Tag: city

Lugano: to the other side from the mountains

Lugano is the biggest city in the “Italian” part of Switzerland, canton of Ticino. Located on the eponymous lake and surrounded by picturesque forested mountains, it offers the most typical impressions of nature and culture of this region of the country.

I have to say, travelling across Italian Switzerland is quite a strange experience. It is almost impossible to tell Lugano from cities of Northern Italy. Everything is the same: food, vegetation, building styles… Pretty much everything, except for prices. Looking at them, you are reminded that it is still Switzerland… So why pay more if Milan is only one and a half hours away by train? Let’s try to find out.

Hiroshima and Miyajima island

A visit to Miyajima island near Hiroshima was recommended to me by a friend. Without that we would probably not even consider and totally miss this place which turned out to be a decent match even to Mt Fuji. So now I am fulfilling my duty of passing the recommendation on =)

We did Miyajima (and Hiroshima) as a day trip during your stay in Kyoto. Travel took away a big chunk of the day so we had to skip some interesting things =( If I knew more about Miyajima beforehand I would make sure we have a less restrictive travel plan…

Visiting Kyoto temples

No one really knows how many temples are exactly in Kyoto, but most estimates lie between 1600 and 2000. Even a very strict sample of the biggest and the most famous counts a few dozen, so it is quite difficult (and pointless) to try visiting all of them within one trip.

So here’s my list. Each temple here has its own specialty which differs it from the others. I ranked them by my subjective impressions after visit =)

First time in Japan: a city of the future?

This post is sponsored by the disgusting and nasty weather of Tokyo which was the reason we had to skip one of the city’s parks and set ourselves to the artificial island of Odaiba because there we could stay indoors most of the time.

The island was created in the 19th century for defense purposes but had barely been in use until 90s when the government suddenly decided to turn it into the new touristic and cultural center. Thanks to the engineering driven city design the district looks quite futuristic, or at least matches what they thought about the future in 90s.

First time in Japan: old and new Tokyo

Traditions and history dive-ins are not really Tokyo things, and it is better known for the chaos of a huge city, neon lights, and crazy youth culture. Those seeking old characteristic Japanese architecture should set their way to ancient Kyoto or at least pay its little sister Kamakura a short visit from the capital.

Nevertheless, even though Tokyo does not have that many and that diverse temples as Kyoto does, you can still get in touch with its ancient culture right in the center of the city, just next to the most bizarre districts and entertainments Tokyo has to offer.

Today we will try to maximize the diversity of impressions that you can get in Tokyo in a single day. This program implies a lot of walking, but you can shorten some distances by taking subway.

New York

Everything is so huge in the US: a regular fridge must be capable of fitting in a mammoth, and a tower must contain no less than a hundred stories. Comparing to the 3-story, compact Zurich which only accommodates 400 thousand people, where 50 years old trees grow in the most central streets, New York turned out a huge contrast. By the end of the first day my neck started to hurt from constantly rotating it to look at the skyscrapers!

Paris: disappointments and discoveries

Having visited Paris in the end of March, I still cannot tell whether that was a mistake. On one hand, the high season is not there yet and the queus are tolerable. On the other hand, May or June could be a better time – Paris is full of gardens and parks and now I can only imagine how beautiful it is here when all those trees are blooming and there is a little green between the grey and intimidating palaces of stone. Well well, looks like I will have to come here again! Fortunately, the sightseeing checklist is already done, there will be no need to queue for random reasons, and I can just relax in parks and walk along broad Paris avenues.