Wednesday, December 8, 2010

World's Most Romantic Islands

Whether you’re after all-out luxury or sand-between-the-toes casual, there’s a romantic island for you. And while many of these dream destinations have “remote” and “secluded” as their principle selling points, others are surprisingly close to home. (One you can practically see from the Hollywood sign.

No matter whether you’re a new couple just getting to know each other or you’re celebrating your golden anniversary, these romantic islands will help you holiday happily ever after.

Rangali Island, The Maldives

Of the 1,192 islets that make up this island nation in the Indian Ocean, roughly 1,000 are uninhabited. Suffice to say, your chances of finding romantic seclusion are pretty high. Like most of the resorts here, the Conrad Maldives Hotel occupies its own private atoll, called Rangali Island. The romance factor kicks in before you even arrive, thanks to a seaplane ride over the shallow, impossibly clear lagoon. Soon enough, you’re dining in the underwater restaurant and kicking back in the over-water spa.

Molokai, Hawaii

A conspicuous absence of international hotel chains is just one reason this idyll—situated east of Oahu in the Hawaiian archipelago—draws romantics from all over. Hike to remote waterfalls, kayak secluded rocky coastlines, and ride donkeys into the lush valleys, or just laze beachside. (Head for the golden sands of secluded three-mile-long Papohaku Beach, at the far-west end of the island.) With just one traffic light on the island, the only gridlock you’ll encounter is caused by colonies of curious sea turtles frolicking in the outrageously clear waters.

Capri, Italy

Sure, noon in Capri Town can be a tourist swarm, but the bulk of visitors depart on the last ferry back to Naples or Sorrento—leaving the island blissfully free for lovers. And this dramatically craggy outcrop, a Mediterranean Garden of Eden splashed with floral color and perfumed by lemon trees and herb gardens, has remained a magnet for the A-list since antiquity, when Emperor Tiberius set up camp here.

St. Lucia, Caribbean

If the Caribbean Sea were a catwalk, St. Lucia would be its most bankable supermodel. This 27-mile-long island is lush, mountainous, and blessed with gorgeous beaches and verdant cocoa plantations. The jade-green twin peaks of the Pitons, jungle-swathed volcanic plugs that rise from a silvery ocean on the southwest coast, are the Caribbean’s most striking backdrop.

Bocas del Toro, Panama

Located in the Caribbean Sea near the border with Costa Rica, this group of islands is all about low-key relaxation with a Latin American flavor, pitch-perfect for sybarites who don’t want to pack a designer bikini. The main island of Colon has a buzzy downtown full of waterfront bars and laid-back nightclubs, while the smaller islands offer deserted beaches, rainforests, mangroves, and coral reefs.

Catalina Island, California

Just 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, Santa Catalina has a certain Mediterranean flavor. Yachts jostle in a glinting harbor, sorbet-colored homes cascade down the hillside, and the secluded coves are ready-made for romance—including the aptly named Lover’s Cove, east of Avalon.

Santorini, Greece

Sweeping views over a picture-perfect caldera—the result of a volcanic eruption around 1600 B.C.—is just one factor in Santorini’s romantic charm. Gorgeous, striated cliffs and black-sand beaches don’t hurt, either. Head to the famously picturesque village of Oia (book a room at the 18-suite Mystique) with its classic whitewashed, cliff-edge architecture, blue-domed churches, and stone houses overhung with bougainvillea canopies.

Barbuda, Caribbean

If your idea of Eden is unpaved roads, truly deserted beaches, and nary a nightclub, this 68-square-mile island in the Eastern Caribbean is for you. Barbuda features just a handful of high-end hotels, including Coco Point Lodge, on its own 164-acre peninsula fronting glorious pink-sand beaches. Take a boat trip to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary on a lagoon in the island’s northwest and ogle the 5,000 namesake birds that call it home.

Laucala Island, Fiji

The South Pacific fantasy of swaying palm trees and extravagantly lush scenery reaches its fullest expression here. There are just 25 cottages on this privately owned resort, which occupies the entire island, each with a private pool, dining pavilion, and outdoor hot tub and shower. While the resort attracts deep-pocketed travelers, don’t expect glitzy lobbies. The emphasis is on rustic, pared-back luxury; every detail seems crafted to appeal to couples, including the lagoon pool with its man-made “islands” big enough for two.

 Pamalican Island, The Philippines

You’ll find only one resort here—Amanpulo, set on its own private island southwest of Manila with just 40 secluded pitched-roof traditional villas, strung along a pristine beach with sand so white it’s blinding. Beachcombers can navigate the entire island on foot in less than two hours, keeping their eyes out for baby sharks, kingfishers, and sea turtles, which lay their eggs here between March and October.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Olympic Tower 2016- Rio de Janeiro

The Solar City Tower is a concept envisaged by Zurich based architecture and design studio RAFAA. The design was created for a competition in 2009. The images show an artist’s
impression of what the proposed tower might look like if constructed. However, the project is just a proposal and the tower may never actually be built.

This vertical structure will be placed in Cotonduba Island. It will be both a observation Tower, and a welcome sign for the visitors arriving by air and by sea at Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic Games 2016 will take place.

The project is from Zurique, and utilizes solar energy during the day with its solo power panels, to pump the sea water as seen in the model. The movement of the water will be also utilized to turn the turbines and produce the power to work the system at night time. 

In the Solo City Tower is the Cafe anfiteatre, auditórium, shops etc. lifts will take the visitors to the top, where the view will be fantastic, and bungee jumping will have a special platform. 

Detailed Analysis:
According to this message, attached images depict an innovative solar-powered tower that will be built at Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. The message claims that the structure will be placed on an island at the entrance to Rio as a welcome to visitors and will generate energy via solar panels during the day and via water turbines at night.

However, at the time of writing, the Solar City Tower is just a proposal and it is unclear if the project will actually go ahead. The design for the tower was created by Zurich based architecture and design studio RAFAA. In response to my enquiry about the project, Rafael Schmidt, the director at RAFAA, replied with the following information:

    Dear Brett Christensen,

    Please let me first clarify the state of the project. The Solar City Tower was a proposal for a competition in 2009. As it had drawn great media attention in the last months, we decided to contact the President of Rio 2016 again. We don't have any confirmation from the local authorities so far and don't know if this project will ever happen! Therefore the design is in a very early stage and we are facing lots of technical problems. Even though we have done some research in this field, a solid cost estimation or an energy consumption of this building is not possible at the moment.

    Best Regards
    Rafael Schmidt

RAFFAA has more details about the proposal on its website, including the following description of the project's concept:

    The aim of this project is to ask how the classic concept of a landmark can be reconsidered. It is less about an expressive, iconic architectural form; rather, it is a return to content and actual, real challenges for the imminent post-oil-era. This project represents a message of a society facing the future; thus, it is the representation of an inner attitude. Our project, standing in the tradition of “a building/city as a machine”, shall provide energy both to the city of Rio de Janeiro and its citizens while using natural resources. We hope to attain an international Olympic message with a political appeal. After hosting the United Nation’s Earth Summit in 1992, Rio de Janeiro will once again be the starting point for a global green movement and for a sustainable development of urban structures. It will perhaps even become a symbol for the first zero carbon footprint Olympic Games.

The tower is certainly an interesting and innovative proposal. However, quite a few of the many blog posts that discuss this project imply that the Solar Tower will definitely be built. As noted above, this is not the case. To reiterate, the Solar Tower is currently just a proposal and, in fact, the project may never go ahead.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Some Nice Pictures from Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary,Thekkady

Thekkady is Situated in Kerala, close to the Kerala - Tamil Nadu border town - Kumily, it is located about 257 km (160 miles) from Trivandrum, 114 km from Madurai Airport, 185 km from Cochin International Airport and 114 km from Kottayam railway station. The sanctuary is famous for its dense evergreen, semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savanna grass lands. It is home to herds of elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed Macaques and Nilgiri Langurs.

Serenity, placidity, beatitude, repose… I’d like to add one more word to the list of synonyms for tranquility – that’s Thekkady. For a regular tourist, Thekkady is all about a two-hour boating in the calm lake amid dense, evergreen, deciduous forests and savannah grass lands, but it is home to thousands of varieties of plant life and wildlife, which cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.

If you have travelled to other tourist destinations in Kerala like Munnar, you may wonder what’s so exceptional about this boating. To find an answer for yourself, you have to experience it. I have seen people who prefer Thekkady to Munnar, Kumarakom or any other hot destination; why? Just for the tranquility.

I’ve been planning to revisit Thekkady for quite a while but was heartbroken when I made it there. The weather was completely unfavourable for my lens. But I was thanking my lucky stars that I decided to go boating despite the bad weather, one of the rarest sights, a full rainbow, was awaiting me.

Situated at about 700-1900m above sea level and spread over approximately 12.07 sq.kms, the splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaiperiyar Dam across the Periyar River locates the oldest wildlife sanctuary in India established in 1895 and has been given the status of an Tiger Reserve in 1978.

Below this thick green canopy roam herds of elephants, sambar deer, tigers, oaters, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs, but you have to be really lucky to see a tiger while boating. Yet you have the opportunity for trekking, mountain walk, and jungle patrol, which will definitely get you the glimpse of a tiger.

There’s only one place like Thekkady, and that’s Thekkady. The magnificence of this place is just beyond words and thus paying a visit becomes a must.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Most Unusual Buildings Around the World

1. The public library in Kansas City, USA

All the buildings reflect the desire of their creators. The builders have stepped away from the ordinary standard of architecture, we can say that these prominent structures are among the unique treasures of the world, which transmit the bizarre sense of uniqueness, which shows contemporary exotic forms of external and internal design and permissible visionary architect.

2. Atomium in Brussels, Belgium

3. Milwaukee Art Museum (Museum of Art, Milwaukee). Milwaukee, USA

4. Church of hallgrimur (Lutheran Church) in Reykjavik, Iceland

5. Longaberger Basket Building. Newark, USA

6. Wonder works. Pigeon Forge, United States

7. Another upside-down house (Upside down house) in Shimbarke, Poland

8. Crooked house. Sopot, Poland

9. Tenerife Auditorium. Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

10. Bull ring. Birmingham, United Kingdom

11. La Tete au Carre in Nice, France. Inside is a library

12. Eden project. Britain

13. Snail House in Sofia

14. Edificio mirador in Madrid

15. Nautilus house. Mexico

16. Calakmul building - a building in a giant washing machine. Mexico

17. The residential complex Habitat-67. Montreal, Canada

18. Montreal biosphere. Montreal, Canada

19. Olympic Stadium in Montreal

20. Wooden skyscraper in Arkhangelsk. Demolished in 2009

21. Stone House (Stone house) in Guimaraes, Portugal

22. Mammy's Cupboard. Natchez, USA

23. National Library, Minsk

24. Cubic houses. Rotterdam, Netherlands

25. Casapueblo. Maldonado, Uruguay

26. Library of Alexandrina. Alexandria, Egypt

27. Cathedral of Brasilia (Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida) - Catholic cathedral in the capital of Brazil - Brasilia. Serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Brasilia


29. Denver Art Museum - Denver Art Museum

30. Graz Art Museum - Museum of Arts in Graz, Austria

31. Le Palais Ideal (Ideal Palace) in Hauterives, France. Built usual French postman Ferdinand Cheval enthusiast for 33 years (1879-1912).

32. Casa Battlo Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona

33. The National Stadium in Beijing

34. National Theater in the same

35. Museum Ripley's Believe It or Not! near Niagara Falls in Canada

36. Palais bulles in Cannes

37. Experience music project. Seattle, USA

38. Back view

39. Skyscraper Gherkin building in London or cucumber

40. Banpo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea

41. Dynamic Tower in Dubai. Tower, whose every floor is moving on its own axis, independently of the others. The first building that can change its shape. Still under construction.

42. This huge tower is supposed to be a construction project in Kuwait. Some say it is a hoax, others say it is real and that the tower should be completed by 2010. 

43. And the final one is from India:-  Lotus Temple. New Delhi, India