Loja is a less traveled city in Ecuador but I discovered the interesting history and cultural vibes when I came here. It was said to be a thriving base for the Spanish conquerors as they made this region their base when they explored the jungle over the mountains. It is also close to the protected area of Ecuador, Parque NacionalPodocarpus.
In the city I enjoyed walking around, taking in the sights and sounds that echo history and tradition of the place. The cuisine is distinct here and the city also has a musical tradition. The slopes that surround the city have coffee plantations and there are several vantage viewpoints from these sloping hills that should not be missed.
Places to See
I had a local guide to take me around to the important landmarks of the city. My first stop was at Puerta de la Ciudad; it is by the City Gate and is designed as a castle, complete with an arched gateway. I came across Museo de la Musica as well, a fun museum that has artifacts of famous musicians who were from Loja with music scores and old instruments. Another museum to visit is Museo de la Cultura Lojana, housed in a republican era structure with interesting ethnography, archaeology, and local art specimens. If you have come here with family stop by Parque Recreacional Jipiro; this kid-friendly place has a pond for paddle boating, animal enclosures, a skate park, and a Chinese pagoda. Plaza de la Independencia is another place of colonial-era architecture, complete with a tiled fountain and wooden balconies.
Eateries to Discover
I explored several restaurants during my stay here. At Riscomar you get seafood items as well as ceviche Ecuadorian style. At El Tamal Lojano there are set lunches with items like tamales Lojanos, Quimbolitos, Humitas which are classics of this region.
This city once has been home to the various kings and queens that have ruled over the country in the golden age. Right in the middle ages, the city held every major importance as most of the political and ruling decisions were made. The city is based on the trade routes of the country and holds a very firm ground. You will be able to find many old statues and museums and signs here that will rush you to the middle ages. The center of the city is most popular and filled with refurbished architectures
This is the most famous attraction in the city and has been there for over 300 years. This is one of the two self-built castles this city hosts. The architecture gives away the feel of ancient and middle ages. Jeno Bory was responsible for this majestically beautiful castle. Being a professor, he took the help of his students to build this castle. The castle has dark shades rugged architectures inside and they look sublime once in the night the lights are turned on. The entry to the castle is not charged, but if you’re trying to take a night tour it is best to take a heads up with the bookers because the night slots get filled very soon. Bary castle is located in the middle of the city and has been the city’s most popular attraction for several years now. It is a must visit.
Soviet Ghost Town
Anything that gets associated with the ghost or horror stories around us tends to become really famous, so goes for this site. The ghost town was once a military base and was used as an undercover land for many military assignments. It didn’t take much time for the town to start getting abandoned, and as the history and locals tell, a bombing attack killed several militants even before they could react and people believe that their ghosts roam around here. What once looked like a strong showcase for the city now looks like a post-apocalyptic abandoned site.
This is one of the freshest cities I have ever visited. The city is named this way because of its warm and welcoming weather and the atmosphere. The people here are very kind and welcoming. You will find numerous green parks of forests here and street alongside small lit cafes to feel homely and warmth in. The city is a hub for street food kiosks and pubs and bars. It keeps on growing economically and houses the largest amount of students in the city. It is a continuously culturally and economically growing city. Here are some places that are a must visit from my side.
This is the oldest church in the city. The making of this church took time from 1913 to 1930. The progress in between was interrupted by the world war. The previous church, which got destructed by the waters was replaced by the votive church, even then the main tower of the previous church can be seen behind the votive church intact. The church is the largest building around Hungary standing at the fourth position. The towers of the church stand at 91 meters and in one sitting can house over 9000 individuals. You can go to church anytime you like it is always open and everyone is warmly welcomed.
City hall is like improve for the city. This is the hall by which the Szeged is known. This city hall is the third of its kind that is built on the same location again. There are several different statures that you can find in city hall. It also hosts the historical museum that depicts its fighters and their weapons and the way they used to fight. Tours that are held in the hall tells you the story and explains the historical importance of their city.
Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is an urban city that offers everything a tourist is looking for. I enjoyed the leisurely tour to the various historical and cultural attractions as well as the hospitality of the people. You can enjoy Phnom Penh even with a small budget.
Things to See
This is the residence of Cambodia’s royal family. Only a part of the palace called Silver Pagoda is open to the visitors and this itself will give you a glimpse of the Khmer architecture. The floor of this pagoda is covered with 5,329 silver tiles. The life-size statue of Emerald Buddha in the palace dates back to the 17th century.
This monument tower created to celebrate the country’s liberation from French colonization is similar to the Angkor Wat temple in its structure. The lotus stupa is created to honor the freedom fighters. Many national festivals are held here and during this time it will be decorated with floors. The night is the ideal time to visit this attraction as the monument gets illuminated by floodlights.
This is a must see place if you are interested in the history of the country like me. This is a red sandstone construction which exhibits different artifacts which represent Cambodian history. You will be mesmerized by the art collection from the famous ethnic group Khmer.
This is one of the most popular spots among tourists with shops, street vendors and restaurants. Water festival during Buddhist New Year is the greatest attraction. Ferry boats are available from here to Siem Reap.
Tuol Sleng (S-21 Prison)
The genocide museum at Tuol Sleng or the S-21 prison is the place where people were tortured and killed during the regime of Khmer Rouge. You can read the tragic history of more than 17,000 Cambodians from the portraits of the prisoner displayed here.
A visit to Antalya made me realizes that there are innumerable things that you can do and see in here. It isn’t called the Turquoise Coast just like that. Starting from magical waterfalls to beaches, you will find it all. After my trip, I came back with lifelong memories. When you are in Antalya, there are few things that are worth exploring.
Towering on the Antalya’s western side is the Tunek Tepe. This large hill offers a breath-taking view over the coastline which snakes its way far away. The mountain views remind me of where my friend Brad lives, as he is a chiropractor in Anchorage. The mountains are right behind his chiropractic office and are truly breathtaking, looking much like here at Antalya. I decided to take the cable car to get up to the hillside. I found a nightclub and a restaurant at the top. In case you are looking to dance the night away, this is just the perfect place. However, even if clubbing is not your things, this place is worth a visit due to the panoramic view the hill offers.
Want to spend a relaxing time? This is just the perfect place. Lie down to sunbath as the Mediterranean Sea laps at the shore. It is one of the peaceful places that have great tourist facilities. Just grab a drink at a restaurant nearby. Go a little further and you are going to find several accommodation options. I made it a point to stay near the beach to unwind.
12 km from Antalya, you will find the Kursunlu Nature Park. This is where you will find the waterfall. This waterfall originating from Aksu River flows across the countryside. The greenery and the blue water is a sight to behold. It is just the perfect scene. It is a serene and secluded spot. I found plenty of wildlife I here which made me feels that I am in a fairy-tale. It is just the perfect spot to spend some time amongst nature.
Nestled in northern Italy is the pretty little town of Verona. It might not be as popular as Milan or Venice, but it is a great place to spend time with your family. The spectacular architecture and the temperate weather will make it a pleasant stay. Tourists are attracted to this town because of the rich history and attractive architecture. If you are planning to visit Verona, check out the places you can visit.
Arena Di Verona
Just like the Colosseum in Rome, Verona has the Arena di, Verona. It has been preserved well and is truly a wonder. However, many people are not aware of this landmark. It is at the heart of the town center. I came to learn that different games and shows used to be organized here. It is said that it can hold about 30,000 spectators. Walking inside the Arena, I was surprised by the architecture.
This castle sits on River Adige. It has been standing since 1354. Scaliger dynasty was behind the construction of this structure and used to serve as the city’s main mode of defense. I found a museum inside the castle. There are a plethora of artifacts that are on display. I went over to the bridge which is linked to the main complex and I have to say that the view from here is just spectacular.
Piazza Delle Erbe
There are many charming squares in the town. However, the most lively and popular one is the Piazza Delle Erbe. It located at the center of the town’s historic center. A visit to this place will tell you that this is the primary point of activity. I was amazed by the building facades, architecture, and the character of this area.
Guilin is a prefectural city located in the Guangxi region of China. Situated on the banks of the famed Li River, the city is known for its forest of “sweet osmanthus” trees and karst topography. There are many hills in the city that attract tourists from all over Asia. This includes the Fubo Hill and the famous Elephant Trunk Hill. Our journey to Guilin was an adventure-packed experience and here I would like to mention some of the best sites in the city.
Jingjiang Princes’ Palace
Jingjiang Princes’ Palace is a historical site which is also known as the Princes’ City. It is one of the finest tourist attractions in Guilin. The 14th-century palace is now converted into a university that welcomes thousands of visitors every year. The palace and its premises occupy around 19.7 hectares. The famous Solitary Beauty Peak that offers a stunning view of the entire city is the major attraction of the place. Other notable attractions include the Peace Grotto, Confucius Temple, and Study Cave that preserves 800 years old cliff engravings.
Elephant Trunk Hill
Elephant Trunk Hill is the most-visited place in Guilin. The base of the hill has a round cave that makes the hill look like a giant elephant drinking water with its trunk. The strange cave is also known as the Water Moon Cave. The reflection of the moon cast through the cave’s opening is quite mesmerizing and creates an illusion of the moon floating over the waters.
Reed Flute Cave
The limestone cave is a natural rock formation which is believed to be 180 million years old. The cave was discovered around 1200 years back and has over 70 inscriptions that belong to the 8th-century Tang Dynasty. The reed plants that cover the cave’s surface were used for making flutes and thus the cave was named as Reed Flute Cave. Here you can also see lots of stalagmites and stalactites that are spectacularly illuminated by artificial lights.
On my last tour to China, I planned to visit the offbeat place, Foshan. The city is steeped with Chinese tradition and culture. No doubt, it offers a unique experience to all travelers. My search for something new brought me to this place. If you are visiting the place anytime soon, check out the fun things you can do during your tour.
Enter the Dragon
This city is the most important place when it comes to Kung Fu. It is not unknown that Foshan is the ancestral home of Bruce Lee. There is a Bruce Lee Paradise Theme Park which 3000 acres big. It has been made for celebrating the kung-fu legend. The park has the largest Lee statue in the world along with a museum commemorating the star.
Visit Liang’s Garden
It is one of the most famous gardens that you will come across in Foshan. It is surrounded by all traditional buildings. The garden had been developed by Qing Dynasty in the year 1796 which lasted for forty years. There are certain specialties of this garden, one being the fact that this building still stands tall for hundred years. The garden is an outstanding display of how China has managed to preserve the economic, cultural, and technological developments of the country.
Make a Temple Run
This is the primary tourist attraction of the city. Foshan Ancestral Temple will give you the opportunity to get an idea about Foshan folk culture. Look up and check out the ceiling of the temple and you will find a cultural and creative force of China. The landmark had been constructed in the 2ns half of the eleventh century. It is known to be one of the oldest temples that you will find in Foshan.
Don’t forget to visit Shunde’s Flower World. It will spellbind you in more than one way. The place is a home to six hundred flower manufacturers. It also showcases various aspects of horticulture.
Dongguan is a prefectural city located in the Guangdong Province of China. Situated on the banks of the Pearl River, the city has some beautiful gardens, parks, and resorts. The place is also known for its historic sites and museums. Its vibrant and colorful urban streets and shopping centers are quite famous among foreign tourists. Our weeklong stay in Dongguan was a truly memorable experience. Mentioned below are the highlights of the outings during our stay in the city.
Qifeng Park is a beautiful destination in the city that serves as a perfect place to relax while enjoying the scenic beauty of its natural surroundings. The place has beautiful ponds with wooden bridges and several walking trails flanked with lush green foliage and large trees. There are beautiful patios and benches all over the place. We spent several hours touring the entire area and the experience was quite rejuvenating.
National Forest Park of Mount Guanyin
If you are in Dongguan you should defiantly visit the National Forest Park of Mount Guanyin. The mountainous parkland lies at a height of 488 meters and is a perfect illustration of ecological sightseeing and cultural tourism. Some of the top attractions of Mount Guanyin are the Statue of Saint Guanyin, Guanyin Temple, Hall of Three Saints, Xiangong Peak, Museum of Ancient Trees, Yixin Pavilion, Xianquan Natatorium, Pudu Creek, Ciyun Pavilion, and The Thanksgiving Lake.
Shuilianshan Forest Park
If you are looking for a serene getaway with some beautiful views, you should definitely visit the Shuilianshan Forest Park. The place offers some amazing lakeside locations for daylong picnicking. There are many hiking and trekking trails in the area that offer amazing views of the hilly terrain. The place also houses a small amusement park, a butterfly farm, and a bird park. There is also a beautiful waterfall that attracts many tourists.
Vitoria, the capital city of Espirito Santo state in southeast Brazil is mainly known for its sandy beaches like Camburi and Curva da Jurema. The city also features the 20th-century Metropolitan cathedral showing the windows that are made of stained glasses.
Providing a lot of attractions at sight, long romantic walks along the beach, a ride through the beach on a bike or the local delicacies are the most famous among the visitors of the place. The Canto is a beach perfect for long walks and hosts a special competition every year. It reminds me of Clearwater beach back in Florida where my friend Luke lives. He runs HempLife Today and took us to a beach that was just like The Cando. The beach is a perfect spot for swimming or relaxation and provides the best place to sight a sunset or a sunrise.
The Metropolitan Cathedral located on the district Alta is quite famous owing to its stained-glass windows interior and chapel that houses the different bishop tombs. We sw the Vale Museum showcases a 330-foot long model train line and is located in the city’s ancient station for trains. These train models are projected showing their track paths through the mountain regions jungles. Lastly, we visited the most famous attraction of the place that cannot be missed out is a Chocolate factory that was started in 1929. A tour around the factory tells you how different chocolates are made and manufactured. You can also taste them for free.
According to us, this place is best to visit during the summer months of the year. Although this region of the country does not see the extreme winters during that time, summers are still the peak time for all tourists. Make sure that you come here for at least a week and try to move around the city by foot because that will enable a more personalized experience and connect. Also, this city is easily accessible from all the major domestic centers of the country.