Xian, located in the northwest province of Shaanxi of China, was called Chang’an in the ancient times and is the oldest of the Ancient Capitals of China. It is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the famous Terracotta Army of the Qin Dynasty. The Terracotta Warriors is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, and was buried with the emperor to protect him in the afterlife.
Cartagena, on the Colombian coast of the Caribbean, served as the main administration center for the Spaniards during the colonial period. The colorful historic center with its 400 year old colonial houses is what inspired writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The long awaited trip to Galapagos Islands has finally happened. It reminded me of going on an African safari but more. If you are prone to seasickness, do not pick a small boat. I was advised before the trip to choose at least a medium size boat because there are nights when the seas can be quite rough. I chose the Eclipse which is a 48 passenger cruise ship. I normally don’t get seasick but there was one night where I felt queasy and had to ask the nurse on board for some Dramamine.
Quito is the capital of Ecuador and it is the highest official capital city in the world at 2,850 meters above sea level. We did a full day city tour with a private guide who took us to a few churches, up to the Panecillo mountain where the winged Virgin Mary looks over the city, … Continue reading Quito & Otavalo Feb 2014
Bogota is the capital of Colombia and one of the largest cities in Latin America. The city’s cultural center is the cobblestone historic downtown La Candelabra. Most of Bogota’s attractions are in this area such as Plaza de Bolivar, the Gold Museum, and the Botero Museum. Monserrat Hill is also frequented by visitors for its panoramic views of the city.
Zipaquira is a town about 50km from Bogota and is a place of pilgrimage in Colombia. The town is made famous by its the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, which is an underground church built within the tunnels of the salt mine 200 meters underground. Many years before the main cathedral was built, the miners have already carved numerous sanctuaries and prayed for protection everyday before starting work.
Salento is a sleepy town in the northeast of Colombia. The peaceful town becomes filled with tourists on weekends and holidays, using it as a base to visit the nearby Valle de Cocora, as well as the coffee plantations in the region.