ALL POSTS IN [Museums and Memorials]

Mercedes House (Photo Courtesy of Neil R)

Overwhelmed by New York’s neon canyons? Wary of running with the tourist hordes? If you’re “Times Squared-out,” you can visit an authentic part of New York City just a short distance away. Explore Hell’s Kitchen, the area roughly bordered by Port Authority and 57th Street to the north and south, and 8th Avenue and the Hudson River to the east and west.

This once-raffish neighborhood was home to bad-boy Travel Channel host Anthony Bourdain. Today, it thrives with restaurants, bars and opinionated, demanding locals. Parts of Hell’s Kitchen also offer peace and quiet — something visitors may think is unattainable in New York. Here are a few rough and refined recommendations on what not to miss in this hood: READ MORE

Fort McHenry

Photography By National Park Service

As Francis Scott Key watched the smoke clear and the sun rise above Baltimore’s Fort McHenry after witnessing its bombardment by British naval ships during the final months of the War of 1812, he had every expectation of seeing a white flag of surrender. To his surprise, he saw the tattered, but still flying, remains of an oversized American flag that had been commissioned just months earlier by the fort’s commander Major George Armistead.

Key was so moved by the by sight of the flag and by the Americans’ protection of their fort that he penned the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” That poem, eventually set to music and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” became the national anthem of the United States of America. READ MORE

Photo Courtesy of Steve Gardner

The 9/11 Memorial Museum will finally open its doors to the general public tomorrow (Wed., May 21) after more than 10 years of debate on how to best remember the collapse of the World Trade Center and the thousands of lives lost on September 11, 2001.
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Photo Courtesy of AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of locals and visitors — from as far as China — converged on Washington, DC, to be the first to take a tour of the newly-reopened Washington Monument. The National Park Service closed the 130-year-old monument for almost 3 years to make repairs after damage caused by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the East Coast on August 23, 2011. Since then, the historic site has been closed to the public.
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Salvador’s Pelourinho Neighborhood (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

Salvador is known as Brazil’scapital of happiness” because of its countless number of popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. Its humble beginnings can be traced to 1549 when Portuguese settlers decided to colonize Brazil and make Salvador the capital of the country. As a result, this coastal city quickly became the main port of call for ships from all over the world that would dock and import their goods into South America. Salvador is no longer Brazil’s capital, but it is a magnificent city with unique architecture, historic museums, chic gastronomy restaurants and African-inspired music, which makes it a unique host city for the 2014 World Cup soccer games.

Salvador, the City of Music
Bahia is the musical state of Brazil. Its rich mixture of Brazilian, African and European cultures birthed genres and rhythms like axe, pagode and samba.. The state’s capital, Salvador, marches to its own beat. People here sing and play special percussion instruments like the berimbau, agogos and atabaques.
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Curitiba (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

Curitiba is a city that advocates sustainable living. The name of the city originates from Guarani, an indigenous language in South America, and translates to “lots of pine trees.” People traveling to Curitiba for the World Cup will admire the Arena Da Baixada, which is considered to be one of the most modern stadiums, as it opens its doors to more than 40,000 fans from around the world. Even with all of the excitement and energy surrounding the games, guests will enjoy Curitiba’s hidden gems, including its urban parks and city center.

Curitiba, the City with Sustainable Living
With existing public policies that focus on sustainability in urban public areas, the city of Curitiba is at the forefront of environmentally friendly living. These policies helped build and maintain 30 parks and forests, and the government’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the United Nations Environment Program, who awarded Curitiba a prestigious award for its recycling waste project.

To start your tour of Curitiba’s urban parks, we recommend going to the Parque de Pedreiras (Quarries Park) where the marvelous Ópera de Arame (Wire Opera House) is located. This gorgeous, translucent structure is built out of steel tubes and is full of windows, and it only took an impressive 75 days to construct.
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Cuiaba (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

Cuiabá is a host city not to be overlooked by visitors when traveling to Brazil for the World Cup. In the 20th century, this gold-mining city drastically grew from 57,000 to 544,737 residents in 30 years. Today, the city’s 3 ecosystems (the wetlands of the Pantanal; the savannas of the Cerrado; and the Amazon), are treasured by locals and tourists. The city offers visitors magnificent opportunities to immerse themselves in nature, whether it be waterfalls, rivers, plateaus, or miles and miles of beautiful green landscape.

Cuiabá, The City of Picturesque Countryside
One of the many spots to hike and explore in Cuiabá is the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park (Parque Nacional Chapada dos Guimarães), a UNESCO World Heritage site located a few miles outside of the city. This enormous natural park gives people a place to go and explore the large orange and red-rock formations via guided hikes with varying levels of difficulty. Along the hike, visitors to the park see caves, canyons and beautiful outlooks.
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Photography by Andre Maceira – Photo Courtesy of Embratur

Of all the 12 cities hosting the 2014 World Cup, Porto Alegre is the southernmost city in Brazil. Travelers heading down to the state of Rio Grande do Sul are recommended to pack warm coats and extra layers because unlike northern Brazil, the winter weather in Porto Alegre is usually  between 44° and 55°F. Undoubtedly, the weather will not take away from the countless activities Porto Alegre has to offer both soccer fans and world travelers alike. Visitors should know that the citys offers  great urban parks, wine tasting tours, cultural centers, delicious food and exhibits that feature some of the most important pieces of art in Brazil.

Porto Alegre, The City with Multiculturalism.
In the 19th century, Porto Alegre had a large influx of immigrants; the majority of which came from Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Africa and Lebanon. The immigrants that settled helped the city flourish as a melting pot of cultures. As a result, Porto Alegre has grown to become a diverse cosmopolitan city with over 1.5 million inhabitants known as Porto-Alegrenses. The city’s gastronomy and architecture is a mixture of Brazilian traditions infused with influences from different countries.
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Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

The World Cup is a momentous occasion that sets the stage for the world’s greatest soccer athletes. Thousands of people will travel to  12 cities in Brazil to see their favorite teams play an international sport that will bring people together from all around the globe.  And there are several reasons why Fortaleza is the perfect  city to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup games.

Fortaleza, the City of “Fortalezenses”
Fortaleza is known for its people, “Fortalezenses.” Although the city on its own is aesthetically beautiful, it’s the good-humored nature of its people that automatically make it a charming destination. Fortalezenses are known for being helpful, hospitable and caring hosts to tourists. They stay active by walking around in urban parks or by the seafront.

The History of the Fortress
In case you didn’t know, Fortaleza in Portuguese translates to “fortress.” In 1649, the Dutch settled and built Fort Schoonemborch. A few years later, in 1655, the Portuguese seized the fort and renamed it Nossa Senhora da Assunção, after the patron saint of the city, the Lady of the Assumption. Visitors can visit  the beautiful fortress on Monte Marajaitiba for free. Today, the fortress is home to the Army Military Headquarters.

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How far did Martin Luther King Jr. travel in his life?

Over the course of the civil rights leader’s 39 years, MLK marched with tens of thousands of civil rights activists from Selma to Montgomery; spoke before tens of thousands more on DC’s National Mall; and in an eerie premonition, told an audience at Mason Temple church in Memphis that “we as a people will get to the Promised Land.” MLK was shot the very next evening, on a balcony, at Memphis’s Lorraine Motel.

While MLK’s domestic trips are well-documented, especially through the South, Dr. King was also a world traveler. In the last 11 years of his life, Dr. King traveled some 6 million miles. READ MORE

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