Olomouc’s Holy Trinity Column in the Lower Town Square is one of the many UNESCO listed heritage sites in the Czech Republic.The highly ornate baroque design was built between 1716 to 1754 as an expression of gratitude at the ending of the plague that had infected the region between 1713 and 1715. The column was as much an expression of patriotism as it was of faith. All the sculptured saints decorating the column have a connection to the town and the craftsman that produced the column were also all locals. Inside, there is actually a little chapel.
The Bolt Tower in Ostrava, Czech Republic is a unique glass cafe and observation tower that was built on top of what was once an ironworks blast furnace. The wrap-around glass walkway is meant to look like the fire that once burned for real in the metal producing furnace below. At 250 feet high the Bolt Tower is the highest point in Ostrava and provides the best views of the city, especially at sunset. Would you have the nerve to stroll this glass walkway?
Enjoying a hamam, or Turkish bath in Istanbul is a unique experience in Turkey. I wanted to try it on my first visit to Istanbul, but to do so, I would have to set aside my inhibitions about being seen naked by strangers. Could I do that?
I know I have a typical American hang up about public nudity. Hollywood may show a lot of bare skin, but that’s not me on that screen. Plus, at my age, I feel like I am losing both the battle of the bulge and the battle with gravity. I am not sure that I really should subject the world to seeing my body without clothes on.
Paris has the Palace of Versailles. Vienna has the Hofburg Palace. London has Buckingham Palace. In Istanbul, it is Topkapi Palace that was the opulent home to the Sultan rulers of the Ottoman Empire and their female entourage for almost 400 years. Learn about what went on behind the walls of the Topkapi Palace harem.
Not all of the mosques in Istanbul are open to non Muslim visitors. But fortunately, the most beautiful and famous mosques in Istanbul around the historic core of the Sultanahmet area can be visited by tourists during the non prayer times of the day.
A prime location, amenities like its own water park and aquarium, elegant yet whimsical decor and award winning restaurants made my holiday to Atlantis Dubai in the United Arab Emirates a truly unique experience. It has become one of my favorite resort stays anywhere.
It is no secret that I love the work of master glass artist Dale Chihuly. So I will admit that the Palm Atlantis Chihuly sculpture in Dubai was, in part, one of the reasons I wanted to stay there. The combination sculpture-fountain is about 30 ft. tall and is made up of 3000 individually hand blown glass pieces. The sculpture took about two years to complete. It certainly is the show stopping centerpiece to an otherwise stunning hotel lobby.
London has Big Ben. Paris has the Eiffel Tower. Chicago has the John Hancock building. For the city of Dubai, its iconic symbol has become the sail shaped Burj Al Arab hotel. Staying at this luxurious and ultra exclusive hotel is out of reach for most of us. But an afternoon tea or high tea at Burj Al Arab was one experience that was a doable splurge for my pocketbook.
Dubai’s Burj Al Arab has become the city’s most recognizable icon, which is saying a lot considering that this city has an abundance of uniquely shaped buildings. The sail shaped hotel sits on its own little island, and is the only (self proclaimed) seven star hotel in the world. The only way to experience the inside of the hotel is with a reservation for a room, a meal, or afternoon tea (which is what I did – more about that later).
At sunset, it looks like it is ready to set sail into the distant seas.