Posted by: RasmaSandra | September 11, 2021

Beautiful Helena

The capital of the US state of Montana is Helena and it’s also the county seat of Lewis and Clark county. During the Montana gold rush Helena was founded as a gold camp and established on October, 30, 1864.

The State Capitol has a tall dome and “Lady Liberty” is perched on top. The historic building has impressive granite columns. You can tour the interior including the Old Law Library, the Capital Rotunda, and see the painting adorning the walls.

Last Chance Gulch is a prosperous area of Helena and the place where the city got its start. Today it serves as the heart of a lovely downtown district. Businesses and storefronts line both sides of Last Chance Gulch and some locals refer to it as Main Street.

South of Sixth Street, Last Chance Gulch is a landscaped pedestrian mall and has become a popular place for strolling. The vehicle-free downtown area has historic buildings, statues, and a retired Trolley Car. In the evenings you can find a vibrant nightlife with entertainment.

Mount Helena is an iconic landmark and the flagship natural attraction of the city. Above Reeder’s Alley there are trail heads on the neighborhood hillsides. The park encompasses more then 600 acres and several miles of hiking trails. One of the most popular routes is the 1906 Trail leading to the summit for some spectacular views or take the steep Powerline Trail.

Reeder’s Alley has buildings dating back to the 1870s. It is located in the southwest corner of downtown and gives a look into Helena’s past. Today it has modern storefronts, a restaurant, office space, and the Visit Helena Montana office.

The Pioneer Cabin is the oldest registered domicile in the city and available for public tours.
The Montana Historical Society with large sculptures on the lawn is adjacent to the State Capitol. The society hosts the Montana’s Museum that features several exhibits and galleries.

Montana Historical Museum has collections detailing the time of Lewis and Clark in Montana and takes a look into the Montana frontier and past pioneers. A large portion of the museum is dedicated to the history and daily lives of the region’s indigenous populations.

The original Governor’s Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places near downtown Helena. The mansion was built as a private residence. The three-story Queen Anne mansion began hosting the Governor and his relatives in 1913 and housed nine different families over nearly 50 years. It is open for guided tours between May and September. You can have a look into the life of early 20th century Montana.

The Cathedral of Saint Helena has twin spires. The Gothic cathedral has gone through restorations. Guided tours are available. The cathedral has lovely stained-glass windows and you can walk around the property along the manicured green grass to truly see the beauty of the building.

Gates of the Mountain is located twenty miles north of Helena and managed by the Helena National Forest. Meriwether Lewis coined the name during an expedition when he saw how the Missouri River met up with limestone cliffs in this beautiful wilderness area. There are miles of hiking trails and picnic areas to relax and enjoy the view. Boat tours are available.

Holter Museum is a cultural hub of the city. It hosts regional, national, and international art exhibits. There are various events throughout the year like family trivia nights, fall art walks and more. You’ll find educational programs including classes and workshop for all ages.

Spring Meadow Lake State Park is located on the western edge of the city with great views of Mount Helena. The lake is the central attraction and you can swim, fish, or skate here depending on the season. Non-motorized boating is popular. The park offers free personal flotation device rental. There are shaded areas for picnics overlooking the water. A short nature trail will take you all around the lake and you can spot various wildlife.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | September 11, 2021

Lovely Parnu

Our armchair tours have taken us to the Baltic Country in northern Europe of Estonia. The country borders the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. It has more than 1,500 islands and diverse terraine with rocky beaches, old growth forest and many lakes.

We begin our tours in Parnu is a lovely, sunny town in Estonia that has been named as the country’s official summer capital. Tourists love it in the summer when they can enjoy the sand, the sun and the sea. The shores that surround Parnu are the warmest in Estonia. It is an internationally recognized city and has the status of being a Hanseatic city.

The Parnu Museum is where you can learn all about the history of this city. The museum features 11,000 years worth of Parnu history. Its main exhibition displays local development from Neolithic times up to the late 80s. There is also a mini-cinema that shows archival films. They are proud to show the “Stone-Age Madonna”. This is the oldest human shaped sculpture in the Baltic Sea area – about 8,000 years old. Other great displays include a 14th century merchant ship and a glass floor through which you can view archaeological remnants of one of the town’s historic gates.

Lydia Koidula Memorial Museum is dedicated to the life and work of the matriarch of Estonian poetry.

The museum is housed in the 1850s era parish school where Koidula grew up.

Opposite the Pärnu Vanapark, the Pärnu Transformation of Our Lord Church was built between 1902 and 1904 for the city’s growing Eastern Orthodox population, which had become too big for the 18th-century Ekateriina’s Church. Constructed in the Old Russian style, a 38m (125ft) facade of somber red brick rests on a granite base, while the interior has an altar displaying more than 20 icons and religious paintings.

Enjoy taking a look at the brightly-painted Russian Orthodox Church, Ekateriina Church. It is impressive both inside and our and was built by Catherine II. You can look at the ornate icons inside of the church.

The oldest building in Parnu is the Red Tower or Punane Torn. This is a squat, round bastion that dates back to the 15th century. It once guarded the edge of town and is now located right in the center. You can take a look at the wine bar/art shop to see the interior of the tower.

Vallikaar is the remains of the town rampart that once surrounded Parnu around Ohtu Street and is now a nice park. As you walk along the rampart wall toward the river you’ll see spectacular views of the moat and marina. Here you can also see an old, wooden lighthouse and a cannon. In the amphitheater concerts are held.

Parnu is also a great place to relax as it has many vast, green areas to do some strolling. There is Koldula Park located adjacent to the Old Town area. This is a lovely park to walk in among colorful flower beds and there is also a fountain.

Rannapark established in 1882 is right next to the beach. Here you can see various sculptures as well as flower gardens. For children there are play-areas.

Pärnu Beach is one of Estonia’s top summer resorts. Backing onto the Pärnu Rannapark, about a 20-minute walk from the city centre, the beach’s warm, shallow waters, minigolf courses, playgrounds and ice-cream vendors make it especially popular with families. There are also several surfing joints, rentable loungers and parasols, as well as plenty of beach bars on the promenade, ideal for snacks and cocktails after a day on the sand.

If you’re visiting Parnu in the summertime then you’ll want to do what other tourists do and that is head straight for the beach when you arrive. You can be sure that Parnu begins and ends with its white sand beaches. You can sunbathe or watch volleyball games. A must see is the beach house that dates back to 1939. The building has an unusual mushroom-shaped balcony, right on the beach. Close-by is Kuursaal a wooden beach salon dating back to 1893. You can participate in kayaking and windsurfing if you wish.

Kuursaal, a restaurant and musical salon was built in the 1880s. On summer evening you can find entertainment on the outdoor stage. You can listen to music, dance and have dinner, enjoying the largest pub in Estonia.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 29, 2021

Billings On the Yellowstone River

Our armchair travels across the USA have taken us to the state of Montana. This western state has diverse terrain from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains.

Our first stop is Billings, Montana’s largest city on the banks of the Yellowstone River. The city is known as Montana’s trailhead and is surrounded by Big Sky landscapes and public spaces great for hiking.

The Rimrocks are a defining geological feature of Billings. These are a long wall of sandstone cliffs that run across the northern edge of town. It is a favorite place for sightseeing, watching sunsets, and in-city recreations.

The Rimrocks were deposited by an ancient inland seaway and carved out over millions of years by the Yellowstone River. You’ll find many trailheads here.

Zimmerman Park is a popular place to relax on the northwest side of town, It is also a place where you can go mountain biking and trail running. It is a favorite with rock climbers for its bolted climbing routes.

At Swords Park and Phipps Park you’ll find more Rimrock trails for exploring, You can get great views of the Yellowstone Valley and the Beartooth Mountains.

Moss Mansion was constructed in 1903 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, The mansion was built for entrepreneur Preston Boyd and his family, Many of the original furnishings and decorations have been well-preserved. Self guided and docent led tours are available. The museum hosts several events like the Springfest Artisians Fair and the Haunted Moss in autumn.

ZooMontana is a unique facility, It features natural habitats and animals adapted to the region. Animals making their home here include grizzly bears, gray wolves, and great horned owls. Many of these wild animals could not longer live in the wild but got a second chance at the zoo. There are natural barriers like ravines and cliffs.

Pictograph is a unique state park with a scenic five-mile drive southeast of Billings. The park is among the best state parks in Montana. It has three caves filled with archaeological wonder. About 30,000 artifacts have been recovered from Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost Cave within the park and include over 100 cave paintings some of which are over 2,000 years old.

An interpretive trail connects all three caves. At the entrance to the caves are plaques and other educational resources. Also in the park you’ll find restrooms and picnic areas.

The Yellowstone Art Museum or YAM is located in downtown Billings. It highlights artwork from the northern Rocky Mountain and Northern Plains regions. There is a permanent art collection of more than 7,300 works of art. Rotating exhibits are curated by local artists.

You can enjoy a self-guided tour through the museum, The museum also hosts educational programs for both children and adults.

DanWalt Gardens is located on the southeast side of the city, The gardens feature new blooms between April and October. There are collections of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees. You can see ornamental statues.

Riverfront Park sits on the banks of the Yellowstone River. It has places for picnics, pavilions, and hiking trails. It is a great place to take a walk among nature. Most of the park is situated around Lake Josephine and along the shore you can find horseshoe pits and sand volleyball spots. There is boating and fishing available.

The Western Heritage Center has many stories about the history of the Yellowstone River Valley and Northern High Plains. In the museum are more than 35,000 artifacts . Self-guided and guided torus are available.

The museum is housed in the historic 1901 former Billings Library and features regularly rotating displays that range from indigenous cultural artifacts to wildlife and biology research, There are community programs among them a High Noon Lecture series and historic walking tours.

Lake Elmo State Park is located on the north side of Billings and around the shores of Lake Elmo. There are hiking trails and fishing from Roger’s Pier. Here you’ll find a playground, a swimming beach, and picnic tables around the lake. On the west banks is an off-leash dog park a favorite with dog owners, Boating is popular with only non-motorized boats.

The Pryor Mountains are a great experience and offer one of the most beautiful landscapes in Montana. There are two uplifted mountain blocks – Big Pryor Mountain and East Pryor Mountain. They lie between the state of Wyoming and Billings.

The plateaus rise high at about 8,000 feet. The surrounding area has nearly 1,000 species of plants and trees that are nearly 500 years old, The landscape has wildlife like bighorn sheep, mountain lions, golden eagles and calliope hummingbirds.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 29, 2021

Beautiful Copenhagen

Copenhagen the capital of Denmark is the largest city in the country. It has a distinct European feel to it and a unique cafe culture.

Tivoli Gardens is a popular amusement park pleasure garden right in the center of the city dating back from 1843. You’ll find yourself in a village with shops and pathways. There are over 20 attractions among them a roller coaster, roundabouts, and open-air theaters. You can relax in the restaurants and cafes, flower gardens and enjoy Tivoli, when it is lit up at night.

The National Museum offers runic stones on display. The Danish history collections have a sun chariot that is over 2,000 years old, Romanesque and Gothic church fittings, Danish porcelain and silver and collections of antiquities and coins. You’ll enjoy the ethnographic collections with items from Greenland. There are also collections that include items from Asia, Africa, and Oceania.

Christiansborg Palace sits on the tiny island of Slotsholmen and is the Danish seat of government. The palace has a history of over 800 years. Today it is home to the Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court. Much of the palace is open to the public.

The National Gallery of Denmark displays the largest collection of Danish art from the 1700s to the present day. There are also impressive art works from around the world. Among the highlights are the Danish and Nordic art exhibitions as well as paintings by the Dutch Masters, Edvard Munch, and Picasso among others.

Nyhaven or New Harbor is a beautiful area with brightly painted gabled buildings that line the canal. There are shops, restaurants, and cafes.

At the end of the harbor you’ll find a memorial to Danish sailors who lost their lives in WW II. Museum ships are anchored here. You can get sightseeing trips around the harbor and long the canal.

The Little Mermaid is a world-famous statue which is one of the top tourist attractions in Copenhagen. it was created in 1913 to depict the heroine from the story “The Little Mermaid” by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. She is visited by more then a million visitors every year and is considered to be the most photographed statue in Denmark.

Den Bla Planet which is also known as the National Aquarium Denmark was designed to look like a whirlpool. It is the largest aquarium in Northern Europe and one of the top attractions in Copenhagen.

The walls of the building evoke rolling waves and the inner pathways flow like tributaries from the central core through eight sections. You can see everything from eagle rays to turtles to hammerhead sharks to seahorses to moray eels and to alligators.

You can watch the otters play and touch a sea creature in the tropical touch pool.

The Round Tower on Kabmagergade is a 36-meter-high structure that was built as an observatory in 1642. Today in the tower is a small collection that is connected with the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.

At the tower you’ll find that you can reach the viewing platform by climbing a wide spiral ramp. The views from the top over Copenhagen are panoramic. The newest attraction is a glass floor that hovers 25 meters above the ground and you can stand on it and look down into the castle’s core. The Round Tower features the well-known story by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen “The Tinderbox” – “eyes as big as the Round Tower.”

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Rosenborg Palace is just a 10-minute walk from the Round tower and is home to some of Denmark’s greatest cultural treasures. It was originally built by Christian IV as a pleasure palace. The castle became a museum in 1838 and in the basement you’ll find the Danish crown jewels and royal regalia.

Some of the highlights are the Marble Room, a Baroque reception room and the Knights’ Hall with the Coronation Throne as well as the famous Rosenborg Tapestries.

Amalieborg Palace is a lovely castle with waterfront gardens. It is the sister palace of Rosenborg. The four palaces that face onto the square were built as homes for the nobility, but were taken over by the Royal Family after a fire at Christiansborg in 1794.

The upper story of Christian IX Palace is occupied by Queen Margrethe II and her family.

Moltke Palace is for official purposes.

Stroget Shopping Mile is the bustling shopping area where you can find plenty of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Its nickname Stroget was given in the 1800s and it consists of several roads crisscrossing one another. They begin at Town Hall Square and end at Kongens Nytorv. The Stroget is pedestrianized.

Town Hall Square is dominated by Copenhagen Town Hall with a mix of Italian Renaissance and medieval Danish architecture.

You can climb up to the top of the tower which is 106 meters high and the tallest in the city to get spectacular views all around, The building is decorated with sculptures and paintings.

The World Clock at the main entrance was designed and built by Jans Olsen in 1955. It shows the time and date as well as various astronomical constellation.

Christiania is one of Denmark’s most loved tourist attractions. This “freetown” is a functioning alternative society, where many usual norms don’t apply and people live by their own rules. Cars are banned and people get about on bikes. Horses roam free.

The highlights here are the impressive houses and buildings and the large lake were children enjoy themselves on hot summer days, There are small shops and cafes that take a special Christiania currency.

Copenhagen Zoo is a bit over three kilometers from the city center and was founded in 1859. It is one of the oldest and largest zoos in Europe. The animals live in natural surroundings and you can watch polar bears, seals, lions and other animals being fed, At the entrance is an observation tower.

Among the favorite exhibits are the bird lake with storks and pelicans, the reptile house, monkey house, and the lion’s den. Of special interest is the Norman-Foster-designed elephant enclosure.

Baaken an amusement park is about a 20-minute drive north of Copenhagen. It has various amusements as well as restaurants and cafes and fun things for younger children to do.

Baaken has been open since 1583 and has six coasters and over 30 different rides, including a ghost train. It is surrounded by woods and parkland.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 5, 2021

Amazing Austin

Austin is the capital of Texas and is an island city that borders the Hill Country region. The city is known for its eclectic live music scene centered around rock, blues, and country, There are many parks and lakes in the city so people can enjoy hiking, biking, swimming and even boating.

The State Capitol was completed in 1888 and is home to the office of the State Governor and the Chamber of the Texas Legislature. It is protected as a National Historic Landmark. It is an impressive building at 308 feet tall ranking as the sixth tallest state capitol and is even taller than the US Capitol in Washington DC.

Visitors enjoy strolling in the park along the tree-lined path known as the Great Walk and can enjoy seeing the many monuments –

Texas African American History Monument,

the Vietnam War Monument,

and a bronze statue of a Texas Ranger. There is even a miniature Statue of Liberty that was presented in 1951 by the Boy Scouts of America.

On the grounds is a visitor center that features exhibits about the history of Austin and the state of Texas. Free tours are available daily or visitors can take a self-guided tour.

Zilker Metropolitan Park is the city’s most popular green space. The recreation area lies along Lady Bird Lake, There are grassy spaces for relaxing or having picnics. Other activities are riverside walking trails, volleyball courts, and a disc golf course.

Zilker Park is also home to the Zilker Playscape which is a large playground with its own section made just for kids aged two to five. Kids also enjoy the Zilker Zephyr, a miniature train running along the water’s edge.

Water recreations includes canoe and boat rentals as well as enjoying the Barton Springs Pool. The park hosts major musical event among them the Zilker Hillside Theater’s annual Zilker Summer Musical, Blues on the Green, and the celebrated Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Zilker Botanical Garden is a lovely area with several themed gardens.

Among the specialty gardens are the Hartman Prehistoric Garden that was built around ancient dinosaur footprints found embedded in the rocks and

the Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden featuring waterfalls and ponds.

Other attractions in Zilker Park:

The Austin Nature and Science Center is enjoyed for its interactive exhibits and programs. There are many walking trails and it hosts special events.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum offers visitors a number of artworks by 20th century sculptor Charles Umlauf. The outdoor sculptures are on display among the trees, gardens and ponds surrounding the museum. Visitors can find out more about the artist with exhibits about his life and displays of his personal artifacts and mementos. There are also temporary exhibits of other artists’ work and events like concerts, workshops, and even yoga classes among the sculptures outside. Guided tours are available.

Lady Bird Lake was named in honor of the wife of the 36th President of the US Lyndon B, Johnson. It is actually a section of the Colorado River and the flowing reservoir has become on the the city’s top recreation areas. Even though it is lined with hotels and residential complexes, a majority of its shoreline is open to the public with miles of trail for both pedestrians and cyclists.

Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is the main pedestrian path. Pedestrian Bridge crosses the river and connects downtown Austin with the southern shore. The paths also connect with many of the other city parks.

The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail also leads to other popular tourist sites near the river such as the Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue, Congress Avenue Bridge, the Long Center of Performing Arts, and the Barton Springs Municipal Pool.

Motorized boats are forbidden but the Texas Rowing Center rents out kayaks and canoes and gives lessons. There is also the Rowing Dock offering rentals and instructions for paddle boards, kayaks, and paddle boats.

Among the most unusual things to do in Austin is to go to the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to enjoy the evening flight of the Mexican free-tailed bats that make the bridge their home, They come out to take a flight each evening from March to November.

It is amazing to see them fly from beneath the bridge and dine on mosquitoes, moths, grasshoppers, and other flying pests. It can take up to 45 minutes for all of them to leave the bridge.People enjoy watching them in the area surrounding the bridge or from boats on the water or even the Statesman Bat Observation Center on the south end of the bridge.

The University of Texas at Austin is the first of the Texas University System Campuses. It is home to several top tourist attractions.

The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art has a permanent collection of 17,000 European, American, and Latin American artworks. It also hosts temporary exhibits.

The Harry Ransom Center has a permanent collection of rare literature and printed materials. There are temporary exhibits and collections on display. Among the most prized are a Gutenberg Bible from the mid-fifteenth century.

The Texas Memorial Museum is part of the Natural Science Center at the University of Texas. It has a huge collection of items that represent the natural and cultural history of the Lone Star State. Among the highlights are numerous dinosaur displays, fossils, gems, and minerals, as well as the famous Wichita County meteorite, a large space rock regarded as a medicine stone by Comanche Indians.

Also at the university is the landmark UT Tower which is infamous for the tragic shooting in 1966. It rises up at a height of 307 feet and the tower offers lovely 360 degree views of the city. Self-guided tours include information on the architecture and history of the structure.

The Bullock Texas State History Museum tells the story of Texas through interactive exhibits as well as audio visual displays and films. The permanent Story Of Texas exhibit has artifacts and display featuring events in the state’s history. The museum IMAX Theater shows educational and popular new release films. Special events are also hosted.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is one of the most visited attractions and has over 45 million pages of historical documents and papers from President Johnson’s long career. The museum includes exhibits relating to the president’s time in office and important issues of the day among them the rise of the civil rights movement. There ia an impressive replica of the Oval Office during his presidency and temporary exhibits relating to American history.

Mount Bonnell is one of the most popular hiking trails being close to the city center, The highest point in the city reached 775 feet and provides amazing views of downtown Austin and the 360 Bridge.

It looks out across the Colorado River. You can enjoy views from the lookout deck and pavilion climbing up 102 stairs to the top, Pets are welcome on the path and at the observation deck and visitors enjoy picnicking.

McKinney Falls State Park is located 15 minutes south of downtown Austin. Onion Creek flows through the park. It is home to turtles and the filing pools are great for swimming, You can swim in the upper and lower falls creek and there are rocks and little beach areas to relax and catch the sun.

Walkers and cyclists enjoy the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail, By the water are sycamores, pecan trees and bald cypresses. On the Homestead Trail are the remains of a limestone built house that was constructed by merchant William F. McKinney who owned the land.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 4, 2021

Beautiful Skagen

Our armchair travels have taken us to Denmark. The first stop will be the town of Skagen.

Imagine visiting a lovely place full of natural beauty and playful seals to delight you at the harbor. Such a place is Skagen which is located at the northern tip of Jutland. Its beauty has always been appreciated by painters who are often drawn here.

Skagen offers fascinating light and is one of Denmark’s most important fishing harbors. During the summers lots of yachts come sailing into the harbor. All of the houses here are yellow in color and some are available for rental to tourists. At the harbor you can see red warehouses which also house restaurants. Visitors to Skagen can see that it is an artist’s bohemia, has a fishing industry and lots of natural beauty. It’s delightful to watch the seals enjoying life at the harbor.

There are many things of interest to do and see in Skagen. From the late 1870s to the turn of the century a group of Scandinavian artists known as the Skagen Painters came to this area every summer. Here they loved the scenery, the quality of light and the fishermen. This all encouraged them to paint like French Impressionists and now their works can be seen on display.

For art lovers the place to visit is the Skagen Museum. This museum was founded in the dining room at Brodum’s Hotel. There are a lot of paintings to be viewed on display by the Skagen Painters. Altogether there are 1,900 works of art. You can also see the Garden House found in the museum garden. This is one of Skagen’s oldest buildings. Different kinds of exhibitions are held here and it also houses the museum café.

Anchers Hus is the former home of renowned Skagen painters Anna and Michael Ancher. The interior remains the same as in their lifetime. You can see their personal possessions and around 250 artworks from Scandinavian, German, Dutch, and British artists. There is a cafe, a small shop and a separate gallery for temporary exhibits.

You can find lots of artworks and handicraft on sale at the exclusive galleries here in Skagen. This artist’s colony and fishermen’s village offers fine boutiques for shopping and restaurants offer delicious fresh fish dishes.

Take a look at Denmark’s second tallest lighthouse the Gray Lighthouse built in 1858. For fantastic views walk up the spiral staircase to the extended balcony. This is a lightning lighthouse since its beam extends for a distance of 50 km.

The Skagen Church was built in 1841. It has an interesting design, fascinating interior decorations and a new color scheme.

In the center of Skagen you’ll discover the Skagen Bamesmuseum or Teddy Bear Museum. Here you can see teddy bears on display which belong to the private collection of owner Jonna Thygesen. This is the only teddy bear museum in Scandinavia and you will find around a thousand teddy bears here. There is also a lovely sculptured garden, an ice café and a teddy bear shop. Special events are held at Christmas and Easter.

Of interest is also the Naturhistorisk Museum which provides entertaining and educational exhibitions. Visitors can find out about wildlife, nature and geology in Skagen. The nature center at the museum organizes nature walks and field trips.

Be sure to visit The North Sea Oceanarium in Hirtshals on the west coast. This Oceanarium is one of Europe’s largest aquariums and holds an incredible 4.5 million liters of seawater. You can get a realistic look at life below the North Sea. There are thousands of different kinds of fish. You can see sharks looking for food among shipwrecks and stones and see divers feed the fish and explain about life in the North Sea and the Oceanarium.

Outdoors there is the large Sealarium where you can get up close to grey and harbor seals. Watching from an underwater tunnel you can see them at play and relaxing. Among the small and large aquariums you can see the different habitats of the underwater residents living in the North Sea. There are around 70 different species and all sorts of sea creatures. Children get a chance to hold starfish and get to know how fish feel. There are different playgrounds for children.

Skagen Odde Naturcenter is a visitor center in Skagen housed in a lovely Utzon-designed building located on the outskirts of town. The center giver visitors a look in to the natural elements surrounding Skagen and making it unique. There are also changing art exhibits and family activities.

Skagen Kystmuseet is an open-air museum 200m southwest of the harbor. It gives information about Skagen’s maritime history and a look into the traditional fishing community.

Grenen is located at the most northerly point in Denmark where the waters of the Kattegat, an arm of the Baltic Sea and Skagerrak, part of the North Sea come together. It is a lovely area but due to ferocious tidal currents bathing is forbidden.

There is a long, curving sweep of sand at Grenen about 3km from northeast of Skagen where you can have excellent views of the waters and the sand. There is also restaurant and a small art gallery. As you take the 20-minute walk from the car park up the long, sweeping stretch of sand you’ll pass by the grave of writer Holger Drachmann (1846-1908).

If you prefer the Sandormen, a tractor-pulled bus can take you out to the point as it leaves from the car park.

Rabjerg Mile is Denmark’s largest expane of drifting sand dunes and an amazing natural phenomenon located 16km southwest of Skagen. The undulating 40m high hills are enjoyable to explore. The dunes were formed on the west coast during the time of the great sand drift of the 16th century. The dunes have a moist layer of sand behind that stretches westward toward the Skaggerak.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | July 12, 2021

Having Fun In Houston

The skyscrapers of downtown Houston rise above and behind the restored neo-classical 1910 Harris County Courthouse in downtown Houston, Texas.

Houston is a large metropolis in Texas that extends to Galveston Bay.

A top tourist attraction is the Space Center Houston which is the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space center. This is a huge complex where you can walk through the space shuttle replica Independence. You can also walk inside a replica of America’s first space stations, Skylab. You can learn about NASA’s upcoming missions among them travel to Mars. On Fridays around noon visitors can meet an astronaut.

An open-air tram tour will take you to Johnson Space Center, home of mission control. The tour will also take you to Rocket Park where you can see rockets on display For a one of a kind experience you can sign up for a Level 9 Tour and enjoy a behind the scenes look at Johnson Space Center.

The Museum District is one of Houston’s greatest cultural attractions with 19 museums al in the lovely Downtown area. Among the highlights are the Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Menil Collection, the Holocaust Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Museum Of Fine Arts has an amazing collection of more than 6,000 years of history and approximately 64,000 works from six continents. There are also workshops, programs, and resource center. Guided tours are available.

Buffalo Bayou Park is a lovely green space that stretches through city. The highlight of the park are the moving waters of Buffalo Bayou.

There are walking and biking trails, a dog park, sculptures, and shady spots to cool off. A unique sight in the park is the Cistern, an old underground drinking water reservoir from 1926, which now hosts changing art installations.

Buffalo Bayou Park is home to a huge colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that inhabit the Waugh Drive Bridge. Every evening at sunset about 250,000 bats fly out from under the bridge. You can enjoy Buffalo Bayou by renting a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard and go out on the water. Different tours are also available.

The highllight of Hermann Park is the Houston Zoo. The zoo has over 6,000 exotic and indigenous animals. There is an education center and children’s zoo as well. Among the highlights at the zoo are giraffe feedings, marine life at the aquarium and watching the sea lions and otters at play.

The Houston Children’s Museum is a fun place for families where children can have a fun time with hands-on and interactive displays. Among the highlights are the How Does It Work Zone where children can see how thing in every day life operate and the SECRETS Spy Game exhibit where they can be secret agents.

You can enjoy the street art in Houston and see the colorful murals that decorate the walls of establishments in different locations all over the city.

The unofficial curator of Houston’s street art is the artist known as Gonzo247 and is one of the city’s most famous street artists, He is the creator of the giant “Houston Inspired” mural at the corner of Travis and Preston Streets.

Rice University campus

The Rice University Campus in downtown Houston is a popular outdoor space with walking and running trails. There are many shady trees and lovely old buildings. The grounds have many impressive contemporary artworks.

The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park has an impressive multi-story sculptural fountain that sends cascades of water over large concrete walls and sculptures.

JP Morgan Chase Tower
is a 75-story skyscraper that rises up just over 1,000 ft, high. It is the tallest building in Texas, the world’s tallest five-sided building, the 13th tallest in the US and the 79th tallest in the world. At the top you can enjoy spectacular views of the city.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | July 12, 2021

Beautiful Helsinki

The capital city of Finland, Helsinki sits on the Gulf of Finland, which is an arm of the Baltic Sea.

An integral part of Helsinki are the fortified islands of Suomenlinna and can be reached by ferry.

Dominating the island is the Fortress Of Sveaborg which in translation is “Swedish Castle.” It was built in the mid-18th century to ward off Russian access to the Baltic. During the Swedish-Russian War of 1808-1809 the fortress fell to the Russians and passed back into Finnish hands in 1918 at which time it was given its name. Today the fortress is one UNESCO’s list of world heritage monuments and is a museum, a park, and an art venue.

The largest collection of art in Finland can be found in the Ateneum Art Museum. Here visitors can delight in seeing 20,000 art works ranging from the 1750s to the 1950s. The museum also organizes different workshops, guided tours and other programs. The museum building was designed by architect Theodor Hoijer and was completed in 1887. The Ateneum is part of the Finnish National Gallery.

To take leisurely strolls and enjoy the great outdoors right in the heart of Helsinki is the Esplanade. This park is a favorite among residents and tourists. On the Espa Stage different popular events take place such as the Marimekko Fashion Show and raising of the Midsummer pole along with folk dancing in June and all through July the Jazz-Espa concert series.

Helsinki Cathedral is an Evangelical Lutheran Church that is lovely and historically significant. It was designed by architect Carl Ludwig Engel in the 19th century and completed in 1852.

Uspenski Cathedral is one of two, imposing churches that dominate the skyline of the harbor. This amazing brick church has multiple towers and spires that are topped by 13 gold cupolas.

The interior of the church has altars, icons, and crosses.

One of the oldest zoos in the world is the Helsinki Zoo Korkeasaari. Here you can see animals that live in the artic tundra and those whose natural habitat is the tropical rainforest. In the zoo there are around 200 various animal species and about 1000 different species of plants. The zoo also preserves a number of species and gives refuge to endangered species.

The zoo has been successful with breeding snow leopards and other big cats like the Amur and Siberian Tiger. There are 150 different animal species and nearly 1,000 plant species growing. The zoo is on an island and can be accessed by ferry from May to the end of September. The rest of the year you can get to the zoo by bus.

You’ll find the Kamppi Chapel of Silence in the Narinkkatori Square in a corner right by the entrance to the Kamppi Shopping Center. Here in the chapel people can find a moment of silence and quietly meet one another. The entrance to the chapel serves as an exhibition area where visitors can meet the priest and the social worker.

Entertaining people since 1950 is Linnanmaki Amusement Park where there are many fun rides for families to enjoy. One of the most popular rides is a wooden roller coaster that is more than 50 years old. There are also lots of arcade halls for gaming fun and an outdoor stage for entertainment.

Popular with tourists is the Market Square known as Helsinki’s most famous and international market. Here you can purchase traditional market foods and treats and handicrafts and souvenirs. You’ll see fishing boats lined up from which fresh seafood can be purchased. Sit down and relax and have some coffee in the heated café tent even on the coldest winter days.

Take a trip to the Old Market Hall serving people since 1889. Here you can purchase all kinds of foodstuffs like shellfish, fish, cheese, vegetables, coffee and tea and a lot more.

Temppeliaukio Rock Church is located north of Helsinki’s Hietaniemi area. It was designed by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen in the late 1960s. The underground interior of the church was carved directly out of and built into the ancient solid rock of the Helsinki peninsula.

The interior of the church is lit up by a lovely natural light filtering in through the glazed dome. The church is also used as a concert hall since it has excellent acoustics. Guided tours are available and in the summer there is an on-site cafe.

If you’re interested in getting to know the history of Finland from prehistoric times to the present you must visit the National Museum of Finland. You will get to see lots of archaeological finds. There is a special interactive exhibition for children Workshop Vintti.

The National Museum of Finland was built in 1912 in the National Romantic style which was Finland’s own take on the Art Nouveau movement. Among the highlights is the Finno-Ugrian collection with traditional costumes and everyday cultural objects.

The entrance hall is decorated with amazing ceiling frescoes that have been inspired by the Kalevala, the national myth of Finland. The frescoes are the artwork of Akseli Gallen-Kallela, one of Finland’s best-known artists.

If you want to get to know about life in Finland from days gone by and learn about Finnish folk tradition then head over to the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum. Here all of the buildings and interiors have been brought from Finnish provinces and show how life was for the peasants, crafters and gentry from the 18th to the 20th century.

You’ll find guides in national costumes showing the museum to visitors in the summertime. There are also craft demonstrations, concerts and Midsummer festivities.

Museum Of Contemporary Art is housed in a building that is considered to be one of Finland’s landmarks of modern architecture, It was designed by American architect Steven Holl. Here you can see art collections of post-1960 Finnish art. The museum also has a theater that is dedicated to experimental drama, music, and dance. There is also a cafe and shop.

In 1967 the Sibelius Monument was unveiled. It honors the worlds famous composer Jean Sibelius and was designed by Eila Hiltunen. The monument looks like organ pipes and is made of welded steel with the bust of the composer to one side. It is one of the most popular statues in Helsinki and one of the most well known tourist attractions. The monument was built with more than 600 pipes and it weighs 24 tons.

Ainola is the home of the world-famous composer Jean Sibellius and his wife Aino. The lovely home is located on the shores of Lake Tuusula in Jarvenpaa, which is about ten kilometers north of Helsinki. The home is well-preserved.

Helsinki Railway Station is an impressive example of Art Nouveau. Its 48-meter high clock tower was the inspiration for the 1922 Chicago Tribune Tower which was America’s first skyscraper. Inside the railway station are arched halls and carved panels decorating the walls.

Helsinki Olympic Stadium was built in 1938 and features a 72-meter-high tower that offers fantastic views of the city. Finland was awarded the Olympics prior to WW II and the Soviet invasion of the country. The first Olympics were held in Helsinki in 1952. Inside the stadium you’ll find the Finnish Sports Museum and at the entrance is a statue of the great Finnish Olympic runner, Paavo Nurmi.

To the east is the Swimming Stadium and to the north the Ice Stadium. Beyond that the lawn and in front of the Swimming Stadium is Municipal Park with blossoming flowers in the summer and a great place for picnics. The swimming Stadium is open to visitors in the summer with great facilities.

Central Park in Helsinki is a huge green space right in the middle of the city. It begins at the Olympic Stadium and stretches north into the community of Vantaa at the Paloheina Forest where there is a wide cross-country skiing area. The park has plenty of walking and biking trails.

Aksell Gallen-Kallela is perhaps Finland’s most important and impressive artist. The Gallen-Kallela House was built from 1911-1913. Known as Tarvaspaa, the house was opened to the public as the Gallen-Kallela Museum in 1961 on the shores of Laajalanti Bay. There is a permanent exhibition of the artist’s own paintings, graphics, and tools. On site is an excellent cafe and a little store.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 24, 2021

Delightful Dallas

Dallas is located in north Texas and is a well-known city in the state especially due to the TV series “Dallas” that ran from 1976 – 1991. It is the commercial and cultural hub of the region.

The Sixth Floor Museum At Dealey Plaza No one ever will forget what occurred at the intersection of Houston and Elm Streets in Dallas. It was one of the nation’s most tragic and defining moments: the assassination of the 35th President of the US John F. Kennedy. Here today you’ll find the former Texas School Book Depository that is home to a museum dedicated to this moment.

Visitors are introduced to the historical context with multimedia exhibits describing the political climate of the early 1960s. Then you learn of the highlights of President Kennedy’s trip to Texas in November of 1963 and the last days of his life. Just past this point you can see the sniper’s perch in the corner window from which the deadly shots were made. There are exhibits that will take you step by step though all that occurred.

The John F, Kennedy Memorial is just a few blocks from Dealey Plaza, across from the city courthouse. It was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson and construction was completed in 1970. The memorial resembles a cenotaph and stands 30 feet tall and 50 feet wide. It is made of large marble slabs.

Dallas County Courthouse sits on the south-east side of Dealey Plaza and is an impressive Romanesque Revival building. It is affectionately called Old Red, the courthouse is impossible to miss with its turest and soaring central tower. It was closed by 1966 and no longer used as a courthouse when the new one was built. It became the Old Red Museum in 2007.

On the second floor is a permanent exhibition that takes you through the city’s past from prehistory to the present.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located just minutes from downtown and stretches along the southeast shore of White Rock Lake. There are fourteen world-famous displays that showcase seasonal flowers, ornamental shrubs, tree and plant collections. The garden hosts seasonal outdoor festivals, concerts, and art shows. Educational programs and guided tours are available. There are wonderful sculptures and fountains.

Take the time to look around White Rock Lake Park offering hiking and biking trails. It is a great place to see birds and wildlife, You can enjoy fishing and sailing.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a top Dallas attraction. The building was designed with an innovative eco-friendly design featuring summer water conservation with the use of recaptured condensation from air conditioners and drip irrigation, recycled and locally sourced building materials, and solar powered water heaters.

The museum is divided into thematic areas that have interactive educational stations, games, and high-tech displays. The is also a 3D theater. the Moody Family Children’s Museum and playground as well as a 54-foot escalator the overlooks the property from a glass enclosure.

The Dallas Museum Of Art opened its doors in 1903. It is among the ten largest museums in the US. The museum has a collection of over 24,000 works of art from the Americas to all over the world. The art include everything from ancient artifacts to contemporary art.

Among the highlights are Classical art and artifacts from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Besides the permanent collections there are also temporary exhibits that highlight the artwork of prominent artists, explore thematic topics, and display historic collections.

Dallas World Aquarium is within easy walking distance of historic downtown. Here you can see a vast array of sea life in 87,000 gallons of saltwater like bennethead sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, sea turtles, giant groupers, and rare leafy seadragons.

One of the highlights is the Orincoco Rainforest exhibit. It is a fun attraction with flying birds like toucans, tree sloths, and aquatic species like Orinoco crocodiles and poison dart frogs.

Dallas Cattle Drive Sculptures at Pioneer Plaza

Pioneer Plaza has been designed to look like a section of the Shawnee Trail, a major Texas cattle drive route in the 19th century. This beautiful green space in the business district is a wonderful place to take a walk and enjoy such features as a stream falling over limestone cliffs.

You can enjoy 49 larger-than-life bronze sculptures of Texas longhorn cattle being herded through the park and across the creek by three mounted cowboys. These sculptures were designed by artist Robert Summers.

The Dallas Zoo is home to over 2,000 exotic animals from 406 species living in different habitats. The zoo is located just three miles from the city center and was established in 1888. It is one of the oldest zoos in the US.

The zoo focuses on two major regions – ZooNorth and the Wilds of Africa the zoo includes such highlights as Giants of the Savanna, the Otter Outpost and the Wildlife Amphitheater with displays featuring birds in flightt and the Endangerd Tiger Habitat with a forest-like setting.

The Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorail will take you on a journey through the Great Rift Valley and habitats of African countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

The Reunion Tower in Dallas in not the tallest building in the city but it is the most recognizable. The building was completed in 1978 and appeared as a geodesic ball perched atop five cylindrical concrete poles. It is 560-feet in length and looks amazing lit up at night.

The tower went through renovations in 2011 and now has a revolving restaurant with 360-degree views all over Dallas. Other highlights include the Geo-Deck observation level with an informative and interactive display that provides details about the building and notable landmarks.

The Nasher Sculpture Center opened in 2003 with a collection of modern and contemporary sculpture. It features exhibits that explore the history of the art of sculpture. The center is located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District and also features many large outdoor sculptures displayed on the tree-lined grounds. There are also hosted events that include lectures and concerts.

The Frontiers of Flight Museum has over 30 aircraft and exhibits that display the journey from the roots of aviation from Leonardo da Vinci through modern space exploration. Among the displays here are a full-size model of the Wright Flyer, artifacts from the Hindenburg, and many WW I and WW II aircraft and artifacts.

Walking along Main Street on the edge of the Dallas Arts Distcit you can be startled by a humongous blue Giant Eyeball. This is a 9.1 meter fiberglass sculpture created by multimedia artist Tony Tassed.

Fair Park is a 277-acre outdoor complex on the right shoulder of downtown Dallas. It was a fairground dating back to 1886. The space was transformed in the Great Depression, when Dallas hosted the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1836. Many of the attractions can still be found here and the park hosts over 1,200 events each year from concerts to sporting events.

This is the venue for the Texas State Fair for 24 days that begins the last Friday in September. The fair is attended by more than two million people every year and presided over by the iconic Big Tex.

Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park is a popular aquarium that opened with the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. There are six main exhibits – Freshwater Zone, with red-bellied piranhas and Australian rainbows; Inter-tidal Zone, for sea stars and sea urchins; Shore Zone, inhabited by seahorses, bat fish and home to a Caribbean reef; Near Shore Zone, which has Moray eels, clown fish and porcupine fish, and the Offshore Zone, where you’ll see the ominous-looking Queensland groupers and zebra sharks.

You’ll also find the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park. This is a botanical garden that has native and exotic plants from all around the world. It is the first public garden that has been certified 100% organic and is irrigated by sustainable water conservation methods. The gardens provide habitats for wildlife including birds and butterflies.

Among the highlights are the Native Butterfly Habitat, Shakespeare Garden with plants that were mentioned in the Bard’s plays and sonnets, and the Master Gardener’s Garden.

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge was designed by world-famous architect Santiago Calatrava. This is an impressive cable-stayed bridge that spans the Trinity River and was named for the oil heiress and philanthropist Margaret Hunt Hill.

Southfork Ranch was made popular in the 1980s by the TV series Dallas. Now you can visit the location where the series was set. The ranch is located about 25 miles north of Dallas and offers guided tours of the mansion. After the tour you can enjoy an authentic Texas chuckwagon dinner on the grounds.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 24, 2021

Porvoo Finland

Perhaps you’ve never heard of Porvoo because when people consider traveling in Europe they most often think of all the capital cities they know well. Porvoo counts as Finland’s second oldest town and is a lovely city that is rich with history. It attracts tourists from all around the world and over the years has developed into an eastern node of metropolitan Helsinki. The city is situated in the eastern Uusimaa-region right on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

Take a walk in Old Porvoo a most colorful sight and popular tourist attraction. It’s famous for its narrow lanes and brick-colored riverside warehouses. Along the old streets you can easily step back into history. Walking in the Empire-style part of town you’ll discover low wooden houses which belong to the classical town plan where all the streets form squares.

Walter Runeberg Sculpture Collection

Displayed in the gallery are 150 sculptures by Walter Runeberg who was the eldest son of national poet JL, Runeberg. Walter Runebers created the town’s sculpture of his father.

The gallery is across the street from Runebergin Koti, the former home of JL, Runeberg which is now a museum. The museum has a period interior with stuffed foxes and muskets which show the poet’s love of hunting.
In the house of the national poet you’ll be able to view works of art, hunting weapons in the “fox skin room” and porcelain in the cupboards from days gone by. In the garden you’ll see lovely roses, mock orange and fruit trees filling the air with wonderful perfume in the summertime.

The heart of the city is the Market Square, surrounded by City Hall, the bus station, specialty boutique and services among them Lundi Shopping Center. A popular gathering place is the market café.

At Jokiranta you’ll find the guest marina and ferry dock. This is a most busy place during the summer.

The newly restored area and the bridge at Aleksanterinkatu encourage people to go out for evening walks. Here you can see beautiful flower beds and fountains. You can relax at the cafes and sit on sundecks.

The Porvoon Museo is the town’s museum that is housed in two buildings on the lovely cobblestone square in the heart of the Old Town, In the Vanha Rasthuoneentori or Town-Hall Building you can see artifacts that refer to the history of the town among them artwork by painter Albert Edelfelt and sculptor Ville Vallgren, who are two of Porvoo’s celebrated artists. The nearby annex re-creates an 18th century merchant’s home.

Visit Tuomiokirrko the historic stone-and-timber cathedral that overlooks the Old Town from the top of a hill. This is the place where Tsar Alexander I convened the first Diet of Finland in 1809 that gave Finland religious freedom. The church was completely restored after a fire in 2006 and you can enjoy seeing the ornate pulpit and tiered galleries.

Take a relaxing walk among the castle hills found north of Old Porvoo where you can delight in ancient monuments. Iso Linnamaki or Great Castle Hill is the site of one of the biggest ancient fortresses in Finland. Pikku Linnamaki or Lesser Castle Hill has an Iron Age burial site where even though the moats are all dried up you can cross them on wooden bridges. Here you will also find the great pine with twisted roots that was the subject painted by artist Albert Edelfelt in his painting “Porvoo seen from Linnamaki”. In the wintertime children come here to do some sledding and in the summertime children can have a fun time with the guided Viking Adventure on Castle Hill. At the foot of the hills there is Maari Park which a favorite place for walking and picnicking.

Take in some of Porvoo’s culture like The Art Factory housed in an old factory and is a place for various events where on the upper floors artists rent studios.

A fascinating place to visit is the Provoo Doll and Toy Museum which is the best toy museum in the country. Here you’ll find thousands of different dolls and toys on display. All of these toys have been played with at one time and from the coat of a teddy bear to the tires on a toy car you can see how much these toys were once loved. Everyone can have fun here. Children can delight in the toys and parents and grandparents can reminisce about their childhood.

The outdoor museum Postimaki is one of Finland’s best preserved areas of cottagers’ dwellings. All of the buildings here are from the 19th century and most of them are still on their original sites. Take a look at how women and craftsmen lived during those times. Visitors can take part in a handicraft day or in community singing, arrange for a dramatized guided tour or watch a play in the summer theater.

Visit Noark Miniature World where a model railway departs from Helsinki station and then travels through Finland all through the year. An outdoor exhibition, the Lattahattu or Flat Hat railcar will take visitors through the landscape of Porvoo and Loviisa in the 1940s and 1950s. You’ll also find a café here and the Noark Boutique. Children can have fun playing in the play corner Noah’s Ark.

You can take a hike along the Ekkuden Nature Trail that stretches for 1.5 kilometers in a nature reserve just about 2 km south of the center of Porvoo. The nature trail starts at the Tarkkinen playfield and leads around the field past oak and lime trees.

The trail then goes on through mixed wood and covered grove between rocky tracks and the shore. Along the trail you can also find notice boards that inform you about the wildlife and vegetation. The boards are available in English, Finnish, and Swedish. From a bird-watching tower you can enjoy seeing reed and meadow birds

Along the path the terrain is straightforward and in the damper areas there are wooden plank walkways.

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