LIFE BEYOND TOURISM BLOG

February 23, 2011

Across the Ocean…compared visitor’s experiences between Chicago and Florence

Hi bloggers,

let’s go back to discover your own travel stories!!
Today, we have Hannah Ring from Chicago, USA telling us about her experience, suggestions, and pictures of a Chicagoan living in Florence, Italy for four months:

“Becoming a local visitor is truly the only way to see the world and experience first hand the uniqueness, beauty, and culture of each location. In visiting places such as Chicago and also Florence, it takes not only visiting the most renowned museums or just walking back and forth down Michigan Avenue, but also uncovering the culture and what makes the cities “home” for the locals. Adjusting to the closing of shops for lunch in Florence or the mile a minute speed of Chicagoans is just the start of a journey to learn the different realities of life around the world.

Tourists come to the “Windy City” for all kinds of reasons be it the sports, the architecture, the lake, shopping, etc. There is always something to find for everyone. Having grown up in “Chi-Town”, I thrive on driving down the highway with the skyline in front of me, watching the Sears Tower and John Hancock building tower over the city. Looking from side to side in the city, you cannot help but be constantly distracted by flashing lights of the theater, shops or restaurants as you continue to follow the flow of pedestrians that guide you up and down the streets. I always love to go to Navy Pier, one of Chicago’s great tourist attractions on the lake, to take a ride on the Ferris Wheel or walk through Millenium Park to laugh at your pictures off the “bean”, a contemporary steel sculpture that is actually shaped like a bean and reflects the Chicago skyline. Although it does not compare to the museums of the most renowned artists in history, the Aquarium, Planetarium and Field Museums were my favorite weekend adventures when I was a kid and find myself even today wanting to return to these places to have a fun and exciting day in the city. It cannot be forgotten that Chicago has some of the best sports life in the country and nothing compares to a sunny day at Wrigley Field watching the Cubs baseball team play while eating a hotdog, or spending the night in the Bull’s and Blackhawk’s home arena, the United Center, with thousands of other Chicago sports fans bonding, cheering, and celebrating with each other. I love Chicago for its excitement, versatility, and opportunity and it definitely welcomes anyone that wants to experience the culture of the city.

Florence, on the other hand, is known around the world as a site of the most renowned Renaissance art, architecture and history, housed in museums such as the Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia, Bargello and many more. But beyond these first few essential tourist sites there are hundreds more spots to get a feel for the real Florentine culture, such as small churches, Italian shops, or piazzas. My first recommendation is to wander down the streets and alleyways of the city until you really don’t know where you are. Being able to orient yourself in relation to some of the many major landmarks in the city, such as the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, Santa Maria Novella Railway Station, Piazza della Santa Croce, or the Palazzo Vecchio, will enable anyone to learn about city and also discover all of its special niches off the beaten track. Restaurants, cafes, shops, and bars line every street you may find yourself on and there is nothing better than stopping for a homemade Italian meal, a cappuccino or pastry, and maybe even some of the best gelato afterwards. My first experience in Florence was sitting in a small café while just watching a flow of Italians stop in for a quick drink while standing at the bar and conversing simply among each other. Just listening to the fluidity of the Italian language and watching the hand gestures and expressions of Italians when they laugh and talk to each other cannot help but make you smile even if you cannot understand what is being said. My second recommendation would be to walk up to the Saint Michelangelo’s Square, which sits on top of a hill not far across the river, and see the most amazing view of the city from above. It allows you to appreciate the beautiful location of the city as it sits among the mountains of Tuscany. Being able to appreciate both the history and the beauty of the Florentine lifestyle is the most important aspect of traveling to this one of a kind city.

Although the two locations are separated by many other countries and even an ocean, the experience of touring in a new environment and retaining a piece of each culture truly does make the world a smaller place.”

Thanks Hannah! And now it’s your turn, reader … send us your  travel story by writing at web@lifebeyondtourism.org!

Millenium Park
Advertisements

December 10, 2010

Zakopane Style lands in California, USA

Hi bloggers,

do you remember Marta Norenberg’s article on Polish architectural Zakopane style!?? If not, check it out at this link because we have discovered that a brand-new Zakopane-styled-cottage is under construction in Sierra Nervadas in California (USA), 40 miles north of  Lake Tahoe! The place is called Grizzly Ranch.

On November 19th 2010, Paul R. Bolt commented on Marta’s article informing us about the project, as well as about its architectural connections with European carvings. As Paul explained: “we are utilizing this beautiful architectural style in an alpine project, a compound to be built in the high Sierra Mtns […]. The compound will be appropriately named Zakopane, and we will be incorporating European wood and stone carvings.” The team is travelling and reasearching among European and Asian architectural sites, in order to carefully reproduce the style’s details.

The project is currently in the final planning phases. Constuction of the first building will be starting on April 2011, and will consists of a 200 square meter Caretaker’s Cabin. Architectural style of the Tatras Mtns will be used; and an European-styled-wood carvings executed in the village of Jepara (Java, Indonesia) will be incorporated.  In addition, antique stone flooring from several temples in China, as well as stone carvings from several workshops in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China will be part of the decoration.
In Stage Two – Paul specifies – “we will construct a Main Hall of 600 square meters with grand stone fireplace, formal eating and kitchen areas, and multiple bunk room/sleeping areas for guests.”

Production is by “a world-class architectural firm from Bozeman, Montana, called Pearson Design Group. Larry Pearson and his team are perhaps the number one design team in North America, when it comes to log and stone.  Because of their involvement, the entire project will be promoted and printed in magazines and books around the world.”

Thank you Paul, we will certainly keep in touch throghout the process, and we are looking forward to see the final realization of the Grizzly Ranch!

Article by Alessandra Brignola

November 24, 2010

Live again Kratky’s photo-exhibition in Florence!

During the week of November 15, 2010 until November 21, 2010, we had the pleasure of attending a photo exhibition by a Czech photographer, Frantisek Kratky. The exhibition was held at the Auditorium al Duomo, right  in  the centre of Florence, and is another part of our expanding Life Beyond Tourism project.

The exhibition formally opened on the evening of November 15, where guests that included students, professors, and people from around the world, could stop in to enjoy this nostalgic exhibition.

The exhibition showed Italy during the late nineteenth century and is titled: Italy 1897 Stereotypical Views of the Bohemian Photographer Frantisek Kratky. This exhibition was in collaboration with the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic of Tuscany, led by Giovanna Dani Del Bianco.

Many students and professors from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and several other countries, attended the event to support this beautiful cultural encounter. Although this exhibition reveals breathtaking photos of Italy’s major cities such as Rome, Florence, and Venice during the nineteenth century, there is more to their histories than just the interesting pictures. This event represents one of the primary aspects and goals of Life Beyond Tourism. It demonstrates the establishment of a cultural link between Italy and the Czech Republic and reveals how a man such as Kratky is extremely interested in discovering a culture other than his own. The manifestation conveyed more than just the major tourist attractions of Italy at the time, such as Brunelleschi’s Dome and Saint Peter’s Square. It instead revealed beyond the gorgeous architecture and into the deeper culture of Italy such as its people on the streets, the animals in the countryside, and the way the two interacted during the time period. It is here that one’s life beyond tourism actually begins. It is only when one starts to interact directly with the culture and environment in which they are surrounded, that they can create an intercultural dialogue that establishes a powerful link between two cultures.

Article by Lauren Di Bartolomeo, United States – Life Beyond Tourism University Delegate 2010

October 25, 2010

Tourism as a mean of health rehabilitation

Tuscany, Italy

Tourism is not just an interesting thing in our life, but useful, and even necessary.
This is a purposeful journey with stops in the spiritual centers of the world with a view to restoring the health of the tourist.
This opens new aspects of tourism. This view allows you to consider our stay in another country as an opportunity to improve your health. Even when we go to a lot of new places (or move more than in our hometown), a the new landscape/environment brings us to new emotions/feelings – all these actions  within our body are beneficial.

Here we can consider three different aspects of  benefit: cognitive, emotional, and physical.

Cognitive
a) opportunity
. clinics
. mean of therapy
. medicine
b) ergonomics
c) logistics
. step-aerobics

Emotional
a) change of environment
. as a means of  “switching off” the low state of body and mind
b) body chemistry (Endorfine)   – walking
———————————–
nature – environment – people

Physical
Physical training therapy & food
. food
. fresh air (metabolism  and body training)
. blood eritrocits
———————–
SPA

While at the same time we provide some suggestins within the classic travelling experience:
– visit pristine places of the world, rich in unique culture and spiritual heritage of antiquity
– cho0se clean areas, ecological food, intimacy with nature
– smooth communication with carriers of unique knowledge in the field of medicine
– individual approach to the tourist in the preparation of his course of rehabilitation
– organized by treatment with the provision of shelter and food

– by Okasana Mironenko, Life Beyond Tourism University Delegate 2010 from Ukraine

Carpathian Mountains, Ukraine

Dolomite Mountains, Italy

October 21, 2010

Solemn water in the hills

[By Marina Rogulina, Tomsk, Russia – Life Beyond Tourism University Delegates Program – September 2010]

All people all over the world, who like to travel, while preparing for their new trip, think about those places which they have not seen yet. We may open google research page and find there are a lot of information about all possible variants for your holidays, prices, comments, etc … One would choose vocations at the sea or visiting different magnificent well-known places in the world. As well, one can find the information about a small town in Altayskij region in Russia. The name of it is “Belokuriha”. According to the advertising prospects, you may have really nice time there, to visit different magnificent places, to have therapy if you need. But the most interesting thing is, in my opinion, the small fountain of solemn water. Unfortunately, there is not any word about it advertising prospects.
Every famous place has its own legends. The purpose of it is to attract the greatest number of tourists. But speaking about this small source of the “saint” water, I must say for sure, that it has really powerful influence on people. The main sense of this power is to cure people from different diseases, either moral or physic. Many people come here not only from the nearest villages, but also from other big cities. Once coming here, you may take a glass of water, just drink it or wash your face/hands with it. It would improve your health, and mood.

It is useful to drink this water for both children and adults. One more fact is that while drinking this water you may think about you wishes, dreams and they will fill with positive emotions and will come true soon.

This water source is called saint because Saint Seraphim gave it to people who were supposed to die soon: they were instead recovering after drinking this water. The source is situated at the bottom of the hill and nowadays people do everything to improve the access to this wonderful place.

 

October 13, 2010

Regional architecture in Poland – Zakopane Style otherwise Witkiewicz Style

Hi bloggers
Today I would like to share with you an information about the style in regional Polish architecture, which is kept in my country from above hundred years.
The Zakopane Style was introduced to architecture by Stanisław Witkiewicz in the nineteenth century, and we can now find fragments of this style in present buildings. The name of the style comes from the name of the place where this style first appeared in buildings – Zakopane. Now, it is a popular touristy city comprising within  Tatry mountains. Unfortunatelyk, many tourists do not return the attention on this beautiful wooden architecture.

In the nineteenth century, Zakopane was a small village. In 1890, Stanislaw Witkiewicz settled in Zakopane. He is a painter, architect and theoretician of the art who has extended this city. He imitated on góral (the occupants of mountains) traditional building, and he added  to these the elements of secession. Witkiewicz extended the country hut so that the magnificent villa came into being. Villas were placed on high underpinning brick stones. Walls were adorned with bas-reliefs and floral and geometrical patterns. A veranda called przyłap, and a little room on the loft – wyglądy – were the different characteristic element of houses. The Zakopane style was proclaimed national style. The Witkiewicz’s  style found his imitators in different cities, not only on mountain terrains. In this style also furniture, home equipments, clothes, articles from chinas, musical instruments and souvenirs were made. The elements of góral culture also influenced composers and writers works.

At present,  museums commemorating former customs of the inhabitants of the mountains are located in ancient villages, and it is possible to examine  both traditional dresses and furniture and equipment of flats.

If  in your country there are some interesting local styles/details, please share observations about them!

By Marta Norenberg
Life Beyond Tourism University Delegate – October 2010

October 11, 2010

On a mysterious ornament

Dear bloggers,

together with our Life Beyond Tourism University Delegate Aygun Aghakishibayova we will discover some of the details of Azerbijan’s architecture.. enjoy!!

“Architecture of Azerbaijan is rich with varied contrasts. They appear as in the central part of the city and beyond its borders. Today I invite you to look at the building of Azerbaijan Architecture and Construction University in Baku…
But before that, I will say a few words about cultural influence.

Propagation of the Muslim religion had a great influence on the national architecture because it defined certain conditions. For example, you can not use images of  human beings, and this contributed to the flourishing of decorative arts. Architectural ornament has become widely used to decorate buildings.

In 1970-1980 in Baku, a new building hosting the Civil Engineering Institute –  where I study – was designed and built. Unremarkable reinforced concrete structure was built during the Soviet period and was no different from others. In order to decorate the building,  geometrical patterns were designed along the entire facade on the concrete panels. At first glance it’s just plain dash. But if you look closely, you can discern the word “Allah” performed by Kufic Arabic script!!! And this interestinlgy was during the Soviet period. To hide a sign, the author has made the words in mirror-type, and each successive image is made upside down so that it was not recognizable by the government.

They built in the most ‘stagnant’ way during the Soviet era. And surprisingly, that Soviet Intelligence had overlooked it. After all,  if  government would have  caught the author’s  idea of using the word “Allah” on the building of the higher education institution they owned, he would have had a very hard time. But the y didn’t  notice it…

This is just an example. But I think it helps to understand that Baku is the city of contrast. And most unusual moments can be found in the usual places.”

September 29, 2010

Village Lagich

Hello bloggers,

today, we are gonna travel to the village of Lagich in Azerbaijan with our Life Beyond Tourism University Delegate Gulnara Safarova from Baku, Azerbaijan! Enjoy the trip!

Last summer I visited a very beautiful and interesting place.

Insulation made Lagich a very atypical place within Azerbaijan: there  still is widespread Indo-European dialect, coming from the old Persian language. The settlement was originally an important center of copper production, but it soon subsided. Then, handicrafts remained here the main activity for a long period.
Today, the main income comes from tourism, carpet weaving, and copper work (pot, samovars …).

Due to frequent earthquakes the village developed its own way of projecting buildings, with the traditional technique of the transverse connection of stone and wood. But you can visit a lot of other very interesting places in Lagich just walking down the streets, visiting the Museum and the Mosque, viewing shops, and visiting the manufactory of carpet weaving.

Lagich is an ancient village, which has not changed, despite modern times!

September 14, 2010

Architectural- ethnographic museum Hohlovka

Perm architectural – ethnographic museum (real wooden city) is located in a village called with the same name, which is 45 kilometers from Perm. The museum is located on a picturesque high hill washed by the Kama river on the three sides.

19 monuments of wooden architecture of the Perm area (XVII-XX centuries) are located here on 42 hectares.
In this area you can see the houses of that period, observe how people lived, and know about their occupation and their way of life. Besides, on this territory there are specific houses: the mill, the fire station, Russian baths and others.

Nowadays,  in exhibitions guests can also see the objects connected with the traditional occupations of local people of that time.

Besides, the guests of this open air museum can also feel the magnificent energy of the place, adore the Urals landscape which is unforgettable at any time of the year.

Life Beyond Tourism University Delegate Natalya , Russia

September 10, 2010

Discovering Shemakha, Azerbaijan

Hi blogger,

today we will discover Shemakha, in Azerbaijan together with our Life Beyond Tourism University Delegate Gulnara Safarova from Baku (Azerbijan), who wrote us:

“I would like to tell about Shemakha. Shamakhs-old Azerbaijani town with a population of 43,000 inhabitants. Shemakha is a city of my ancestors. They were born and brought my grandfather and grandmother. Despite the fact that I go there very often, I love this city.

The town is situated at an altitude of 800 meters above sea level in the southern part of the Greater Caucasus, on the road Baku – Tbilisi, 122 km west of Baku and 72 km.north-east of the railway station Kurdamir, in the valley Pirsagat.

Shamakha rich mountain forests and meadows, is located in areas of moderate humidity. Most of this area is a resort area with numerous springs of mountain water.

Shemakha – it is also a recognized center of winemaking and carpet weaving. And yet, this is a literary city, is home of  many of the poets.

By the way, located near Shemakha an amazing place called Pirguli, famous for its snow. It is one of the few places in Azerbaijan where you can enjoy an active winter recreation: skiing and snowboarding.

Pirguli

Astronomical observatory

Also in Pirguli is an observatory. They say that in Shamakha the weather is  cloudless for 300 days a year. So in the mountains of Pirguli they built an astronomical observatory, very well known even far outside Azerbaijan.

The main attraction of the city is the fortress of Gulistan (XI-XII cc.) – the last refuge of  Shirvanshakhs, built to defend the borders of the city. No less interesting mausoleum is the Yeddi-Gumbez (Seven Domes) with numerous graves ruins of buildings from the X-XVII centuries.”

One of the Seven Domes: Yeddi-Gumbez

Baba Dervish

Juma Mosque

Old tomb stones

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.