Monthly Archives: November 2012

Travel Photos

Here’s a short post with pictures from around the world made with Storify. Storify is an easy way to find very useful information from different sources.

  1. Bund sightseeing tunnel under the Huangpu river @ #Shanghai #TripInChina
    Sat, Nov 03 2012 03:32:06
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The Big Apple

It has always been a dream for me to go to New York. This summer I was in the United States of America for 3 months. I was approximately 160 miles away from NYC. My first thought before going to the US was that if I don’t go to NYC it would be a waste of the summer for me. I managed to arrange 2 days off in a row for me and my roommate, Panayot Apostolov, so we could go there. For two days we visited many places, but not everything that the city offers.

On the first day off we woke up and just caught the bus to New York. We didn’t have a plan and a room booked for the night, just a map on an iPad. We just knew we wanted to visit certain places. When we got off the bus, the first thing we saw was the editorial office of The New York Times. I’m pretty sure that most of the people know what ‘The New York Times’ is, or at least have heard of it. Anyway, it is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. It’s website is the most popular newspaper website in America.

We started our sightseeing from Fifth Avenue. Firstly we saw the Rockefeller Center. It is a complex of 19 commercial buildings. We also saw the Statue of Atlas. The sculpture depicts the Ancient Greek Titan Atlas holding the heavens. The whole Rockefeller Center is in Art Deco style.

I’m also a big Apple fan. I’ve seen many Apple store online. The first time I saw a picture of the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, I wanted to go. It impressed me very much with the big glass cube and the apple that’s hanging from the ceiling. So, our next stop was this exact store.

Which is the most visited urban park in the US? I would say Central Park, NY. And why is it so famous? Well, we wanted to find out. We continued walking along Fifth Avenue, and we reached Central Park. After entering the park, you become completely isolated from the surrounding noise. It was very quiet, like we were in a forest in the middle of nowhere or just on an abandoned island. Well, there were people so we were sure it wasn’t an island. As we were in the Big Apple

for only 2 days, we couldn’t walk all the 3.5 sq. km. of Central Park. There were ponds, big rocks, small cute bridges, a zoo in the park.

Panayot said, “It is beautiful. It is like a jungle. You can’t tell that you’re in New York. You go in there and you see so many little animals. It’s like little forest. You can feel it, it is like a big lung in the center. You cannot actually hear a noise there. It is like there is a big bubble, you cannot be distracted by New York within New York.”

It was already 5pm, so we had to find a room for the night. After an hour and a half wandering between the streets and the avenues in downtown Manhattan, we found a hotel. We left our clothes and luggage in the room as fast as possible and went out again.

Our next stop was Empire State Building. This is 102-story skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan. We visited the tourist area of the building. The highest floor open for tourists was 86th. Empire State Building was the world’s tallest building before the construction of the World Trade Center. After the attacks of September 11 in 2001, Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York. The skyscraper is also designed in the Art Deco style. After, we entered the building, we passed several security checks and reached the elevators that led us to the 80th floor for less than a minute. From the top floor we were able to see the whole New York area. We went there  before sunset and left after it was already dark. This is a view everyone would like to enjoy.

“We went there at dusk and saw the whole city. We saw the transition between dusk going to full darkness of the night. That was something amazing. It was beautiful. The sky was clear. It was something amazing,” said Panayot.

After spending three or four hours in Empire State Building, we wanted to sit somewhere, take a brake and grab something to eat. We went to McDonalds on Times Square. Times Square is a major commercial intersection. It is situated at the junction of Broadway Avenue and Seventh Avenue. Times Square is the world’s most visited tourist attraction. These were the last several hours of our trip for the day. We went back to the hotel and took our rest.

Times Square during the day

The next day we already had some kind of a plan. We woke up and went to Starbucks for a morning wake up call with coffee. The previous night we realized that with the pass for Empire State Building we also bought a ticket for a boat cruise around New York City. There were buses every several hours which were going to the small boat for the cruise. We went on the earliest one which was at 10am. We got onto the boat and the cruise started. It was amazing to see New York in such an angle as well. On our cruise we saw the Brooklyn Bridge, the Pentagon, small parts of Brooklyn and Queens, and The Statue of Liberty. The statue is gift from French people to the United States. It is a robed figure of a woman, representing the roman goddess of freedom Libertas. In her right hand the woman holds a torch, and in the right hand there is a tablet upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. There is also a chain in the figure’s feet. The statue is a symbol of freedom and a welcoming of all the immigrants arriving from abroad.

On our way to Wall Street and the Wall Street Bull, we saw the 9/11 Memorial Park, so we stopped to get tickets, and we continued to the famous business street. In front of the statue of the Charging Bull there was a long queue and a police officer. We lined up and waited for a few minutes. The bull symbolizes aggressive financial optimism and prosperity. It depicts the business as unpredictable. As it is going the right way and profiting, it could collapse the next second. Just like a bull, it could be good and  calm, and the next second it can turn everything into a massacre. It is said that if you hold the Charging Bull by the balls it is for luck and prosperity.

Then, we headed to the 9/11 Memorial Park. Because it was still under construction there were many security checks and we had to wait for an hour to get to the park. It memorizes the awful events from September 11, 2001. On this date two of the tower of the World Trade Center were attacked with planes and ruined. Many people died in the attacks. On the place of the two tower there are artificial waterfalls. The water goes down in a small square in the center of each waterfall and disappears as in an abyss. The waterfalls are surrounded by marble plates. On the plates are inscribed the names of all the people from the two flights and the people who were in the buildings at the time of the attacks. The park is really beautiful and at the same time there is sadness all over it.

Panayot described the place, “What they made at Ground Zero is unbelievable. It’s very impressive. There’s waterfalls where the water pours into the ground and that’s why it’s called ground zero.”

After visiting the park we were already running out of time we had only 45 minutes to get to the Bus Station, so we experienced the New York subway. Actually, it was not as bad as it is being described everywhere. We got to the bus station and waited for our bus to go back home.

“The subway is nothing special. It’s not that dirty,” said Panayot.

New York is a very big city. It surely is overcrowded, but it is also very impressive and just amazing. There are so many sights to be seen, and we were only able to visit just a handful of these.

Here’s a video with several of our adventures in New York City:

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London – You can feel the history there

London is a very popular tourist destination recently. It’s famous for the many historical museums and buildings. Boryana Kaisheva is a classmate and friend of mine. She went to London in March 2012, and recently she told me about her experience there in details.

She went there to visit a friend. Her friend took her sightseeing around the city.

A big impression left the London Eye. It is a grand Ferris wheel situated near the River Thames. It is 135 meters tall. It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe. It was opened only 12 years ago and now it is visited by over 3.5 million people every year.

“It’s really big. When you get on the top, you can see the whole city and it’s really beautiful.”

Bobi continued visiting other famous places like Buckingham Palace. Buckingham Palace is the official London residence and principal workplace of the British monarch. It was built in 1705. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms. Unfortunately:

“You can’t go in there, because the queen is there.”

A place she liked the most is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London. It is governed by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.

“The style is different and more complex.”

She also visited London Sea Life Aquarium. The aquarium includes two classrooms, which host up to 40,000 school children each year and are open to the public when not in use by education programs. It is involved in several breeding programs including the Cuban crocodile, seahorses, butterfly goodeids, and jellyfish. The aquarium works with many conservation organizations including Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, Save Our Seas, Shark Trust, Rainforest Concern, Earth Sea Sky, and South Pacific Projects. It is separated in different parts. There are parts for the sharks and other big sea fish. There is also a park with penguins and a park with reptiles, like crocodiles, different kind of lizards, etc.

You can see Boryana talking about London in this video:

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Wildwood, New Jersey

During the summer of 2012 I was in the USA on a Work and Travel program. Most of the time I was busy at work, but I was still able to travel a bit. I was in Wildwood, New Jersey. New Jersey is not the most beautiful place in the USA, but with friends and some free time one can have a great time there.

There are three amusement parks in Wildwood. Mostly foreigners worked there. A good thing is that many Bulgarians had a job at the Morey’s Piers parks, so I was able to try some of the attractions without paying, because I was there to save money. The attractions vary from ones for kids to ones for brave people. One of the scary attractions was ‘The Skyscraper.’ This is a bar, which is attached to a motor in the middle. At the two ends of the bars there are cabins. They are attached in a way that allows them to turn. The whole thing is around 50 meters tall and it rotates with up to 55 mph. Because of the freely moving cabins it turns you upside down in every possible way.

I also like going just for a walk in the nature. Adam is a friend of mine who I met there and he showed me many beautiful places in the nature. One of them was Delaware Bay. We went there at sunset. The view was amazing. The blue in the sky was turning orange and red and it was merging with the greenish color of the ocean. There was no one there except for us. And while watching this beautiful view, the waves from the ocean were crashing at the little beach there.

On our way back to Wildwood, we saw falcon nests and we stopped in order to take some photos. These birds are very beautiful, but after stopping and getting a bit closer they got annoyed. They even became hostile, because they were afraid for their nests. They started flying around as a sign of protection of their territory. That way they showed that they are prone to attacking us if we go any closer. It was a really nice sight.

It was almost the end of the summer and Adam told me about a trip with a boat that goes deep into the ocean to watch dolphins. I have seen dolphins many times, but this was the first time I saw dolphins in their natural environment. They were afraid to jump out of the water, but still they were swimming around the boat and I was able to make some photos and I had a great time.

Because of Adam, I was able to see some really nice places in Wildwood and to have a great time there. Thank you. 🙂

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