opportunity to take a really good look at the houses and the streets.
While in Hoi Ann we took a day tour to My Son Holy Land (pronounced Me Son). This imperial city was built during the Cham dynasty (between the fourth and twelfth centuries) and the religious relics, towers and temples connected to each other in complicated red brick designs, are a beautiful sight. On the way back to the airport we stopped at Marble Mountain and walked up the huge marble steps for an amazing panoramic view of the Danang area, then carried on to China Beach. After the hike up Marble Mountain we would have loved to jump into the beautiful blue water but as time was short we had to settle for a paddle.
The Lonely Planet guidebook has some good advice for a visit to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's largest metropolis. It says "eventually you will have to cross the road - survival tip: walk slowly across the road so drivers can see you and go round you".
While this seems very straightforward, I'm sure my life flashed before my eyes numerous times while we negotiated this city.
The following day our newly found friend (and fantastic tour guide) Trung took us out of the city to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels (where the Viet Cong were hiding underground during the Vietnam War). Initially we thought it was going to be a "get there, go in the tunnel, get out" kind of thing. But it was much better and took all morning to see. We wandered around the trails and were shown camoufl aged entry points to the tunnels and booby traps. In the distance we could hear rapid AK47 fire (a tourist can pay $US1 to shoot a round). Some of the party were brave enough to go into the tunnel - I went to look at the
entrance to size it up, so to speak.
I quickly decided there was NO WAY they were getting me into a hole so small you were almost crawling through it! So I waited at the exit, 30 metres down the track until the other tourists reappeared from the dark. They couldn't believe the Viet Cong lived down there it was just so small - and it had been made bigger for tourists! The Cu Chi Tunnels were definitely a highlight of the trip.
Our third day in Ho Chi Minh was a free day and Trung's day off, but he wanted to show us more of the city. He suggested we hire motorbikes and go to a water park, then fishing. Before we could think too hard about what driving a motorbike in a city with 3.5 million motorbikes would be like, we said yes! What an experience. For the fi rst 20 minutes, I thought "give me the Lethal Weapon ride at Gold Coast's Movieworld any day" - and I wasn't even driving! That day we learnt perhaps the only road rule - toot and merge.
Our time in Vietnam was sadly coming to an end; the last night was spent in Chau Doc on the edge of the impressive Mekong Delta and the gateway to Cambodia, which can be reached by a four-hour speedboat ride.
We were completely blown away by Vietnam; it truly is a fantastic travel destination. We always felt safe, it was very inexpensive and the food is delicious - it is not as spicy as Thai cuisine and there are a lot of dishes to tempt those with a more adventurous palate. Fussy eaters like me can also enjoy Vietnamese food, and we found some of the best Italian we've ever eaten and delicious hamburgers too! The local beer is great, and can be purchased for less than NZ$1 a bottle.
Vietnam - a beautiful country with an interesting history, more photo opportunities than you can shake a digital camera at and populated by some of the nicest people you could possibly meet.
in the know
Fly to Hanoi via Singapore - flights depart daily from Auckland and Christchurch. Daily fl ights are also available via Bangkok from Auckland.
If you enjoy travelling independently, our 'Highlights of Vietnam' tour from $1089 per person twin share is a great option. On this seven-night tour you'll travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (tour also operates in reverse) visiting Hue, Marble Mountain, China Beach, Danang, Hoi An and the Cu Chi tunnels along the way.
Feast it up
If you enjoy Asian style food then Vietnam's tasty dishes will surely impress. While closely related to Chinese cuisine, Vietnamese food is quite distinct and each region has its own specialty. In the north, the food is generally quite mild, central Vietnam is where you'll taste some of the country's hottest food, while in the south the food is more infl uenced by the French colonial era.
Time your visit to Hoi An to be there on a Saturday or Sunday night as traffic is banned from the old town, all the street lights are turned off and the locals hang lanterns to create a truly magical atmosphere.
Some useful Vietnamese expressions:
Hello: XIN CHÀO (pronounced Sin-djow)
Thank you: CÁM ÓN (pronounced Cam-urn)
Delicious: NGON (non)
Vietnamese Lemongrass Beef - Thit Bo Nuong
Tender slices of beef, marinated in lemongrass & sesame, then grilled or BBQed.
Jo Seagar, ambassador for Hospice New Zealand, will share one of her favourite recipes from around the world.
For the marinade -
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed & the white parts finely chopped & crushed or you can use 2 teaspoons of lemongrass paste from a jar.
2 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed (1 teaspoon)
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely sliced
2 tablespoons Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
grated rind & juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
500g lean beef, sliced from a rump steak
2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds. These can be dry toasted in a pan or the microwave.
cellophane noodles to serve
Place the marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor. Run the machine, adding a little water as necessary to make a runny paste. Cut the meat into thin slices, cutting against the grain. This is easy to do if the meat is really chilled, almost frozen. Place meat in a bowl and cover with the marinade paste, making sure the meat is well coated. Marinate for at least an hour but it can be longer - even overnight.
Soak bamboo or fi ne wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes before using. Thread the meat on the skewers in and out like sewing. Lightly spray the grill or BBQ plate with oil. It is best not to cook over the direct BBQ fl ame as the skewers can burn. Cook for about 1 minute over high heat.
About the Author
Niki works for House of Travel's Corporate Team. She has a passion for travel and her holiday time always involves seeing somewhere new.
Frequently Asked Questions...
What is the name/story of a black religious stone that...?
I remember hearing about a black stone, possibly a religious relic, that they say used to be purely white. When you touch it, supposedly the stone absorbs your sins and thus has turned steadily black over the centuries.
Does this sound familiar to anyone? What is it from?
Could be the Kaaba in Mecca