Archive | September, 2010
September 30, 2010

POTD: St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague

St Vitus Cathedral

St Vitus Cathedral

One of the most beautiful buildings in Central Europe (and that’s saying a lot), construction on this Gothic cathedral first began in 1344. The cathedral is located within Prague Castle, where the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices.

pin it button POTD: St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague
September 29, 2010

POTD: Flying over the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island

Helicopter trip over the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. Taken during a December 2007 trip to the Big Island.

pin it button POTD: Flying over the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island
September 28, 2010

POTD: View of the Hermitage from the Neva River

This is a view if the Hermitage as seen from a cruise on the Neva River. The Hermitage is an art museum that holds over 3 million pieces in its collection, including works by Michelangelo, da Vinci, Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso. The Hermitage was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and now comprises several buildings, including the Winter Palace, former residence of the Russian Tsars. The Hermitage is a must see for anyone who visits St. Petersburg.

If you are interested in taking a cruise down the Neva, check out Viking River Cruises, which offers an itinerary that includes river excursions to both St. Petersburg and Moscow.

pin it button POTD: View of the Hermitage from the Neva River
September 27, 2010

POTD: Calligraphy class at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace in Pyongyang

North Korean schoolchildren practice calligraphy at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace in Pyongyang. The Children’s Palace is where elite schoolchildren go for after school extracurricular activities such as dance, sports, and the arts.

pin it button POTD: Calligraphy class at the Mangyongdae Childrens Palace in Pyongyang
September 26, 2010

POTD: Arirang Mass Games performers

north korea mass games

north korea mass games

Schoolchildren perform at the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang, North Korea. What exactly are the mass games? Well, take 100,000 North Koreans, place them in the largest stadium in the world, add some perfectly choreographed gymnastics, dancing, singing, and a heavy dose of propaganda, and the end result is a massive show glorifying the achievements of North Korea and its eternal President, Kim Il-Sung. It’s also a huge money-maker for the North Korean regime, as tourists from all over the world such as myself fly to Pyongyang to witness this spectacle.

pin it button POTD: Arirang Mass Games performers
September 25, 2010

POTD: Windsor Castle Guard

windsor castle guard

windsor castle guard

This is one of the guards who protects Windsor Castle, an official residence of the British monarch. I’ve always thought these guys sport one of the coolest uniforms out there. The “cap” they wear is 18 inches tall, weighs 1.5 pounds, is made from the fur of the Canadian black bear.

pin it button POTD: Windsor Castle Guard
September 24, 2010

POTD: Monument to Berehynia in Kiev’s Independence Square

Berehynia monument

Berehynia monument

In Slavic mythology, Berehynia is a female spirit who serves as the “hearth mother, protectoress of the home”. This monument to Berehynia is located in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kiev, Ukraine.

pin it button POTD: Monument to Berehynia in Kievs Independence Square
September 23, 2010

POTD: Lenin watching over Oktyabrskaya Ploshchad

lenin statue

lenin statue

There aren’t too many Lenin statues still standing these days. This particular statue is located on Oktyabrskaya Ploshchad (October Square), a short walk from the dorm I lived in while studying in Moscow for a few months in 2003. Dedicated in 1985 by Moscow’s then mayor, Boris Yeltsin, this was the last statue of Lenin to be erected in the city. It’s now home to a thriving skater community.

pin it button POTD: Lenin watching over Oktyabrskaya Ploshchad
September 22, 2010

POTD: Veterans at the Arc de Triomphe

arc de triomphe

arc de triomphe

Every evening, a group of French veterans rekindles a flame at the Arc de Triomphe that honors an Unknown French Soldier killed in World War I. This is the group of veterans waiting for the ceremony to begin.

pin it button POTD: Veterans at the Arc de Triomphe
September 21, 2010

POTD: Haghpat Monastery in Armenia

haghpat monastery

haghpat monastery

Located in Haghpat, Armenia, this monastery complex was built in the 10th century. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is in a rather remote location, and when we arrived at the monastery we were the only tourists there. More on this trip (including a slight problem with our transportation) here.

pin it button POTD: Haghpat Monastery in Armenia