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Balloons, Bars, and Ballistics in Dallas

Art & Museums, North America, Walking Tours, Wine Tasting

To say that this wasn’t what I expected from Dallas would be an understatement. Downstairs at the Nasher Sculpture Center, I’m met with a room that contains a glass wall and door. It is full, pretty much floor to ceiling, with golden balloons.

New York, New York

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In recent years, cheap flights to New York have put it on the map as a realistic destination for the budget holidaymaker. Flights can now be found at rates similar to prices from the UK to other European countries and flight times make a weekend in the Big Apple quite manageable. This has meant a piece of the American dream can be available to more of us than ever before.

Although Washington DC is the capital of the United States, many people think of New York as being its cultural, food and finance capital.

New York has plenty of iconic buildings like the Empire State Building and Chrysler building you can visit but possibly the most iconic of all in New York is the Statue of Liberty, which was designed by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, built in France, and shipped to New York when it was finished in 1884. Access to the crown is limited so if you wish to book a place when you go, you will need to do so well in advance.

There are several islands you can visit in NYC: Staten Island, Ellis Island and Long Island (which lent its name to the Long Island Iced Tea found on many cocktail menus worldwide). The Staten Island ferry is free and has brilliant views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Ellis Island was used for inspecting immigrants arriving in New York from the late 1800s to the 1950s.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met, as it’s often referred to, is one of New York’s top visitor attractions, and it’s easy to see why. It’s one of the world’s largest art galleries. Not only does the Met have important European and American artworks, it also has extensive collections of African, Asian, Oceanic, Byzantine and Islamic art. Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa, forty paintings by Paul Klee and eighteen Rembrants are here. It has The Costume Institute, that has over 80,000 costumes, and exhibitions here have in the past included the costumes of rock stars as well as tributes to major fashion designers such as Coco Chanel. The museum also has a collection of musical instruments that includes several Stradivari violins.

As with much of New York, Central Park has featured in many films (see the list of the official website) including flicks such as The Royal Tenenbaums. It has also featured in many TV series. The café in Friends was famously named Central Perk, though the café doesn’t actually exist in reality. The park is a large green oasis in the middle of a vast urban sprawl, surrounded on all sides by the towering skyscrapers that make up the New York Skyline. There is an Egyptian obelisk in Central Park called Cleopatra’s Needle, one of two obelisks from the Temple of Ra, the other of which is in London. Paris also has an obelisk, from the gates of the Temple at Luxor.

Top Things to See in Beijing

beijing Top Things to See in Beijing

Beijing is a city that embodies China’s ancient civilization and rich political and cultural history. Alongside all of the historical buildings, temples, and gates is the juxtaposition of a modern China filled with skyscrapers, luxury shopping malls, and a vibrant art and music scene. Here are suggestions of what to do when you come to the capital of one of the world’s oldest civilizations.

Day 1: A Taste of Chinese History in the Present

Start your day with a dive into China’s ancient history. The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368-1840). For nearly five hundred years, it served as the palace for emperors and their families, and was the political center of the Chinese government.  The Forbidden City is the world’s largest surviving palace complex and a UNESCO Heritage Site, consisting of over 900 surviving buildings with 8,000 rooms. Inside the Forbidden City visit the Palace Museum to witness China’s largest collection of ancient art works.

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