Open any guidebook on the Australian city of Melbourne and it will no doubt tell you to explore its “famous laneways.”
The Central Business District of Melbourne is a tightly-packed grid: officially named the ‘Hoddle Grid’, after its designer Robert Hoddle. He surveyed the “town” of Melbourne and drew up the plans in 1837. (Melbourne is a very young city!) Hoddle’s plans, and the subsequent expansion of the city included laneways, originally intended as service laneways for horses and carts. Many in the northern section of the CBD were associated with the slums of the Goldrush era. (more…)
Rendering of the A2 Hypersonic Jet
Last week, we reported on the Solar Impulse plane showcased at JFK Airport which can fly for 26 hours straight without fuel. Equally groundbreaking, but more on the traditional path of aviation development, is the A2, a planned hypersonic plane that will go from NYC to Paris in 57 minutes. The A2 is part of a project called LAPCAT II by the European Space Agency (ESA). The aim of the project is to “reduce the duration of antipodal flights (that is, flights between two diametrically opposite points on the globe) to less than two to four hours.”
Split into two by the Douro River, the Portuguese city of Porto is probably best known for its wine. One of the oldest cities in Europe, Porto is a maze of narrow cobbled streets, beautiful plazas, tiled facades, and baroque churches. While most travelers hail to the Portuguese capital Lisbon, the country’s second largest city, Porto, has been left undisturbed.
Over the years, Porto’s historic centre Ribeira has also modernized, combining traditional spots with cosmopolitan shops and taste. Walking down the streets, old storefronts are juxtaposed with trendy restaurants. If you are stopping by Porto, here are a few places – both old and new – to check out:
Cafe Majestic, Rua Santa Catarina 112
Its doors first opened in 1921 under the name Elite cafe. Decorated in an Art Nouveau style, today Majestic Cafe draws many tourists. Its leather upholstery, varnished wood, and marble surface is a time capsule of the glamour of a time past.
Cuba’s capital city needs little introduction. Truly one of a kind, this colourful and vivacious place feels like a moving time capsule – one that has retained its Fifties glamour despite decades of hurricanes and hard living. Havana’s rich and tumultuous history has produced a distinct and alluring city of neighbourhoods, shaped by 500 years of Spanish, African, Caribbean and American colonization and trade.
Long known as the Key to the New World, Havana was first established in 1514 along Cuba’s southern coast, followed by two attempted establishments on the island’s north shore. In 1519 the city moved to its current location near a deep harbour and protected channel, becoming a top port for the Spanish empire and official capital of Cuba in 1607. (more…)
On the north and east ends of the city – away from upscale restaurants and swanky bars of the financial and entertainment district – is where you find the real gastronomic gems of Toronto. Locals know that outside of the downtown core is where real ethnic cuisine is crafted and enjoyed. The annual Toronto Underground Market brings together these diverse foods and celebrates the food entrepreneurs behind those creations.
Perhaps the most welcome element of travel for the seasoned globetrotter or city-hopper is that of surprise. In St. Petersburg, Russia, surprise is one of their specialties. Not just for the tourists who arrive, expecting a cold, gray Russia, only to find color and light at every turn, but also for its residents.
After decades of Soviet rule, war, and famine, during which the city’s countless museums, cathedrals, and castles were closed and covered in thick layers of dust, the blanket of darkness was lifted from the city, only to reveal buildings of the prettiest pastels conceivable.