Best of Niagara Falls and Toronto

Niagara Falls is perhaps one of the top destinations in Canada and one of the most impressing natural wonders in the world. It is located 75 miles (120 km) southeast of Toronto in the province of Ontario. All the falls collectively are called “Niagara Falls” and they are divided into the the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls.  Those waterfalls sections are separated by Goat Island.

About the falls

Niagara Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America with more than 6 million cubic feet (168,000 m³) of water falling over the crest line every minute in high flow. It is not only a beautiful site but is also a powerful source of hydroelectricity for many.

The Falls were formed at the end of the last ice age when water from the newly formed Great Lakes tried to find a way to reach the ocean.

Niagara Falls Top attractions

The top 5 must visit sights in Niagara Falls includes:

  1. The Canadian Horseshoe Falls
  2. American Falls
  3. Maid of the Mist for those that want to get a bit wet
  4. Journey Behind the Falls, as the name entails it is the experience to walk behind the falls
  5. Skylon Tower  with its 775 feet observation dock  offers an impressing view over the falls

Niagara Falls Photographs

Niagara Falls is perhaps one of the world’s most photographed attractions. Here is a few of our best photographs.

The Falls

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Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls

The Canadian Falls

The Canadian Falls

The Canadian Falls

The American Falls

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The American Falls

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The American Falls

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The American Falls

The Bridge

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The City Center

Niagara Falls City Center

Niagara Falls City Center

Niagara Falls City Center

Niagara Falls City Center

Niagara Falls City Center

Niagara Falls City Center

Toronto

Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. With over 2.5 million residents, it is the fifth most populous municipality in North America



Toronto Video

Watch the Toronto Video to know the best attractions in Canada’s biggest city.

Toronto Photographs

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Paris

I had the chance to go visit Paris over the weekend. With the Eurostar train it is only 2 and a half hour trip from London, arriving at Gare du North in the heart of the city.  After spending the first night in some expensive bars with an old friend of mine I had the second day to visit the main attractions.

About Paris

Paris is not only the capital and biggest city in France but perhaps the mostly known place in the world.   It is situated on the river Seine at the heart of the Île-de-France region. The city of Paris, within its administrative limits, is largely unchanged since 1860 and has an estimated population of 2,203,817.  The metropolitan area however has a population of 11,769,433 and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe.

An important settlement for more than two millennia, Paris is today one of the world’s leading business and cultural centres, and its influence in  politics, education,  entertainment,  media,  fashion, science and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world’s major global cities.

Paris Area by area

The main areas in central Paris that I had the chance to visit during my day included:

  1. Tour Eiffel and Les Invalides
  2. St-Germain
  3. Latin Quarter
  4. Luxembourg Quarter
  5. Ile de la Cité

Tour Eiffel and Les Invalides

I started my trip with the neighbourhood the offers the most famous attractions in Paris including:

  1. Eiffel Tower
  2. Champs De Mars
  3. Ecole Militaire
  4. St-Louis Des Invalides Cchurch
  5. Dome Church
  6. Musée de l’armée
  7. Hôtel des invalides
  8. Rue De Varennes
  9. Musée Rodin
  10. Hotel Montignan

Saint Germain des pres

If you are looking for a lively bit of Paris, St-Germain is the place with its café, restaurants and cinema.  Famous for the artists and writers who lived there, including Victor Huge on the rue du Dragon (the street of the Dragon).  The most famous attractions you should visit include:

  1. The boulevard St-Germain
  2. The Saint-Germain church
  3. Musée Delacroix, one of the most famous French painter
  4. Rue du Dragon
  5. Institut de France

Latin Quarter

The famous Latin Quarter is the student and artist area of Paris filled with bookstores, cafés and affordable restaurants and bars.
The most famous attractions in the Paris “Quartier Latin” include:

  1. Panthéon
  2. La Sorbonne
  3. Boulevard St-Michel

Luxembourg Quarter

The Quartier du Luxembourg is another student area with at its center the Jardin du Luxembourg, an impressive garden with broad avenues, statues and even a puppet theatre.  At one end of the garden, sits the palace built in 1631 inspired by the Piti Palace in Florence.

Ile de la Cité

My last Paris attraction was Ile de la Cité, the island on the Seine River in the heart of the city.  This is the home to some of the most famous monuments in Paris including the Notre Dame Cathedral, the gothic masterpiece and the Palais de Justice, the court of Justice.

Photographs of Paris

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Stonehenge

Stonehenge, world most famous prehistoric site

Stonehenge site, how it is now

Stonehenge is one of the most renowned prehistoric monuments not only in England but in the World. It is located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury and is a 2 hours drive from London. Because of its history and remarkable features it is classed as a World Heritage Site. Archaeologists believe that it is about 5000 years old as some recent research shows that it was probably erected around 3000 BC.


Table of content

This post includes the answers to the following topics on Stonehenge:

  1. What are the key things you should know about the Stonehenge site?
  2. What are the main elements to visit on the site?
  3. What is Stonehenge build Process?
  4. Video Narration
  5. Stonehenge pictures
  6. Conclusion

The essentials things you should know about the Stonehenge site

Full Site of Stonehenge, how it used to be

This is the list of the most essential and interesting facts about Stonehenge:

  1. Age : estimated at 3,100 BC and built between 3,000 and 1,600 BC
  2. Build process: in 3 steps requiring more then 30 Millions hours of labour
  3. Location: Wiltshire, UK
  4. Type of stone: Bluestone, Sarson, Welsh Sandstone
  5. Weight of the stones: the heaviest one could weight up to 50 tonnes
  6. Purpose: remains a mystery but might be for Lunar and Solar Worship, or as a huge astronomical calendar
  7. It is aligned with the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset
  8. Price of site ( free for English Heritage members): 6.90£
  9. Site Access: visitors are unable to walk amongst the stones and need to follow the site path
  10. An Audio tour is available in ten languages and is included in the price of the site.

The main elements to visit on the site

Illustration of the Stonehenge site

Based on the official brochure of the Stonehenge site these are the things of interest:

  1. North Barrow
  2. Station Stone
  3. Circular Ditch and Bank
  4. South Barrow
  5. Station Stone
  6. Heel Stone
  7. The Avenue
  8. Slaughter Stone
  9. Circle of sarsen stones with lintels
  10. Circle of Bluestones
  11. Horseshoe of sarsen trilithons

Stonehenge Build process

Stonehenge Build Process

It is believed that Stonehenge was constructed in three phases. It has been estimated that the three phases of the construction required more than thirty million hours of labour. Speculation on the reason it was built range from human sacrifice to astronomy
Let us look back 5000 years ago when it all started.

  1. It is estimated that the first Stonehenge was built around 3100 BC. It was composed of a large earthwork or Henge and comprised a ditch, bank, and the Aubrey holes. Surprisingly shortly after the build was completed it was abandoned for hundreds of years
  2. Evidence of the second phase is no longer visible but archaeologists beliefs it was built around 3000BC
  3. It is believed that the third stage of Stonehenge started at about 2000 BC with the arrival of the Sarsen stones. The interesting thing about this stone is that it was brought from a site which is about 25 miles north of Stonehenge. Not to mention that the heaviest of the stones could weight up to 50 tones and it was proved that there were only moved using sledges and ropes. Therefore some estimation reveals that it was required to have up to 500 men using leather ropes to pull one stone.

Video Narration

Please click here to view the Sonehenge video in a seperate lighbox.
Here it the full transcript of the video:

Stonehenge is one of the most renowned prehistoric monuments not only in England but in the World.
It is located in the English county of Wiltshire and is about a 2 hours drive west of London.
Because of its history and remarkable features it is classed as a World Heritage Site.
Archaeologists believe that Stonehenge is about 5000 year old as it was probably erected at around 3000 BC.
It is believed that it was build in 3 different stages between 3,000 and 1,600 BC
It is estimated that it took more then 30 Millions hours of labour
The type of stones included in the built are the Bluestone, Sarson and the Welsh Sandstone.
Some of the Stones could only be found 25 miles of the site.
Knowing that the heaviest stone could weight up to 50 tonnes it might have required up to 500 men using leather ropes to pull just one stone.
The Purpose remains a mystery but some archaeologists speculate that it might be for Lunar and Solar Worship, or as a huge astronomical calendar
It is interesting to notice that the stones are aligned with the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.
Visitors are unable to walk amongst the stones and need to follow the site path.
However an Audio tour is available in ten different languages and is included in the price of the site.
I strongly recommend a visit to this prehistoric monument which has attracted visitors from all over the globe for centuries.
Even tough only half of the original built remains it still stands as a timeless monument to the people who built it.

Stonehenge Pictures

There are some of the pictures taken on the Stonehenge Site. Please click the links to open the photographs in a lightbox.


Conclusion

Mat Siems & Stonehenge

Stonehenge is by far one of the most famous sites in the world. It is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. It is at the centre of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.
I strongly recommend a visit to this prehistoric monument which has attracted visitors from all over the globe.
Even tough only half of the original built remains it still stands as a timeless monument to the people who built it.

Gran Canaria

Best of Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is an island of the Canary Islands located in the Atlantic Ocean about 150 kilometres (~93 miles) off the north-western coast of Africa and about 1350 km (~838 miles) from Europe. Gran Canaria is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands after Tenerife. Gran Canaria is also the third in extension Canary Islands.


Gran CanariaTopics

This are the Gran Canaria topics that we would like to share:

  1. Gran Canaria Video
  2. Top 10 Gran Canaria
  3. Gran Canaria’s  Essential
  4. Gran Canaria Photographs

Gran Canaria Video



Gran Canaria Video

Top 10 Gran Canaria

It is hard to find the top 10 in an island such diverse as Gran Canaria, as there are so many things to visit, to enjoy and to experience.  Here is however a list of what I consider the top thing you must do when visiting Gran Canaria:

  1. Las Palmas, the capital and biggest city on the island
  2. Maspalomas, a natural reserve desert with golden dunes
  3. Caldera de Bandama, an impressing deep crater
  4. La Cumbre, the mountainous  heart of the island
  5. Teror, a beautiful Canarian Town
  6. Jardin Botanico Viera y Clavijo, Spain largest botanic garden
  7. Puerto de las Nieves, an impressing  fishing village on the north east of the island
  8. Barranco de Guayadeque, Guanche (early inhabitants) cave-home
  9. Puerto de Morgan , a lovely port city in the South
  10. Casa Museo de Colon, the museum of the great explorer

Gran Canaria Essential

Here are some of the facts about Gran Canaria including the following topics:

  1. Gran Canaria geography
  2. Gran Canaria history
  3. Gran Canaria climate
  4. Gran Canaria tourism

Gran Canaria geography

Gran Canaria is located southeast of Tenerife and west of Fuerteventura. The island is of volcanic origin, mostly made of fissure vents. Gran Canaria is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands after Tenerife. Gran Canaria’s surface area is 1,560 km² and its maximum altitude is 1,949 meters (Pico de Las Nieves). It has a round shape, with a diameter of approximately 50 km.

Gran Canaria history

Gran Canaria was populated by the Canarii (Guanches), who may have arrived as early as 500 BC. The Canarii called the island Tamarán or Land of the Brave. After over a century of European (French, Portuguese…) incursions and attempts at conquest, the island was conquered on April 29, 1483, after a campaign that lasted 5 years, by the Kingdom of Castile, with the support of Queen Isabella I, a conquest which turned out to be an important step towards the expansion of the unified Spain.

The capital city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was founded on June 24, 1478, under the name “Real de Las Palmas”, by Juan Rejón, head of the invading Castilian army. In 1492, Cristopher Columbus anchored in the Port of Las Palmas (and spent some time on the island) on his first trip to the Americas. Some reports suggest that Gran Canaria was formerly named, due to the island’s shape, El Rondo (The Circle) by English explorer Paul C. Reilly who landed on the island in 1451.

Gran Canaria climate

Gran Canaria’s average daytime highs range from 20 °C in winter, to 26 °C in summer. Some cool nights occur in winter, but lows below 10 °C are unknown near the coast. Inland the climate is still mild but mountains areas see the occasional frost or snow. Annual rainfall averages 228 mm, most of this falling in the cooler months, with July, August and September normally rainless. Rainfall is unevenly distributed through the island with some areas being much drier than others. Cloud cover and sunshine is often quite variable during the cooler months, and in fact there can be several rather cloudy days at times in winter. Summers are generally quite sunny however, with the south of the island being most favoured.

Gran Canaria tourism

This island is called a “Miniature Continent” due to the different climates and variety of landscapes found, with its long golden beaches and endless dunes of white sand, its green ravines and picturesque villages. A third of the island is under protection as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

The number of annual visitors is 2.2 million (2,200,000). Most of the tourists visit the southern part of the island.


Gran Canaria Photographs

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World’s Countries lists Top 10

If you want to learn about the top 10 lists of the World’s countries you are at the right place. Here are the top 10 lists we currently have:

Topics

  1. World’s Best Cities to Live
  2. World’s Largest Countries
  3. World’s Smallest Countries
  4. World’s Most Populated Countries
  5. World’s Most Populated Cities (proper city)
  6. World’s Most Populated Areas
  7. World’s Tallest Habitable Buildings

World’s Best Cities to Live

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Geneva, Switzerland
  4. Vancouver, Canada
  5. Auckland, New Zealand
  6. Dusseldorf, Germany
  7. Munich, Germany
  8. Frankfurt, Germany
  9. Bern, Switzerland
  10. Sydney, Australia

World’s Largest Countries

  1. Russia
  2. Canada
  3. USA
  4. China
  5. Brazil
  6. Australia
  7. India
  8. Argentina
  9. Kazakhstan
  10. Sudan

World’s Smallest Countries

  1. Vatican City
  2. Monaco
  3. Nauru
  4. Tuvalu
  5. San Marino
  6. Liechtenstein
  7. Marshall Islands
  8. Maldives
  9. Malta
  10. Grenada

World’s Most Populated Countries

  1. China
  2. India
  3. USA
  4. Indonesia
  5. Brazil
  6. Pakistan
  7. Bangladesh
  8. Nigeria
  9. Russia
  10. Japan

World’s Most Populated Cities (proper city)

  1. Mumbai
  2. Shangai
  3. Karachi
  4. Delhi
  5. Istanbul
  6. Sao Paulo
  7. Moscow
  8. Seoul
  9. Beijing
  10. Mexico City

World’s Most Populated Areas

  1. Tokyo
  2. Seoul
  3. Mexico City
  4. New York City
  5. Mumbai
  6. Jakarta
  7. Sao Paulo
  8. Delhi
  9. Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto
  10. Shangai

World’s Tallest Habitable Buildings

  1. Taipei
  2. Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  3. Sears Towers, Chicago
  4. Jin Mao Building, Shangai, China
  5. Two International Finance Centre, Hong Kong
  6. CITIC Plaza, Guangzhou, China
  7. Shun Hing Square, Shenzen China
  8. Empire State Building, NYC, USA
  9. Central Plaza, Hong Kong
  10. Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong

Flash Interactive World’s Continents Map

If you want to learn about the World’s Continents using an interactive flash map you are at the right place.

It includes all of the world’s Continents including:

  1. Americas
  2. Europe
  3. Africa
  4. Asia
  5. Oceania

You may play and learn with the interactive flash e-learning map of the World’s Continents at the top of the page or click here to open it in a lightbox.

United Kingdom and England Flash Interactive Map

If you want to learn about the UK and English regions you are at the right place.

The United Kingdom interactive map includes the following regions:

  1. Ireland
  2. Northern Ireland
  3. Scotland
  4. Wales
  5. England

You may play and learn with the interactive flash e-learning map of the United Kingdom at the top of the page or click here to open it.

England Flash Interactive Map

This is the latest Great Britain Flash Interactive Map. It includes the following regions:

  1. East Midlands
  2. East of England
  3. Greater London
  4. North East England
  5. North West England
  6. South East England
  7. South West England
  8. West Midlands
  9. Yorkshire and the Humber

You may play and learn with the interactive flash e-learning map of England below or click here to open it.

The World’s Best Places to Live 2009

If you want to know what are the World’s Top Places to Live in 2009 you are at the right place. Here is the top list of those destinations:

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Geneva, Switzerland
  4. Vancouver, Canada
  5. Auckland, New Zealand
  6. Dusseldorf, Germany
  7. Munich, Germany
  8. Frankfurt, Germany
  9. Bern, Switzerland
  10. Sydney, Australia
  11. Copenhagen, Denmark
  12. Wellington, New Zealand
  13. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  14. Brussels, Belgium
  15. Toronto, Canada
  16. Ottawa, Canada
  17. Berlin, Germany
  18. Melbourne, Australia
  19. Luxembourg
  20. Stockholm, Sweden
  21. Perth, Australia
  22. Montreal, Canada
  23. Nuremberg, Germany
  24. Oslo, Norway
  25. Dublin, Ireland
  26. Singapore
  27. Calgary, Canada
  28. Hamburg, Germany
  29. Honolulu, U.S.
  30. San Francisco, U.S.

The World’s Healthiest Countries

If you want to know in which country you would live the longest, you are at the right place. Here is the top list of those healthiest countries with a short explanation of the key factors:

  1. Japan – life expectancy of 86 for women and 79 for men, healthy diet – rich in seaweed and fish, sponsored governmental exercise programs
  2. Australia – healthy diet with range-fed cattle (grass-fed steaks), lots of sport (beach volleyball)
  3. Sweden – excellent public healthcare (especially for children) because of high government spending, holistic point of view with more then just medicine
  4. Greece – social aspect of dining by enjoying and savouring it, better digestion
  5. Italy -focus is on fresh, whole unprocessed foods, which part of the daily routine
  6. Iceland – excellent public healthcare (especially for child birth)
  7. Cuba – one of best healthcare in the world, focus on prevention and healthy living
  8. Finland – focus on fresh whole foods and healthy living, massive promotion by the government
  9. Germany – focus on fresh, whole foods, clean air, excellent nationalized healthcare with high tax rates, promotion of an outdoor active lifestyle
  10. France – social dining with longer and slower meals, use of fresh, whole ingredients

World’s Healthiest Countries Interactive flash e-learning map

You may also play and learn with the interactive flash e-learning map of the World’s Healthiest Countries at the top of the page or click here to open it.
How to navigate World’s Healthiest Countries Interactive flash e-learning map:

  1. Scroll with your mouse to zoom in or out of the map (or use the zoom slider on the left hand side)
  2. Check or uncheck the continents box (Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania) at the top you want to see on the map
  3. Click and drag the map to move it
  4. Mouse over the circle markup buttons to view the name of the place
  5. Click on the circle markup buttons to view the place description in a bottom box (click the close button the hide it)

The Cheapest places to live in the world

If you want to know about the cheapest places, countries or cities, you are at the right place. You may view the interactive map of the cheapest places to live in the world by clicking here.

I just stumble across an article that is very inspirational and I would like to share with my readers. Here are a short list of the Cheapest places to live in the world, countries that you will be able to live under 500$ a month.

Cheapest countries to live

  1. Thailand
  2. Cambodia
  3. Philippines
  4. Costa Rica
  5. Belize

Cheapest cities to live

Some of the cheapest cities to live in the world includes:

  1. Johannesburg
  2. Monterrey
  3. Asuncion
  4. Karachi
  5. Wellington
  6. Auckland
  7. Mexico City
  8. Quito
  9. Chennai (Madras)
  10. Tunis

Some other cheap places to live include:

  1. Phnom Penh, Cambodian
  2. San José, Costa Rica
  3. Cayo, Belize
  4. Montevideo, Uruguay
  5. Bangalore, India
  6. Manila, Philippines
  7. Buenos Aires
  8. Johannesburg, Argentina
  9. Harare, Zimbabwe
  10. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Cheap places in Europe

Even though Europe is generally high priced compared to the other places mentioned above, it is still possible to find some cheaper destination then the classical and highly priced London and Paris destinations. Here is some of the cheapest places in Europe, but might not be for long:

  1. Riga
  2. Andorra
  3. Budapest
  4. Prague