The World’s Best Metro Systems

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In the single, circular line of Glasgow into the cobweb-like network that is London, underground train systems have been a cheap, dependable and convenient way of transport for a long time. The London Underground, also called “The Tube,” celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2013. Having stood the test of time that ranks it among the best metro systems in the world due to excellent quality management systems and platforms, what about others?

Copenhagen Metro includes a driver-less rail system that runs 24 hours per day. Sao Paulo Metro carries 3.3 million passengers every day on a reasonably small track of 74 km. With the lowest carbon impact on the planet for metro networks, Montreal has it. But what other systems rank among ‘the best’?

  1. Hong Kong

Praise for Hong Kong’s MTR gushes from every traveler who has ever set a toe inside the immaculately tidy, well-signposted, cheap, regular, convenient system that connects most corners of the city, from the crowded intestines of Wan Chai to the rural(ish) villages of Tai Po. There is free Wi-Fi in every channel, facilities like tactile flooring and braille plates for travellers with disabilities and public washrooms, stores, banks and takeaway food outlets within many channels or near their exits.

There is no timetable for commuters – trains only turn up every few moments, earlier during peak periods – and it is dead easy for visitors to obtain a ticket through the automated machines. It’s possibly the world’s handiest Airport Express service, with departures every 10 minutes or so. And then there is the Octopus card – maybe the world’s greatest transport payment system, which may also be utilised in convenience stores, restaurants and other areas. Cities such as Melbourne should yell with jealousy.

The website provides handy one-day itineraries for Hong Kong tourists eager to shop, eat or find the local culture. Often the walk from one concourse to another can be lengthy, some channels becoming ridiculously crowded during peak hours (hinting at TST, Causeway Bay here!). But that just gives more time to watch and wonder as this 211-kilometer, 150-station system deals easily with its 3.4 million passengers daily.

  1. Seoul

Seoul’s metro system has TVs, heated seats and mobile phone services. Operated by three different companies (two of these state-funded), the Seoul metro system carries almost 7 million passengers every day on nine lines. Along with being one of the only metro systems in the world with mobile phone Wi-Fi and service, many of the Seoul subway trains are outfitted with TVs and are climate controlled. We love the toasty, heated seats in the winter.

Many subway planners come to Korea and are really blown away from the technology that they have in place, expertly designed through thorough software testing and agile test management. Jung-whan Kim from Seoul Metro’s media group said that it’s a significant showpiece for Korea’s focus on IT. Considering how obsessed the town is with nightlife, the downside is the early closing time – about midnight on weekdays, a bit earlier on weekends.

  1. Singapore

The Singapore Mass Rapid transit (SMRT) is probably the quickest way to explore the city. Following an amalgamation of several transit-service-providers in 2000, after intensive agile and managed testing services, SMRT has risen to 600 million passengers each year. Some use it to seek refuge from the heat outside, lapping up the air-conditioned comfort. The machine has demerits for lack of EZ-Link ticket card machines in some stations. This has meant regular lengthy lines for travellers needing to top up or purchase a ticket.

  1. London

The London Underground was the world’s first underground railway, opening in 1863. The London Tube was the world’s first underground subway, starting in 1863 and they have not done terribly much since. However, air-conditioned carriages been released, alongside intermittant Wi-Fi sign.

However, for history, for good underground busking and for something relatively cheap in a costly city, it’s difficult to beat. Despite all the grumbling, the Underground ferries over 1 billion journeys annually. Not bad for something that old.

  1. Paris

Roughly 4.5 million people travel on the Paris metro daily. The City of Light’s subway is unusually dense, with 245 channels on 14 lines, in only 87 square km of town. Parisians, apparently, do not like to walk. With over 1.5 billion passengers per year, Paris Metro is from the top-five for busiest city-rail providers on the planet.

Although some points are lost for the Paris Metro as it does not having automatically opening doors. This hints at the typical age of the carriages and indicates a need to invest a bit on upgraded project and construction management systems.

  1. Madrid

A giant mural of Spanish flamenco artist Paco de Lucia are available in Madrid’s Paco de Lucia station on the Line 9 of the subway. At 294 km, Madrid has the sixth-longest subway system in the world. But in addition to that is another 386 km of suburban rail services.

All up, Madrid’s railway serves 1.5 billion passengers each year with 21 lines and 396 channels. Impressive, especially given that Madrid’s population is just 6.5 million. The underground stations are so enormous that they can hold public events, like the three-day exercise festival in May 2011, which brought 2,600 visitors. One station comprises a 200-square-meter archaeological museum. Madrid Metro has the most escalators of any system in the world, a whopping 1,656.

Road Tripping through the Great Ocean Road and Yarra Valley

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Eleanor Watkins is a senior travel expert; on November 2016 she took a trip to Melbourne and Victoria before delving deeper into the south-eastern Australian state.

After taking in the hustle and bustle of Melbourne city, she started a road trip taking in the Yarra Valley and the Great Ocean Road. Here is what she thought about her time away.

Explain the journey:

We packed in a lot. We drank coffee in a range of Melbourne’s wonderful cafés, ventured out into the beautiful Yarra Valley for wine tasting and a breathtaking view of the landscaping in regional Victoria, and went back in time on a tramcar dining experience– all in one day.

We checked out the street art-covered laneways and saw Melbourne from a regional’s point of view with a Hidden Secrets strolling tour. We ate in China Town, filled with cranes and construction workers who were taking full advantage of their approved insurance for owner builders in the  busy street, and took a sundown stroll along the Yarra River. It is definitely worth scratching the surface of such a cosmopolitan and cultural city that balances rural and urban landscapes so well.

After 2 days we headed west in a two-van Maui convoy along the Great Ocean Road. The windy stretch of road went past Bells Beach and on to Apollo Bay, which is gorgeous and if a visitor lacks time, this drive is well worth it, simply just to absorb some of the Australian beach culture and a mandatory fish and chips dinner on the beach.

En route to Port Fairy we took a detour into the Great Otway National forest to get up close to Australian wildlife, with our guide Shane from the Great Ocean Ecolodge. We came across a mob of kangaroos, spotted sleepy koalas and in a protected corral met an endangered Tiger Quoll.

Shane and his group are working on stabilising and bringing back the ecosystem in the national forest. A main part of this includes raising awareness of the plight of this little marsupial that was the native pinnacle predator of the area prior to the introduction of cats and foxes. Another part of the project involves a bit of landscaping. Building man-made homes or even retaining walls in the forest for the animals to hide behind may assist in saving the lives of these little guys.

The gem of any Great Ocean Trip is stopping to admire the waves crashing against the splendid 12 Apostles and the very best time to check it out is early morning or late afternoon. The shorelines of soft limestone cliffs have actually been worn down by the unrelenting Southern Ocean, developing these amazing rock stacks that seem to rise out of the water.

That evening we rolled into another Big 4 camping site for the journey to Port Fairy. This is a fantastic chain of camping areas with backyard for the kids, hot showers, laundry and communal cooking areas being renovated under a new warranty insurance for builders according to the owners.

Wishing to make the most of Port Fairy’s dining establishment scene, we discovered an exceptional pizza location, Coffin Sally, which is popular with locals and holidaymakers alike. To help digest our dinner we went for a walk and headed through the dune to the lighthouse on Griffiths Island, a stunning island not too far from the main town, well worth a picture, and make sure you stop to spot wallabies hiding in the grass.

The next day we said bye to Victoria and headed on into South Australia to complete our Australian experience.

What was the most memorable part of the trip?

The very first day was magnificent. We chose to combat jetlag by going on a Yarra Valley Wine Tour. Our guide, Nick, was fantastic – amusing, sharp, and extremely experienced. We swirled, ate and drank through four different vineyards, culminating with bubbles at Domaine Chandon.

After an afternoon of R&R, we got on board the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant in Melbourne for a one of a kind dining experience. The fusion of old-world appeal and contemporary Australian food is wonderful. We had a scrumptious four-course meal accompanied with more fine Aussie wine while going through the city and suburban areas.

What did you not anticipate on your journey that pleasantly shocked you?

Food and beverages were such an unforeseen emphasis. Everything is fresh, fascinating and abundant and you do not have to pay a lot to obtain outstanding quality. The real warmth and hospitality of the locals is outstanding, everybody we saw was friendly, accommodating and super helpful.

The World’s Biggest Man-Made Marvels

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Fulfilling Shelley’s visitor from an antique land

As a school child in the Fifties, I needed to find out and recite Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias”. This poem has actually amazed me since. After retirement in 1996, on holiday in Luxor, I naturally needed to “search my Functions ye Mighty and misery”. The remains of Ozymandias remain in the Temple of Ramesses II, a brief taxi flight from the hotel I remained in.

I admired the engineering, building used by a crane and other equipment and transportation of 1,000 lots of pink granite throughout 170 miles of desert from Aswan. I stood in marvel as I lastly came, if not face to face, then a minimum of feet to foot with this amazing being.

Little did I understand, 40 years on, that exact same school child would remain in the desert, where “absolutely nothing next to remains around the decay of that enormous wreck, limitless and bare, the only and level sands extend far”. Of such occasions vacation memories are made.

Ethiopia’s mystical stone-hewn Jerusalem

Envision excavating a church below ground level from a single piece of rock. Lalibela in Ethiopia has not simply one, however 11 rock-hewn, monolithic churches. Developed by King Lalibela in the 12th century, they were his re-creation of Jerusalem so people would not need to journey to the city.

Our guide, Eskedar, led us down a high, rough course and we checked out the north-eastern cluster Bet Medhane Alem covered 800 sq m and had 72 pillars, while the wall paintings in Bet Maryam were still noticeable. In the south-east, Bet Abba Libanos is stated to have actually been built overnight by Lalibela’s spouse, helped by angels. Lastly there is the separated Bet Giyorgis, created in the shape of an in proportion cruciform tower.

The churches are still utilized for praise and seeing them loaded with white-robed priests and fans on Timkat, the Ethiopian Surprise, was a memorable experience.

An ancient marvel right on our doorstep

I have actually seen the Great Pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Structure and the mosaics in St Mark’s in Venice, all breathtaking; however the most impressive location I have actually gone to is the Shell Temple/Grotto in Margate, Kent. This strange underground area is covered with figures, wall hanging art and and signs made from shells pushed into cement blended not with water however with animal or fish oils. One corner was bomb-damaged, however hardly any repair with crane+hire has actually been required. Found by school children in 1835, its age doubts and no one understands who built it. Many authorities concur it is pre-Roman, most likely Phoenician.

The author Marie Corelli called it the eighth wonder of the world, and it’s on our doorstep. Drop in it.

Motivation and hope in Bosnia

The Old Bridge (Stari The majority of) at Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Unesco World Heritage Website and a great stone monolith even without the history and significance it holds. A bridge that symbolically signs up with East and West, it is set in the middle of Eastern Ottoman and Western European architecture and showcases serene partnership in between Eastern Orthodox Serbs, Sephardic Jews and Bosniak Muslims.

The bridge is made even more poignant by its damage in the Nineties war and the reunification of the city in 2004 when it was reconstructed. It is a sign of motivation and hope.

An awesome shrine to Buddhism in Japan

Without a doubt the most remarkable manufactured marvel I have actually seen is the Todaiji temple in Nara, Japan. It’s the biggest engineered timber structure worldwide and, glimpsing it from a range, it takes a while to capture your breath. When you get nearer, you see the most amazing statue in the nation and potentially the world, the Daibutsu, or Giant Buddha. It never ever cannot impress.

There are numerous big manufactured marvels, obviously, however this is on a more human scale and resonates with commitment and decision.

Empty echoes of brutalism in the Baltic

The Thirties Nazi beach resort of Prora, on Germany’s Baltic island, Rügen, is the longest structure complex worldwide. It is motivating in a melancholy method instead of uplifting, a purposeless shell that was never ever utilized, all human effort squandered, a 2 1/2- mile stretch of harsh concrete.

Its prize-winning architecture was planned to house 20,000 employees on holidays supplied by the program. All spaces under the timber frames neglect the shimmering Baltic and ideal beaches. Ballrooms, pool, casino and dining establishments were all part of the strategy.

Prora was never ever inhabited; the break out of war saw the release of the structure groups to rocket setups along the coast rather. Now prime real estate of a museum with modular exhibition spaces, brand-new vacation advancements and the biggest hostel in Germany, it is still mainly deserted– and artistically graffitied.

You can roam through Prora, the unfortunate wind sighing in the pines and lizards scuttling in the sand. Stroll the lonesome beach, looking for slivers of amber, poignant antiques of the past.

Great tourist destinations in Mexico

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It is true that we are living in an age where each single day passes away at a lightening fast pace. This pace is ever increasing with the passage of every single day. But there is no dearth in our interest in travel and tourism. As a matter of fact, tourism as an industry is gaining momentum all around the globe. In this regard the South American country of Mexico needs a separate mention for itself.

The World Tourism Organization has declared Mexico to have one of the biggest tourism industries in the world. There are ample reasons as to why so many people every year take to Mexico vacation and why travel to Mexico is ever gaining in popularity.
There are several Mexico destinations of great tourist interest that makes one’s proposition of a travel to Mexico something more than being worth the bill. Among these are the city destinations, the Mexico destinations on and around the beach areas, the destinations of great historic and cultural importance, and so on. As a result there are great variations that you cannot miss as you are traveling in Mexico and enjoying the exploits that this country ahs in offering for you.

Some of the great city destinations in Mexico are the capital and federal district of Mexico City, Oaxaca, Morelia in Michoacan, Zacatecas, Chiapas, Puebla, Guanajuato, and so on.
Mexico City, one of the most populous cities in the world, is also one of the greatest places for tourists to be in. There are several places of great tourist interest in the city. For instance there are the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun, the Mexican National Palace, Plaza de Toros Mexico, and regions like El Palenque, La Zona Rosa, or El Zocalo. Apart from these, there are several sites that bear good deal of relics from the Aztec civilization. As the capital of the country, Mexico City also has some of the best Mexico hotels where the tourists are provided with all sorts of facilities. This city is connected aerially to almost all important cities in the world. So, getting in to the city will be no problem at all. Other important cities are well connected with this capital city by an appreciable network of railway and regular bus services.

There is a good reserve of beach areas in the country and beach activities will keep you glued to the great Mexico destinations like Puerto Escondido, Cancun, Acapulco, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mazatlan, and so on.

There are several Mexico resorts of top quality in these locales. The natural beauty of these beach areas is enough to capture all sense of appreciation of any traveler. Add to this the range of beach activities including snorkeling and surfing. Transportation to and from these places is pretty appreciable. Since so many travelers every year visit these destinations, the infrastructure for transportation for these places is quiet strong. The same can also be said for the destinations that are known for the Meso-American relics as well as evidences of the works of the Aztecs.