Posts Tagged With: Wonders of the World

Witty Souvenirs Replace Wonders of the World

Witty Souvenirs Replace Wonders of the World

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All rights belong to Flickr, Yahoo, and Michael Hughes

When most people travel, they typically come home with countless photos: selfies, playful poses with friends, iconic landmarks, etc. But when photographer Michael Hughes is abroad, he goes about it a little differently. Breaking away from a picture perfect postcard, Michael inserts cheap local souvenirs in his shots; resulting in memorable, hilarious photos.

“My images are fun because I really like to play with them,” Michael says in the accompanying video. “I like to play with the way people look at my images, and I’m always up for a joke!”

The idea came to Michael back in 1999 while on a trip to the Rhine in Germany. It was a late November day, and he was standing on a famous cliff overlooking the river.

“I remembered that I had a postcard for my daughter in my pocket,” Michael recalls. “When I pulled it out, I noticed that I was standing exactly where the photographer had been when he was taking the picture for the postcard. So I started playing with it and I managed to fit it exactly into the scene. When I got back to my computer and looked at my pictures, I could see there was something really good going on.”

alkmaar nl london sept 2008

A few weeks later, Michael went to New York City and decided to take a ferry around Manhattan. On his way to the pier, he bought postcards of the New York skyline to mimic his photo from Germany. In his mind, Michael was already brainstorming a “picture within a picture” photo series. Minutes later on the ferry, however, his idea evolved into something unexpected.

“When I boarded the ferry, I bought a cup of coffee,” Michael explains. “We went past the Statue of Liberty, and I suddenly realized the coffee cup had a picture of the Statue of Liberty on it. So I threw out the contents of the cup, held it up and it fit right in front of the statue. It was perfect! And it was at that point I realized I didn’t have to use postcards, but it could be any kind of souvenir… and that was the start of it!”

helsinki 74_camel_4331

Michael created a set of rules for his new souvenir series. First, he wasn’t allowed to take anything (a prop, an object, etc.) to his destinations. Second, Michael had to buy a souvenir on the spot.

“The rules worked well because it put me in a bit of a tricky situation,” Michael says. “You might turn up somewhere and there might not be a good souvenir, so you have to be creative. I like a bit of risk. I also like involving people into the photos as well. People who are standing around adds to the fun.”

new york 2008 Souvenirs series

One of his favorites photos was taken at the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

“My wife came over and showed me this multi-colored lollipop that she’d found,” Michael explains. “My daughter was also there, so I set it up that she was supposed to lick the lollipop. I really love it because it’s a nice family moment. The lollipop fits perfectly, and there’s a lovely violet sky.”

Michael admits the crazier the souvenir, the better the photo. Throughout the years, he has come across several strange objects: an Elvis bobblehead in Graceland, a Don Quixote figurine in Spain and a mini croissant magnet in Paris.

One of his favorites was a transparent plexiglass Jesus the Redeemer he bought in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

pisa italy redeemer520br

“It was the funniest thing in that you could put batteries in it, and it would light up in all sorts of colors,” Michael says. “When I went to see the Jesus the Redeemer, I was standing in front of it and looking at it from a bit away. When I held up my souvenir, it looked like some tourists in the background were actually looking up at my souvenir instead of the real thing! It was very cool.”

disneyland paris fr 20100928DEH1328.jpg

Michael’s received a lot of positive feedback and encouragement since posting his photos on Flickr. What he likes about his series is that it plays into people’s perception about travel.

“What I like is giving people a question. I think it’s fun to make people think about the world we live in and get them excited to see it. But more importantly, it’s great to have a joke with them at the same time.”

Visit Michael’s photostream to see more of his photography.

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Newest Wonders of the World

All rights belong to Yahoo!, Travel and Leisure, and Deb Hopewell. To read the original article click here.

Newest wonders of the world, 2013

Travel+LeisureBy Deb Hopewell | Travel+Leisure – Mon, Jul 1, 2013 1:29 PM EDT

Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India. (Photo: Courtesy of UNESCO/DRONAH)

Each summer, UNESCO convenes to announce new picks for the World Heritage List, chosen for their cultural, historical, and environmental importance, from vast sand dunes and mountains towering 22,000 feet high to magnificent palaces. The Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India, over 1,000 years old, became one of 19 new inscriptions that bring the total to 981 sites in 160 countries (Fiji and Qatar debuted this year).

While the Medici villas in Tuscany—also a new member of the club—will continue to draw hordes of tourists, no doubt there are other travelers who’ll welcome the challenge of visiting the off-the-beaten-track destinations singled out by UNESCO.

Check out this year’s new crop of wonders and see which ones speak to you.

Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India

These six forts are set among the rocky outcroppings of the Aravalli Mountains in India’s “land of kings” and remain a standing testament to the power that Rajput princes enjoyed from the 8th to 18th century. The defensive walls—up to 12 miles around and incorporating natural defenses such as hills, deserts, and rivers— protected the ornate palaces, temples, and other buildings within.


University of Coimbra–Alta and Sofia, (Photo: Courtesy of UNESCO/Manuel Ribeiro)

If you thought your professors were tough, consider that this university, founded in 1290, once had its own court of law and, naturally, its own prison for students and scholars (under the library). One of the oldest continuously operating universities in the world, the institution grew and evolved for more than 700 years within the old town. It now includes the 12th-century Cathedral of Santa Cruz, the Royal Palace of Alcáçova, and several 16th-century colleges.

Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, (Photo: Courtesy of UNESCO/Hani Terraces Administration of Honghe Prefecture)

For the past 1,300 years, the Hani people in southern Yunnan have used a sophisticated system of channels to funnel water from the top of the Ailao Mountains to the terraces below. These 41,000 acres of terraces also form a unique integrated farming system—using buffalo, cattle, ducks, fish, and eel to support the production of red rice, the staple crop. The Hani still live in thatched houses between the mountaintops and terraces, much like they have for a millennium, worshipping mountains, rivers, forests, fire, and other natural forces.

Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, (Photo: Courtesy of UNESCO/Chris Samson)

Beginning in 1550 and continuing for more than 50 years, 600 Basque mariners and 15 whaling ships from southern France and northern Spain would make a summer voyage to remote Red Bay, on the far-eastern shores of Newfoundland. Today, three whaling galleons, four smaller chalupas, and plenty of whale bones lie at the bottom of a watery archaeological site—and visitors can observe the rendering ovens, cooperages, and living quarters that make it one of the best-preserved examples of the European whaling tradition.

Namib Sand Sea, (Photo: Courtesy of UNESCO/Paul van Schalkwyk)

Stretching 1,200 miles along the Atlantic and covering roughly 10 million acres of desert and buffer zone, the otherworldly Namib Sand Sea is the oldest desert in the world and is almost completely uninhabited by humans. Dense fog—which can envelop the coastal areas for half the year—is the primary source of water and, combined with the sandstorms, makes this one of the world’s top storm-watching destinations. The animals that manage to live here need to adapt to ever-changing microhabitats.

Levuka Historical Port Town, Fiji

When American and European traders began building on Levuka’s coconut and mango tree–lined beachfront in the early 19th century, they were considerably outnumbered by the islanders. Rather than foist Western architecture on the landscape, they integrated local building styles into the stores, churches, schools, warehouses, and homes, giving a distinctive look to Fiji’s first colonial capital.

Newest Wonders of the World: Levuka Historical Port Town

Courtesy of UNESCO/Steve Reid

Medici Villas and Gardens, Tuscany, Italy

During the Renaissance, any self-respecting Florentine family of means owned a vast farm outside the city gates. But when the powerful Medicis began building princely country estates, these wealthy patrons of the arts innovated a whole new approach to form and function—living in harmony with nature with an eye toward leisure and learning. These 12 villas and two pleasure gardens are exquisite examples of an architectural and landscape ideal that lives on today.

Newest Wonders of the World: Medici Villas and Gardens
Courtesy of UNESCO/Adriano Bartolozzi

El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, Mexico

Desert bighorn sheep, black-tailed jackrabbits, Gila monsters, and the endangered Sonoran pronghorn all survive among the sand, cinders, and playas of this 1.75-million-acre reserve. The dramatic landscape includes 10 enormous, nearly perfectly circular craters, sand dunes that reach up to 650 feet, and granite massifs that rise 2,000 feet from the desert floor.

Newest Wonders of the World: El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve

Courtesy of UNESCO/Pinacate

Wooden Tserkvas, Poland and Ukraine

Poland and Ukraine came under the influence of rival Christian centers (Rome and Constantinople, respectively) more than a thousand years ago. But their shared traditions include tserkvas found in the Carpathian region: shingled wooden Greek Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches built between the 16th and 19th centuries. They honor the holy trinity with buildings typically constructed in three parts, with wooden domes, cupolas, and bell towers.

Newest Wonders of the World: Wooden Tserkvas

Courtesy of UNESCO/National Heritage Board of Poland

Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India

These six forts are set among the rocky outcroppings of the Aravalli Mountains in India’s “land of kings” and remain a standing testament to the power that Rajput princes enjoyed from the 8th to 18th century. The defensive walls—up to 12 miles around and incorporating natural defenses such as hills, deserts, and rivers— protected the ornate palaces, temples, and other buildings within.

Newest Wonders of the World: Hill Forts of Rajasthan


Al Zubarah, Qatar

Nowadays petrodollars fuel Qatar’s economy, but at one time pearls supported the realm. The fortified town of Al Zubarah—an abandoned pearl fishing and trading port that thrived on the Persian Gulf coast beginning in the mid 1700s—provides a glimpse into everyday Arab life before the discovery of oil and emergence of the modern Gulf States.

Newest Wonders of the World: Al Zubarah

Courtesy of UNESCO/ Qatar Museums Authority/QIAH

Mount Fuji, Japan

Perhaps the most iconic feature in all of Japan, this active and often snowcapped volcano is an object of both artistic inspiration and spiritual pilgrimage, particularly among Buddhists. The UNESCO inscription comprises 25 sites that reflect the variety of Fujisan’s sacred landscapes, including pristine lakes, springs, waterfalls, Sengen-jinja shrines, and Oshi lodging houses.

 Newest Wonders of the World: Mount Fuji
Courtesy of UNESCO/Shizuoka Prefectural Tourism Association

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, Kassel, Germany

From its hilltop perch, a 27-foot copper statue of Hercules stands sentinel over this 590-acre water park, whose Grand Cascade spills down along stone steps for 1,150 feet. The park, begun in 1696 by a Prussian ruler and completed nearly 150 years later, uses a complex hydropneumatic network to supply water to the Baroque water theater, grotto, and fountains, which in turn feed dramatic waterfalls, wild rapids, a lake, and secluded ponds.

Newest Wonders of the World: Bergpark Wilhelmshohe

Courtesy of UNESCO/Nik Barlo jr

Agadez’s Historic Center, Niger

On the southern fringe of the Saharan desert, Agadez was founded in the 15th century and became a thriving stop along the route of medieval trading caravans. The nomadic Touaregs settled the city while maintaining the boundaries of historical encampments, forming a street pattern that exists to this day. It’s renowned for its earthen architecture; an 89-foot minaret made entirely of mud is the tallest of its kind in the world.

Newest Wonders of the World: Agadez's Historic Center

Courtesy of UNESCO/CRAterre AM

Mount Etna, Italy

On the eastern coast of Sicily, near the cities of Messina and Catania, Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and the tallest active volcano in Europe at almost 11,000 feet. The volcanic soil supports vineyards along the lower slopes, while its nearly constant eruptions make Mount Etna a natural laboratory for volcanologists and other scientists.

Newest Wonders of the World: Mount Etna

Courtesy of UNESCO/Ente Parco Etna

Pamir National Park, Tajikistan

This roughly 6.5-million-acre park is 18 percent of Tajikistan’s total size, yet frequent strong earthquakes and extreme seasonal weather leave it only sparsely populated. That’s worked to splendid advantage for the endangered species that are sheltered there: among them, snow leopards, Siberian ibex, Marco Polo sheep, and markhors (wild goats with spectacularly long, curved horns). The park is at the center of the so-called Pamir Knot, where the highest mountain ranges in Eurasia meet at peaks that reach 22,000 feet.

Newest Wonders of the World: Pamir National Park

Courtesy of UNESCO/David Trilling

Golestan Palace, Tehran, Iran

Although elaborate Golestan Palace was originally built in the 15th century, it was the ruling Qajar family who made it the seat of government about 300 years later, adding its most characteristic features. What’s left of the palace complex—the oldest monument in Tehran—is composed of eight main palaces surrounding lush gardens. Reza Shah destroyed much of it between 1925 and 1945 to make room for large, 1950s-era commercial buildings.

Newest Wonders of the World: Golestan Palace

Courtesy of UNESCO

Kaesong’s Historical Sites, North Korea

Once part of South Korea but now near the demilitarized zone in the north, the area of Kaesong flourished during the Koryo dynasty from the 10th to 14th centuries. UNESCO awarded World Heritage status to Kaesong for sites including the remains of a fortress that once surrounded the ancient city and the ruins of the Manwoldae Palace.

Newest Wonders of the World: Kaesong's Historical Sites

Courtesy of UNESCO/KCPC

Tauric Chersonese, Ukraine

Among the ruins of this ancient city, founded by the Greeks in the fifth century B.C., you can find early Christian artifacts scattered alongside remains of Stone and Bronze Age settlements and Roman tower fortifications. Hundreds of chora—vineyard plots of equal size—once made this area the most productive wine center in the Black Sea region.

Newest Wonders of the World: Tauric Chersonese

Courtesy of UNESCO/ Tauric Chersonese National Preserve

Xinjiang Tianshan, China

The snow-covered peaks of the vast Tianshan range—one of the largest in the world—form a striking contrast to the high deserts that surround it. Linked geologically to the Himalayas, this area supports beautiful glaciers, pristine forests and meadows, and clear lakes and rivers. Of the world’s estimated 2,500 living snow leopards, two-thirds of them can be found in Xinjiang.

Newest Wonders of the World: Xinjiang Tianshan

Leading Group for WNH of Xianjiang Uygur

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