Friday, October 23, 2009

Paper models of world famous buildings

Wurlington Brothers Press have an interesting line of postcards that can be transformed into scale models of different New York City landmarks. The 4-5/8″ x 6-3/4″, legally mailable cards each include all pieces and instructions needed to make one model. The “Build Your Own New York” series has tiny paper versions of New York’s most famous buildings, monuments and trains. There is also a Chicago version.

El Hemisféric

El Hemispheric y el Paula de les Arts by josefrancisco.salgado.
El Hemisféric y el Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia, Spain, 8 July 2004. © José Francisco Salgado, PhD

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Santa Croce

We left at 9:00 and met Kirk Duclaux at 10:30 in front of the Florence Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore). From these pictures you can see the layout: the San Giovanni Baptistry, the enormous Cathedral with Brunelleschi's famous dome (containing the Vasari and Zuccari frescoes of The Last Judgement), Giotto's impressive bell tower. At the time of its completition the Cathedral was the largest in Europe, still second only to St. Peter's in Rome.

We visited the Duomo Museum, just east of the Cathedral. It was wonderful, but as with everything else here, the internet and books are loaded with images, so here's just a sample, the charming choir of Luca della Robbia, along with the truly wrenching Donatello Maddalena (Mary Magdalen), of which Vasari wrote: "a finely executed and impressive work. She is portrayed as wasted away by her fastings and abstinence, and Donatello's expert knowledge of anatomy is demonstrated by the perfect accuracy of every part of the figure."

After reaching the saturation point ("arted out" as our guides say) we were hungry for a different kind of Italian art -- food and wine. We followed Sabrina's advice and found the tiny Trattoria Le Mossacce (via del Proconsolo 55r). I didn't take any pictures of the outside (must've been hungry), but found one on the 'net. You walk through a very narrow hall into a very tiny dining room. Nearly everyone inside was Italian, with the exception of a group which followed us in. They were German but could as well have been Americans. The idiots wanted to push two tables together so the eight of them could sit together. It would have been impossible. The waiter told them to go to hell, so they settled for a men's table and a women's table (the women, who sat near us, seemed relieved). I had spaghetti, and Karen had tagliatelli; the wine was chianti.

Bargello Museum

We next dropped into the Bargello, aka Bargello Palace or Palazzo del Popolo (Palace of the People), which is a former barracks and prison, the principal place of execution, one of the oldest buildings in Florence, begun in 1255. Initially the headquarters of the Capitano del Popolo and later of the Podestà, in the sixteenth century it became the residence of the Bargello or head of police spies from which it took its name. Saw a lot of Cellini, Michelangelo, Donatello - in particular, Donatello's David. Also got a chuckle out of Michelangelo's Bacchus






Santa Croce - Gothic Franciscan church

Novotel Peace Beijing

Novotel Peace Beijing features a restaurant, serving breakfast only. This property features massage and treatment rooms, beauty services, and a hair salon. In addition to an indoor pool, Novotel Peace Beijing provides a spa tub, a sauna, and a fitness facility. Novotel Peace Beijing also offers a bar/lounge, high-speed Internet access, and conference rooms. The property has a 24-hour front desk.

  • Swimming pool - indoor
  • Spa tub
  • Sauna
  • Air-conditioned public areas
  • Fitness equipment
  • Bar/lounge
  • Restaurant(s) in hotel
  • Business services
  • Number of rooms: 401
  • Multilingual staff
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Express check-out
  • Medical assistance available
  • Currency exchange
  • Hair salon
  • Gift shops or newsstand
  • Babysitting or child care
  • Beauty services
  • Conference room(s)
  • Express check- in
  • Internet access in public areas - high speed
  • Massage - treatment room(s)
  • Parking (secure)

Xi'an Garden Hotel

Surrounded by lovely parks and manicured grounds, the 292 modern rooms at this establishment make travel to Xian memorable for all. The city itself is very busy and noisy. However, that notion escapes the mind of guests to the Garden Hotel, where tranquility is a paramount feature of the establishment whether visiting the very arge pool, or relaxing for a coffee or cocktail in one of the lounges. Most visitors come to Xian for the Terra-Cott
Garden Hotel Xian - Hotel Exterior
Hotel Exterior


Garden Hotel Xian - Hotel Exterior
Hotel Exterior


Garden Hotel Xian - Hotel Exterior
Hotel Exterior


Garden Hotel Xian - Hotel Exterior
Hotel Exterior


Garden Hotel Xian - Guest Room
Guest Room


Garden Hotel Xian - Standard Room
Standard Room


Garden Hotel Xian - Suite


a Warriors (Bingmayong,) but the doormen at this hotel will give visitors a myriad of other locations to check out while they are visiting. All rooms in this modern facility allow for an effortless pleasure or business stay in this richly historical, yet ever-growing, city in China. Book your room now at Garden Hotel via our secure online booking form. The first step is to enter and submit your travel dates in the spaces provided.

Shanghai Peace Hotel north building--5 star hotel

Known by many as the most famous hotel in China, the Peace Hotel has been a Shanghai Landmark for nearly a century. The decor is stunning throughout, and rooms such as the recently restored dining room are frequently featured in Chinese films. In addition to well appointed accommodations the hotel has an impressive array of services and facilities. The hotel also features the 'Old Jazz Band', a group of Jazz veterans who play in the hotel's English-style bar nightly.

Shanghai Peace hotel Location

Located on the famous Bund by the Huangpu River (at the cross roads of Nanjing Road East and Zhongshan Dong Yi Road).

  • Hongqiao International Airport 18km
    Pudong Interantional Airport 50km
    Shanghai Railway Station 5km
    Nearest Subway Station 1km
    The bund 0km
    Nanjing Road Shopping Area 100m

Dubai Beach Hotels

Well defined as the top holiday destination in the UAE, Dubai is filled with an incredible variety of services and attractions. One of the biggest appeals of Dubai is the combination of exciting urban adventures and nightlife coupled with easy-going days spent at one of the many notable Dubai beach resorts. Beach hotels in Dubai run parallel with the city’s standards offering exceptional surroundings, world class services and plenty of excellent amenities.

On Dubai’s famous Jumeirah Beach lies the Jumeirah Beach Hotel nestled invitingly on a stretch of privately owned beachfront facing the Arabian Gulf. Less than a half hour from the city center, this Dubai beach hotels location offers the best of both worlds, tranquility and excitement. Luxurious and spirited Jumeirah is one of the top beach hotels in Dubai. Designed for families, couples and friends, the hotel presents a large variety of fun possibilities for every traveler. This beach resorts Dubai visitors, especially families, love the close proximity to the Wild Wadi Waterpark.

Atlantis Hotel The Palm

Atlantis Hotel Dubai Rising from the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf, this luxury resort is situated on 113 acres. Opening in September 2008 this resort is an Architectural Wonder and one of Dubai’s newest Landmarks, located on the crescent of The Palm Jumeirah, known as the 8th Wonder of the World. Offering something for everyone, this resort features “Aquaventure” – a 42-acre waterpark with the “Zigguret” Centerpiece that touts a 27.5 metre-vertical drop; “The Lost Chambers” – where you can journey through a labyrinth of chambers to experience its fascinating underwater world with over 65,000 fish, the 11-acre “Dolphin Bay” with its innovative Dolphin Education Centre, and the “Ambassador Lagoon” with 100’s of species of marine life. Everything you need is on-site. Its Spa and Fitness Center offers treatments from all over the world. Enjoy Atlantis’s Aquatic Gardens, or a day of windsurfing and kayaking from its Private Beach. Shop in the up-scale boutiques in “The Avenues”, a 7500 sqm. retail and entertainment complex, or dance the night away in their ultra-chic nightclub, “Sanctuary”. Atlantis – The Palm offers an array of fun-filled activities for children of every age. Through nature and science, arts and crafts, and marine welfare, Atlantis–The Palm offers a series of educational programs for families to enjoy. The hotels also offers convenience to many of Dubai’s other Tourist Attractions. Guests can experience the Region’s largest Indoor Ski Resort, Ski Dubai, located in the Mall of the Emirates, or Dubai’s other waterpark, Wild Wadi in Jumeirah Beach. Other nearby sites to see are the Burj Al Arab, the world’s only 7 Star Hotel and the iconic structure that represents Dubai, Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, and the famous Dubai Marina. Guests will find a vast array of shopping venues in the area. There is the popular Mall of the Emirates with its own Indoor Ski Resort, known as Ski Dubai. For those looking for a more unique style of shopping, there is the Madinat Jumeirah offering Designer Boutiques in an Arabian Style Souk. And, opening in Oct. 2008 is the Dubai Mall, slated to be one of the largest malls in the world. With so much to do and see, guests of the Atlantis – The Palm will not want to leave this vacation paradise.

Located in a prestigious area on the Crescent of the world’s largest man-made island, Palm Jumeirah, it is just 35 km from Dubai International Airport, and 15 minutes from the Mall of the Emirates.

Hotel Facilities:

Hotel amenities include: Private Beach, Banquet Facilities, Conference/Meeting Rooms, Family Activities and Themed Parks, Water Sports, Swimming Pools, Fitness Center, Sauna/Spa, Beauty Salon, Boutiques, Tennis Courts,

Guest Rooms:

1539 spacious and well-equipped rooms equipped with Air Conditioning, Walk-In Wardrobes, Dressing Areas, Jetted Tubs, Balconies with magnificent views of the Arabian Gulf and Palm Jumeirah, High Speed Internet, I-Pod Deck, Sat. TV, Bathrobes, and Slippers.


With 17 Restaurants, Bars and Lounges, the Atlantis has facilities to suite the pallet of very guest. The world-renown Nobu with its fusion of Asian Flavors is a restaurant of celebrity status. Rostang – the French Brasserie by 2 star-Star Michelin Chef Michel Rostang. Atlantis will also house Santi Santamaria’s signature seafood restaurant, Seafire Steakhouse and Grill, Levantine – serving authentic Arabian Dishes and Nightly Entertainment, and Locatelli’s – a fun and fashionable Italian Restaurant. For casual dining the Altantis offers Nasimi located by the Royal Pool, and Kaleidoscope offering a delicious array of cuisines.

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellation should be done 15 days in peak season, 8 days in high and 4 days in low season prior to arrival Else full charges are applicable. No Show/ Early Departure Full night charges are applicable.Name changes will be considered as cancellation

Child Policy:


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Admiral Plaza Hotel

Located in easy reach of Dubai’s famous Creek, the Admiral Plaza Hotel is well positioned for the city’s main commercial, business and shopping centers.

The hotel features 142 comfortable guest rooms, each of which has en-suite facilities.

Guests of the Admiral Plaza Hotel can enjoy the property’s recreational facilities which include a temperature controlled indoor swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center with Nautilus equipment, sauna and Jacuzzi.

River Rafting & Boat Tours

The Colorado River has some of the best White Water Adventure Tours in America! We have a variety of Rafting & Boat Tours to meet your needs.

Our most popular Grand Canyon Rafting Tours venture deep into the West Rim Indian Country where you will meet with an expert Hualapai Indian River Runner Guide and board your 8-passenger river raft. Experience 40 miles of thrills and excitement and feel the relentless power of class 3 and 4 rapids! You will shoot rapids like "Dragon Tooth" and stop at Tavertine Canyon and hike to the Tavertine Waterfalls and enjoy lunch and refreshments along the way. We also offer some combination Grand Canyon & Boat Tours where at the bottom of the canyon you will enjoy a wonderful 20 minute Pontoon Boat ride on the Colorado River between the shear red and gold cliffs of Quartermaster Canyon.

You might want to delight in the relaxation of a slow Float Trip through Black Canyon, one of the Colorado River's most beautiful and exciting canyons at the base of Hoover Dam where you will board a 35-passenger river raft that will take you 11 miles downstream with a friendly, informed guide. These are exciting experiences that will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime!

Moscow Kremlin

Moscow Kremlin

Moscow Kremlin

Moscow Kremlin is a group of fortifications and civic and religious buildings in the heart of Moscow, opposite the Moscova River in the south, the Red Square in the East and the Alexander Garden in the west .
It is the best known of the Kremlin, including four Russians and four palaces cathedrals, grouped inside an enclosure delimited by the walls of the Kremlin, including the towers of the Kremlin.
In the eleventh and twelfth centuries was a Slav population, with a small town, the fortified home of the local boyars Kuchka. In ancient times the word "kreml" used to describe the walls in the center of a city. In 1147 Moscow was mentioned first in the annals. In 1156 a trench was dug and built a wall of earth. By the end of the twelfth century fortress was built around a strong colony of merchants and artisans gathered in Moscow as a haven. Moscow then occupied the entire third part of the area of the current Kremlin. In 1238 the city was opposed to the Mongol hordes in the thirteenth century, while the country recovers from the devastation by the Mongols and the Tatars, Moscow gained prominence.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


he Hotel del Coronado (also known as the The Del to local residents) is a beachfront luxury hotel in the city of Coronado, just across the San Diego Bay from San Diego, California. It is one of the few surviving examples of an American architectural genre: the wooden Victorian beach resort. It is one of the oldest and largest all-wooden buildings in California and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.[2]

When it opened in 1888, it was the largest resort hotel in the world and the first to use electrical lighting. It has hosted presidents, royalty, and celebrities throughout the years. The hotel has been featured in numerous movies and books.

The hotel received the Four Diamond rating from the American Automobile Association,[4] and was listed by USA Today as one of the "Top 10 Resorts In The World".[5]


Comfort Suites Chicago

The Comfort Suites hotel is located in the heart of the Oakbrook Business District on Route 38, and is just a short drive from Oakbrook Shopping Center. This Oakbrook Terrace hotel is also 20 miles (32.2 km) from downtown Chicago and Michigan Avenue. Other points of interest close by include McCormick Place convention facility, the Brookfield Zoo, the Drury Lane Theatre and Conference Center, the Elmhurst Historical Museum, Enchanted Castle family entertainment center and the Hawthorne Race Course. This great hotel has a fitness centre, sauna and indoor pool, great for relaxing or getting in your exercise after a long day's work or sightseeing. Business travellers will appreciate complimentary wireless Internet access throughout the hotel, meeting rooms, and the business centre with two PCs and Internet access.

Comfort Suites Chicago

The Comfort Suites hotel is located in the heart of the Oakbrook Business District on Route 38, and is just a short drive from Oakbrook Shopping Center. This Oakbrook Terrace hotel is also 20 miles (32.2 km) from downtown Chicago and Michigan Avenue. Other points of interest close by include McCormick Place convention facility, the Brookfield Zoo, the Drury Lane Theatre and Conference Center, the Elmhurst Historical Museum, Enchanted Castle family entertainment center and the Hawthorne Race Course. This great hotel has a fitness centre, sauna and indoor pool, great for relaxing or getting in your exercise after a long day's work or sightseeing. Business travellers will appreciate complimentary wireless Internet access throughout the hotel, meeting rooms, and the business centre with two PCs and Internet access.

The Mena House

There are luxury hotels and there are legends. The Mena House, an Oberoi hotel, belongs to the latter category.

before the ascent to the Great Pyramid in Giza, just about an hour by taxi from Cairo airport, if offers an oasis - quite literally as well as figuratively - of wellbeing, comfort, class and style at the fringes of the Egyptian desert.

After Napoleon's conquest of Egypt in 1797, the treasures he subsequently brought to Europe and Giovanni Belzoni's research from 1815 onwards spread Egypt-mania around the globe. The land of the Pharaohs became a major attraction for travelers. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 further increased the attraction of the '
exotic' destination. Thomas Cook's first trip to Egypt took place the same year.

Incidentally, the Great Pyramid is the oldest and tallest of the pyramids in Giza. Built around 2560 BC, it is also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops. According to the ancient historian and priest Manetho, Khufu aka Cheops, the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty, reigned for 23 years from 2589 to 2566 BC. It is only possible for a limited number of visitors to climb into the Pyramid. I had the chance to do so. There is nothing to see inside. Still, once you are there, you wish to see it with your own eyes. Most impressive is to stand in front of it or, if you are lucky like me, just to watch it from your room's private balcony at the Mena House.

The Mena House hotel grew out of a former Khedival hunting lodge close to the Great Pyramid. Incidentally, Muhammad Ali - not the box champion - who had restored the Ottoman Empire's authority in Egypt after Napoleon's defeat and subsequently became the Pasha and Wāli of Egypt, had claimed the grander title of Khedive for himself and his successors. The Khedival lodge was a two story house nicknamed the 'mud hut' built in 1869 for King Ismail the Magnificent. He used it for himself and his guests, whilst hunting in the desert or visiting the pyramids at Giza. The Khedive lodge was enlarged and Pyramid Road from Cairo to Giza was built for the visit of Empress Eugenie in 1869.

Until today, the Mena House remains by far the most famous hotel near the Pyramids in Giza. In 1883, Frederick and Jessie Head bought the Khedival hunting lodge on their honeymoon. They enlarged it and built a second floor. Jessie gave English lessons to local children. The Heads sold the lodge to the English couple Ethel and Hugh F. Locke-King. They started building the Mena Hotel, as it was called at the time, in 1885. It opened the following year. Objects from that time still used today include an ancient door.

The hotel is named after the founding father of the First Egyptian Dynasty, Mena. Known as Aha or King Menes of Memphis, he founded the city of Memphis and unified Upper and Lower Egypt into one kingdom.

The Mena House is famous for its turned wood spool work, traditionally made of beech and mahogany wood, some stemming from Harem windows. Mashrabia aka Mashrabiya carved woodwork was introduced to Egypt during the Islamic period, from 750 AC onwards.

The English couple Locke-Kings not only used Mashrabiya windows, but also brass embossed doors, blue tiles, mother-of-pearl and mosaics of colored marbles to build a fairy-tale palace next to the Great Pyramid. According to Andreas Augustin, the great dining hall was an exact replica of a Cairo mosque.

In 1887, the first guests arrived by coach from Cairo, at a time when the Opera House announced 80 performances for the following season. On December 24, 1871 already, Verdi's Aida had premiered at the Cairo Opera House.

The Austrian Baron Ernst Rodakowski was the first general manager of the Mena House. He was a friend of Locke-King and managed to bring it up the level of the world's luxury hotels. However, the Locke-Kings were less successful in making their hotel profitable, being too generous when it came to hosting friends.

Initially, the Mena House offered 80 bedrooms with 10 foot high ceilings, horse riding, a golf course, two lawn tennis courts, a library, a billiard room, the services of a French chef in the fashionable restaurant as well as of the Italian photographer Fasani, who had his studio at the hotel.

The German managing director G. A. Loedlick from Frankfurt hired the English physician Barry-Blacker and therefore, made the first step in the direction of the creation of a fashionable spa near the pyramids. In 1890, the Mena House opened the first hotel swimming pool in Egypt. The same year, it was the first hotel to announce that it would stay open all year long and no longer close during the hot summer season.

St. Therese Of Carmel Catholic Church

St. Therese Of Carmel Catholic Church

Flex-Ability Concepts

The family of products from Flex-Ability Concepts, Oklahoma City, OK, was used extensively in the arch-laden design of the new St. Therese of Carmel Catholic Church in San Diego, CA. Flex-C Trac®, Flex-C Arch™ and Flex-C Angle were all utilized in a variety of interior and exterior radii applications to create a striking, inviting look for the 1,000- seat church.

The Flex-C Trac system provides an easy way for builders to frame high quality curves by utilizing a simple, flexible metal track or plate for use with wood or metal studs.

More than 8,000 linear feet of Flex-Ability Concepts products were used, including 8” and 10” 16 gauge Flex-C Trac on the top and bottom of structural beams used to frame radii above and below.

Hyndman & Hyndman Architects, Cardiff By The Sea, CA, developed the design. The design objectives, according to Shelly Hyndman, “included providing a building footprint and form that would emphasize the long linear center aisle used for processions in liturgies while still providing a contemporary ‘seating in the round’ worship space. Multiple arches were used to establish a consistent vocabulary and provide a somewhat Tuscan feeling to the building design.”

The entire building is light gauge steel framing. According to Hyndman, “The building exceeded the 50' maximum height allowable under the Type 5 building type limitations and therefore a Type 3 building was required using non-combustible construction. Additionally, many of the soffits and architectural features in the ceilings were better suited to the light weight nature of steel studs rather than wood framing. Since the super-structure was steel, this also provided for easier connections that would otherwise require additional expense in attachments between architectural features and the primary structure. The flexible track also contributed to the decision to use steel studs since the curved forms could be more economically achieved using this curveable product.”

Hyndman continued, “The performance of the Flex-C Trac was great. The subcontractor seemed to whistle through the light gauge framing portion of the job, maybe even picking up schedule delays lost to the steel structure erection time. The flexible track system was economical and more accurate and consistent than wood framing. No bends or tangential defects can be seen as is sometimes the case with wood. The congregation loves the new building!”

The framing contractor on the project was A&R Construction, San Diego. The Flex-Ability Concepts distributor was Heartland Building Materials, San Diego.

Flex-C Trac is made of galvanized steel and is available in 16 and 20 gauges in a wide variety of widths. Flex Lite, a new light duty alternative, is also available in 25 gauge steel. Flex-C Plate and Flex-C Angle are both available in 20 gauge.

For more information on the Flex-Ability Concepts family of products for both commercial and residential applications, call 405-996-5343 or visit the company's website.