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Iceland is Nice!

Tuesday, May 14 2019 by

Iceland: the island of fire and ice, volcanoes and glaciers.

This tiny island nation of just over 300,000 people is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and one look at it’s unique features makes it clear why!

Reykjavík

The capital of the island country is small enough that it feels more like a town, but it still has the vibrancy of any global city. The city is particularly famous for it’s nightlife, with more than 100 bars and clubs for the city of 100,000. Icelanders head out to bars late at night, so plan to stay out late if you want to live like a local.

If you really want to fit in, try the national dish of pickled shark!

Reykjavík
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The city places a high value on arts and entertainment, as can be seen with the beautiful Harpa Concert Hall.

Finished in 2011, it’s modern features are in stark contrast to the traditional feel of much of the city’s architecture, but it’s modern glass facade is actually inspired by the basalt features known throughout the country.

Harpa (concert hall) (StreetView)
Harpa (concert hall)

Hallgrímskirkja

Iceland’s relatively recent development has encouraged very modern and avant garde architecture, including the Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in Iceland.

The church was inspired by a famous waterfall, as well as famous rock formations, and finished in 1986, paying homage to a historic Icelandic poet.

Hallgrímskirkja (Google Maps)
Hallgrímskirkja

Lake Mývatn

Lake Mývatn is part of a wider geothermal area, created roughly 2,000 years ago by the still-active volcano Krafla. The area is filled with breathtaking geographical wonders created by the volcano, including lava formations, giant waterfalls, deep caves and geothermal ponds.

Visitors can hike in the caves and along the waterfall and swim in the ponds, but they must be careful as some are dangerously hot.

Those Game of Thrones fans with a keen eye may recognize some of the landscapes, as the show has been filmed on location.

Mývatn ("Game of Thrones") (StreetView)
Mývatn ("Game of Thrones")

Goðafoss Waterfall

This waterfall is known as the Waterfall of the Gods. Legend has it that when Iceland converted to Christianity around 1000 AD, the local ruler threw all pagan statues into the waterfall, committing himself and the country to Christ.

Visitors can hike around the waterfall and enjoy the spectacular views of Iceland’s pristine landscapes.

Goðafoss (StreetView)
Goðafoss

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal saltwater lagoon that is soothing both for the soul and the body. The beautiful, sky blue water and volcano-formed landscape allow visitors to relax in the spa-like water.

The water itself has healing properties, including high levels of silica and minerals that relieve skin diseases and refresh the skin and body.

Blue Lagoon - geothermal spa in Iceland (Google Maps)
Blue Lagoon - geothermal spa in Iceland

Eldfell Volcano

Iceland was formed by volcanic activity over thousands of years, but it is still being formed and changed by active volcanoes, including Eldfell Volcano on the island of Heimaey.

Eldfell erupted over several weeks in 1973, requiring major intervention to prevent the island from being abandoned permanently.

Tourists can check out the results and learn about living cooperatively with nature.

Eldfell volcano (Google Maps)
Eldfell volcano

Contrary to it’s name, Iceland is the hot place to be these days, and tourists are coming in ever greater numbers to view for themselves the breathtaking natural wonders and participate in the unique and strong cultural traditions of the people.

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine Has a New Home--Check Out the Cast's Homes!

Saturday, Apr 13 2019 by

Americans love their crime shows and the comedies. With Brooklyn Nine-Nine you don’t have to choose!

The slapstick comedy surrounding Andy Samberg’s character Jake Peralta, his boss, Terry Crew’s Captain Raymond Holt and the precinct was a breakout success on Fox in 2013, but after five seasons, the network cancelled the show. NBC rescued the show, and fans, by picking up the series and ordering another season, which premiered January 10, 2019.

As the show has a new home, it’s a great time to see homes of the cast and creators too!

Andy Samberg

Andy Samberg, who rose to fame on Saturday Night Live before becoming even more famous starring as Jake Peralta on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, lives with his wife Joanna Newsom in the Beachwood Canyon area of Los Angeles.

Their estate, named “Moorcrest” was purchased in 2014 for $6.25 million. The home includes a domed atrium, backyard pool complete with a cave, and has great attention to detail blending Moorish and Art Nouveau styles throughout the home.

Andy Samberg's House (Google Maps)
Andy Samberg's House

Terry Crews

Long before he became known as Captain Raymond Holt, Terry Crews had a successful football career, playing for the Rams, Redskins and Chargers. Then he transitioned into acting, and in 2013 landed on the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

He lives with his wife and some of his five children in a lovely Santa Monica mansion complete with guest house and pool.

Terry Crews' House (Google Maps)
Terry Crews' House

He also owns a downtown Los Angeles loft, where he spends time working on creative projects and when he needs to be closer to the city. The open-concept loft is his “man cave” and retreat from the world where he can seek inspiration for his comedic and design endeavors.

Terry Crews
http://www.latimes.com

Michael Schur

Michael Schur is the magic behind many of the iconic television shows of our era, writing for shows including The Office, Parks and Recreation and of course Brooklyn Nine-Nine. His writing emphasizes the characters and their growth, often in uplifting and amusing ways, which engages viewers and develops positive fan followings wherever he goes in his career.

He has lived in the same Los Angeles home with his wife and two children for several years.

Michael Schur's House (Birds Eye)
Michael Schur's House

Kyra Sedgwick

Most famous for her role as a tough-as-nails police officer in The Closer, Kyra Sedgwick had a fun and popular guest appearance on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. She has since remained a huge fan of the show and continues to speak highly of the time she was able to work with the cast and crew.

She and her husband, Kevin Bacon, raised their two children in a gorgeous home in Sharon, Connecticut.

Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgwick's House (Birds Eye)
Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgwick's House

Like most actors, she also maintains a residence in Los Angeles, California. She and Kevin have owned this mansion complete with outdoor pool since 2012.

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick's house (Birds Eye)
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick's house

While Andy, Terry and the rest of the cast are nowhere near the trendy borough and it’s eponymous bridge, since filming takes place in California, it’s fun to watch the show about New York’s coolest, and funniest, borough.

Brooklyn Bridge (Birds Eye)
Brooklyn Bridge

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Viva Mexico!

Friday, Mar 22 2019 by

There’s never a bad time to travel to Mexico because the weather is always great and there’s something for everyone to enjoy, from vibrant culture to fascinating history to relaxing beaches. Mexico has been inhabited for more than 13,000 years, with rich and varied cultures that are still visible today.

Mexico City is a great place to start your visit. A capital long before it was colonized by the Spanish in the 1500s, the city was built largely on an existing lake to fulfill a prophesy given to the Aztec people. Now, Mexico City is a thriving city of about 9 million people, with more than 21 million in the surrounding area, making it the largest metro area in the western hemisphere!

Zócalo

The Zócalo, or Plaza de la Constitución, is the central plaza in the heart of the downtown historical district. Its importance predates settlement by the Spanish, and is very large, able to hold about 100,000 people at a time. It is the center of politics in the city, and the blocks around the plaza are full of entertaining activities and nightlife. Tourists love to gather here and see indigenous dancers perform, listen to musicians, eat delicious food and enjoy the atmosphere of the city.

Zócalo, Mexico City (Google Maps)
Zócalo, Mexico City

Metropolitan Cathedral

On the north end of the plaza is Mexico City’s great cathedral, the Metropolitan Cathedral. It is the largest cathedral in North and South America, and is the center of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico.

La Catedral Metropolitana (Google Maps)
La Catedral Metropolitana

Construction on top of an existing holy site started in 1573 and was completed in 1813. It has a clearly Spanish Gothic design and is an architectural treasure in the city.

"Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral" by Claudio de Arciniega (StreetView)
"Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral" by Claudio de Arciniega

Templo Mayor

Also downtown is the Templo Mayor, the region’s main temple of the Aztec people, who predated the Spanish conqistadors of the 1500s. The massive temple was dedicated to multiple Mexica gods.

The temple was partially destroyed by the Spanish and largely forgotten for hundreds of years, but better technology and an increased interest in the region’s indigenous history led to its discovery and excavation in the 20th century.

It is now a museum and a must-see for any visitors. It provides a thorough history of Mexico.

Aztec ruins of Templo Mayor (Google Maps)
Aztec ruins of Templo Mayor

Chichén Itzá

The Mayan people were a pre-Colombian people who lived in southern Mexico who constructed large temples and buildings from stone. Their sturdy construction has outlasted their civilization, and because they are so well-preserved we can learn a lot about these people who met an unfortunate and calamitous end at the hands of Spanish colonizers.

Chichén Itzá is a well-preserved Mayan city on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Millions of tourists flock there each year to see the temples and ruins.

Mayan ruins of El Meco (Bing Maps)
Mayan ruins of El Meco

Temple of Kukulcan, or El Castillo

The Temple of Kukulcan is a tribute to Kukulcan, the feathered serpent. Snake designs are carved along the steps leading up to the platform at the top of the temple.

View of Chichen Itza from El Castillo (StreetView)
View of Chichen Itza from El Castillo

The 91 steps on each of the four sides, plus the platform total 365, the number of days in the year. This, plus the interesting illuminations and shadows caused by the sun that are visible during the spring and autumnal equinoxes, lead many to believe the Mayan people had an advanced understanding of science and astronomy.

Temple of Kukulkan (StreetView)
Temple of Kukulkan

Cancún

Of course any trip to Mexico would not be complete without a trip to the beach, and there’s no more spectacular beach city than Cancún. It borders the Caribbean, and is famous for its beautiful beaches, excellent SCUBA diving and fabulous nightlife and entertainment.

Cancun (Google Maps)
Cancun

Hotels are built right on the waterfront, so you can go from your high rise hotel room to the ocean in a matter of minutes!

Hotel Riu Cancun (StreetView)
Hotel Riu Cancun

If you don’t want to spend all your time in Cancún at the beach, there are plenty of Mayan ruins you can visit, including El Meco, which have only recently become available for tours. Like other sites, there are large temples and pyramids that provide an excellent insight into Mexico’s rich history.

Mayan ruins of El Meco (Bing Maps)
Mayan ruins of El Meco

From fast-paced city life in the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere to ancient wonders to relaxing beaches, you cannot go wrong with a visit to Mexico! Viva Mexico!

 

 

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