Posts from the ‘Mexico’ category

Plugging 19 UNESCO Heritage Sites Around the World

I’ve been fortunate to experience significant travel since 1995: first as a green graduate student on my first (of many) trips to Chile; followed by the opportunity to live and work in 3 countries on 3 continents inside a span of 10 years. I didn’t give much thought about their relative importance at the time, but I’m lucky to have visited a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS).

I’ve written previously about 5 UNESCO sites in Germany with a future upcoming post listing another five in the country. But here, I list and briefly describe here 19 additional UNESCO Heritage Sites from around the world.

  1. Australia: Blue Mountains (Katoomba)
  2. Australia: Sydney Opera House
  3. Argentina: Iguazú Falls, Iguazú National Park
  4. Brazil: Iguaçu Falls, Iguaçu National Park
  5. Brazil: Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves (Curitiba)
  6. China: Historic Centre of Macao
  7. Czech Republic: Historic Centre of Prague
  8. Czech Republic: Kutná Hora
  9. Denmark: Kronborg Castle (Helsingør)
  10. France: Historic Site of Lyons
  11. Italy: Cinque Terre
  12. México: Historic Centre of México City
  13. México: San Miguel de Allende
  14. New Zealand: Te Wāhipounamu (South Island)
  15. Spain: Alhambra, Generalife, & Albayzín (Granada)
  16. Spain: Spain: Cathedral, Alcázar & Archivo de Indias in Seville
  17. Sweden: Skogskyrkogården (Stockholm)
  18. United Kingdom: Old & New Towns of Edinburgh (Scotland)
  19. USA: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)

Australia: Greater Blue Mountains Area

After moving to Chile in 2006, I traveled across the southern Pacific to Australia several times over the subsequent five years. My friends in Sydney were very kind to take me on the drive west from Sydney for a weekend in Katoomba and the Blue Mountains National Park. Surrounded by the eucalyptus mist, there’s good reason why there’s a big blue aura.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, Katoomba, fotoeins.com

Kedumba View: Three Sisters and Kings Tableland, Katoomba (HL)

Australia: Sydney Opera House

I have to see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge (a.k.a., “The Coathanger”) whenever I’m in Sydney. They’re not going anywhere, but whenever I’m in the city, I always take the train to Circular Quay, because when I disembark onto the station’s platform, the view immediately assures me they’re still there

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Morning on the Opera House and the Coathanger, Sydney, fotoeins.com

Good morning to the Opera House and the Coathanger (HL)

Argentina: Iguazu National Park

Personal tip: spend at least two days, with the 1st day on the Brazilian side at Foz do Iguçu (Iguacu Falls), and the 2nd day on the Argentinian side at Las Cataratas del Iguazú (Iguazu Falls).

•   UNESCO WHS listing, Argentina

Cataratas del Iguacu, Iguacu Falls, Argentina, fotoeins.com

Near the Devil’s Mouth, Iguazú Falls, Argentina (HL)

Brazil: Iguaçu National Park

Personal tip: spend at least two days, with the 1st day on the Brazilian side at Foz do Iguaçu (Iguacu Falls), and the 2nd day on the Argentinian side at Las Cataratas del Iguazú (Iguazu Falls).

•   UNESCO WHS listing, Brazil

Foz do Iguacu, Cataratas do Iguacu, Brazil, fotoeins.com

Iguaçu Falls, Brazil (HL)

Brazil: Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves

Visiting portrait-and-fashion photographer and friend Paula in Curitiba in southern Brazil, I’m taken on a drive east from the city into the Atlantic rain forest next to the Serro do Mar mountains to Santuário Nhundiaquar and Morretes for an easy day-trip.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Santuário Nhundiaquara, Serro do Mar, Paraná, Brazil, fotoeins.com

Santuário Nhundiaquara, Serro do Mar, Paraná state (HL)

China: Historic Centre of Macao (澳門)

It’s less than one hour on the ferry from Hong Kong, and I’m in the other former European colony bordering China next to the South China Sea. In Macau, I see signs in Chinese, English, and Portuguese. Called 澳門 (“Oh-moon”) meaning “gates to the bay or inlet”, Macau is the other Special Administrative Region of the P.R.C.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

South view from the Ruins of St. Paul, Macau, fotoeins.com

South view of the city from the Ruins of St. Paul (HL)

Czech Republic: Historic Centre of Prague

I’ve visited this open-air museum of a city over a dozen times. When I’m away for too long, I ache for her, like a lost lover, and it’s why I wrote this love letter to Praha.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Morning moon over Prague Castle, Prague, fotoeins.com

Morning moon over Pražský hrad (HL)

Czech Republic: Kutná Hora

It might surprise some to know the famous “bone church” in Sedlec is not included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing for Kutná Hora. The listing includes the Church of St Barbara in the old town’s centre and the Cathedral of Our Lady in Sedlec (shown below).

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec, Chrám Nanebevzetí Panny Marie, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Cathedral of Our Lady (Chrám Nanebevzetí Panny Marie) in Sedlec (HL)

Denmark: Kronborg Castle (Helsingør)

In the Danish town of Helsingør (Elsinore), Kronborg Castle keeps watch over the narrowest portion of Øresund Strait between Denmark and Sweden, and is the inspiration for Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, which gives this castle its unofficial name of “Hamlet’s castle”.

•   UNESCO WHS listing.

Kronborg Slot, Helsingor, Denmark, fotoeins.com

Elsinore’s Hamlet castle (HL)

France: Historic Site of Lyons

Lyon is a home of French gastronomy and the historical home to French cinematography with the Lumière brothers. As an introduction to southern France, I’m completely charmed by the city, her people and their neighbourhoods, and traditional French cuisine.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Fourvière, Louis XIV, Place Bellecour, Lyon, France, fotoeins.com

From Place Bellecour, Louis XIV looks over to Fourvière (HL)

Italy: Cinque Terre

After a week-long workshop in Rapallo on the Ligurian Riviera, I have the entire Saturday to travel along the Cinque Terre route and coastline by train and on foot. I’m at all five key stops: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore; I easily envision spending a few days in each of the five villages.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy, fotoeins.com

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre (HL)

México: Historic Centre of México City

By all accounts, there are as many people packed into the metropolitan region of the Mexican capital city as there are people in all of Canada. It’s something to wrap around in my brain, until I realize there’s no other place I’d rather be when I think of Mexico, her living history, and satisfying early-morning munchies in a taquería in the city’s Coyoacán.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Ciudad de Mexico, Distrito Federal, Mexico, fotoeins.com

Zócalo, Plaza de la Constitucion (HL)

México: San Miguel de Allende

Thanks to my friends in the D.F., we take off northwest from Mexico City for a weekend in this historical town with beauty, charm, and a lot of expats from both Canada and the US.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Jardin Allende, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico

Jardin Allende (HL)

New Zealand: Te Wāhipounamu

Te Wāhipounamu (Māori for “the place of greenstone”) is located in the southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island, and includes Westland National Park, Mount Cook National Park, and Fiordland National Park. For me, this place is pure magic, especially under clear skies, with her unbelievably deep blues and greens. Even now, I hear from afar her calls with anthems in both Māori and English.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Harrison Cove, Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Calm waters at Harrison Cove, Milford Sound (HL)

Spain: Alhambra, Generalife, & Albayzín (Granada)

One of my first introductions to Spain and Andalucía is Granada. What better way for me to see this place is the Alhambra illuminated in the golden hour with the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. I followed this view for some special magic with a nighttime tour of the Alhambra.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Alhambra, Sierra Nevada, Granada, Andalucia, Spain, fotoeins.com

Alhambra, Sierra Nevada

Spain: Cathedral, Alcázar & Archivo de Indias in Seville

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Cathedral, Sevilla, Spain, fotoeins.com

Catedral de Santa María de la Sede: largest gothic cathedral in the world (HL)

Sweden: Skogskyrkogården (Stockholm)

I’d been reading about Great Garbo, and it felt like a special moment to visit Stockholm’s forest cemetery and to pay silent respect at her final resting place.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Skogskyrkogarden, Forest Cemetery, Stockholm, Sweden, fotoeins.com

Stockholm’s forest cemetery (HL)

United Kingdom: Old & New Towns of Edinburgh (Scotland)

Were 2 days in Edinburgh enough time? The answer is a big no; I want a full week to explore more of the little side alleys, nooks, and crannies in the old town.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Calton Hill, Canongate Kirk, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland, fotoeins.com

Calton Hill from Canongate Kirk (HL)

USA: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)

This was once parkland. This was once a paved highway. Now, it’s all covered by pahoehoe from a recent eruption and lava flow. It’s real, it’s happening; the Big Island is still getting bigger through powerful internal forces from inside our planet.

•   UNESCO WHS listing

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii, USA, fotoeins.com

Sitting on the pahoehoe lava, waiting for the afterdark glow: Ka Lae Apuki (HL)

Do you have a favourite or must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site? Please leave your comment below!

Sunday TravelerI made all of the photos above between 2007 and 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-nr, and is part of the Sunday Traveler series.

A hunt for late-night tacos in Ciudad de México

Recently, I’ve been craving tacos.

Between June and September (2012), I’ve traveled through Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia. I’ve had the great privilege of eating inexpensive and out-of-this-world Asian food including Chinese (Cantonese), Himalayan, Indian, Nepalese, Thai, and Vietnamese. I continue to eat, and I still want more.

But occasionally, the memory of visiting friends in Ciudad de México (México City) surfaces, and I think of tacos.

I needs the tacos.

On my final night in the city, Eva and I are out at a concert, but we leave before the end of the gig for the promise of late-night tacos. We’re going to a taco-place she frequented in her youth as an out-late after-party place for food in the early-morning hours.

Just before 4am, we arrive at Taquería Brasil Copacabana in Delegación (the borough of) Coyoacán.

There are some ten or so tables around, but there are only a couple of people eating when we enter.

Bright fluorescent lights illuminate the cafeteria-like restaurant with a familiar cold glare. Decades’ old tables and chairs are scattered throughout the place, sitting on tired scratchy linoleum floors. There are more staff than customers; a couple of staff with hairnets are lingering about in quiet but animated conversation.

It’s absolutely perfect: it’s exactly the kind of place I had hoped to visit, and one I know only the locals would go for their taco fix.

As Eva describes the “hole-in-the-wall”:

… The name “Taquerías Brasil Copacabana” comes from the original location in Villa Coapa (in the Federal District or state of Mexico City). The place used to be a double cinema called “Brasil” and “Copacabana”. The cinemas closed down, and a bunch of small taco stands (carts) began popping up in the evenings. Over time, the taco stands became popular. Eventually, someone bought the entire place, cleverly converted it all into a single taco eatery, and decided to keep the name.

Tacos al pastor has been described as the Mexican version of döner kebab, but with porky goodness. Tender seasoned melt-in-your-mouth pork is fried on a metal grill right in front of you, and the pork is served hot, enveloped lovingly within heated soft taco wraps. Bottles containing sauces of varying evil and spice await your taco devouring needs. Alternatively, I ask for “alambre de pastor” complete with grilled onions and peppers and a layer of melted cheese for that stick-in-your-stomach soak-up-the-beer goodness.

But I’m also here for tacos de lengua, or tacos with beef tongue. It’s not something many would entertain, but I know it’s commonly served here, and I’ve had beef tongue before. While tonight’s tacos de lengua is downright delicious, my preference of the three choices tonight would be the “simpler” tacos al pastor.

Tacos al pastor, Taquerías Copacabana, Coyoacán, México City

Eva orders “tacos al pastor”, and I get a wae bite …

Tacos de lengua, Taquerías Copacabana, Coyoacán, México City

I go with “tacos de lengua” …

Alambre de pastor con queso, Taquerías Copacabana, Coyoacán, México City

… followed by “alambre de pastor” with onions, peppers, cheese

When everyone in the room nods at my eating pleasure, I know I’ve done exactly the right thing. And I know I’ve done right by them, too. It’s a perfect way to end a fantastic week in México City with Eva and her family.

I made the photos above with a 4th-generation iPod Touch on 10 March 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-2mW.

86 percent “round the world” for $315

OK, I admit it – the title to this post is a little misleading, because I’m referring to the distance I’ve traveled during the first five months of 2012, the distance equivalent to 86-percent of the way around the world.

But first, here’s a little background …

Over the last ten-plus years, I’ve flown a total of over one million miles with American Airlines and their Oneworld alliance partners. This means a few key things:

  • some “we love you” elite-status, which means faster check-in process, no “first checked-bag” fees, early boarding, and some use of the airport lounges,
  • faster accumulation of miles “earned” by flying,
  • and I’ve a chance to use these miles to see friends around North America in a short period of time without breaking the budget.

Using miles to fly within North America

I began the North America portion of my around-the-world (RTW) trip the first week of 2012. With over 300,000 frequent-flyer miles in store, I’ve traveled throughout the continent by redeeming miles (plus taxes) for the following flights.

North America flights, AAdvantage, frequent flyer miles

Date Destination Route Miles Traveled & Used Taxes & Fees ($ USD)
Jan 4 Vancouver, BC SFO-LAX-YVR 1-way 1418 | 25k 5.00
Jan 19 Honolulu, HI YVR-SEA-HNL return 5608 | 35k 66.00
Feb 21 Los Angeles, CA SEA-LAX 1-way 954 | 12.5k 2.60
Mar 2 México City LAX-MEX 1-way 1553 | 17.5k 24.90
Mar 10 San Jose, CA MEX-DFW-SJC 1-way 2374 | 35k 47.20
Mar 20 NW Arkansas SFO-DFW-XNA 1-way 1745 | 12.5k 5.00
Mar 26 Houston, TX XNA-DFW-IAH 1-way 505 | 25k 5.00
Apr 3 Toronto, ON IAH-DFW-YYZ 1-way 1424 | 12.5k 5.00
Apr 10 Minneapolis, MN YYZ-ORD-MSP 1-way 770 | 12.5k 61.26
Apr 17 Washington, DC MSP-ORD-DCA 1-way 946 | 25k 5.00
May 2 Nassau, Bahamas BWI-MIA-NAS 1-way 1130 | 17.5k 5.00
May 29 Vancouver, BC NAS-MIA-DFW-YVR 1-way 3058 | 30k 83.50
TOTALS routes map 21485 | 260k 315.46

Now, that was fun!

Note that the equivalent frequent flyer miles reimbursed amounted to a total of 260,000 miles. With plane tickets obtained by redeeming miles, the actual miles flown came to a total of just over 21,485 miles, which would be the equivalent of making my way 86-percent around the world (with the Earth’s circumference equal to about 24,900 miles).

All of the flights were intracontinental, but that was still a lot of miles flown in the first five months of 2012.

No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (cmp.ly/0).

Full credits for the map are found here. This post is published on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

Food tally, 1st-quarter 2012

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,618 other followers

%d bloggers like this: