Unusual Architecture – Odd Buildings That Should Be In Your Bucket List

Summer break may be over, but that does not mean your travels should be. From the Philippines to another part in Asia to Europe to the United States and to the Latin Americas, depending on your budget, here are some places you definitely must see first-hand because their Architect must have been truly… inspired.
 

CULTURAL CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES (Metro Manila, Philippines)
 

Cultural Center of the Philippines

image via jon mannion on Flickr


 

In 1969, National Artist Leandro V. Locsin finished the construction of a national center for culture and the arts. Consigned by the infamous first lady, Imelda Marcos, he built an 88 hectare complex. It was made mostly of concrete with the main building square shaped and a fountain pool in front of it.

During its construction, a lot of people, Locsin included, highly criticized the total cost of the CCP, making it more of an extravagance for the elite than anything else. In subtle retaliation, rumor has it that Locsin designed the CCP to look like a toilet bowl. There goes ?50 million flushed down the drain.

Nowadays, it is no longer only the Marcos family that holds the cards on what can be built or not. More businesses in the private sector are investing in property development. Big players such as Megaworld are building communities, while startups such as Lamudi Philippines  are selling individual real estate online.
 

SANZHI PODS (New Taipei City, Taiwan)
 

Sanzhi Pod Village

image via Carrie Kellenberger on Flickr


 

Futuro is a Finnish house design that was devised around 1960-1970. It was meant to be a movable home that could suit any environment. Unfortunately, the design was met with public hostility, as they were seen as too unrealistic looking.
 

In 1978, Futuro-styled homes, now known as the Sanzhi pods, were built originally as a vacation resort for the U.S. military in East Asia. To make things even creepier than it already is, the construction was abandoned only two years later due to numerous superstitious deaths and accidents.
 

Today, these pods are a popular tourist destination in northern Taiwan. They are actually color coded depending on their location. The northern ones are white, the southern ones are blue, the western pods are green, and the eastern pods are blue. These may be Futuro for students of architecture, but for the rest, they look like UFOs.
 

ATOMIUM (Brussels, Belgium)
 

The Atomium, Brussels, Belgium 2009

Image via Jeremy Crawshaw


 

For those who watch the Big Bang Theory, this construction must definitely be in the gang’s bucket list. The Atomium is a 335 feet (102 meters) stainless steel architectural accomplishment that was built for the 1958 Brussels World Fair. It has nine spheres 59 feet (18 meters) in diameter with 6 of it open to visitors, containing exhibitions, and offering panoramic views. Each one is connected by 12 diagonal tubes that contain escalators. An elevator is found within the vertical tubes.
 

At the top-most sphere is the Belgium Taste Restaurant with a seated capacity of only 80 people. Reservations, especially during dinnertime, are strongly recommended as a gourmet menu is offered.
 

P.S. The spheres are for rent!
 

HAINES HOUSE (Pennsylvania, United States)
 

Haines Shoe House

image via Beck Gusler


 

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

 

This might just be the most blatant form of advertisement yet. Built in 1948, this house was built by Mahlon Haines… a shoe salesman. It has actually five floors, and is even next to a dog-house of course, also shaped like a shoe.

 

CALAKMUL BUILDING (Mexico City, Mexico)

 

Lavadora_0489

image via Omar Barcena on Flickr

 

The invention of the washing machine must have really changed architect Agustin Hernandez’s life. The Calakmul Building, also called La Lavadora, was inaugurated in 1997, and is located at the center of Santa Fé, one of the wealthiest areas in Mexico. Unlike a real washing machine where you can see inside the circular pane, the Calakmul building has a mirror effect and reflects the city, making it looking out than looking in.

 

The Calakmul building was actually named after a Mayan city during the period of the Mayan Civilization. Calakmul is one of the largest of the Mayan sites that were discovered in Southeastern Mexico. It was rediscovered in 1931.

 

Nowadays, Mexico has the 14th largest economy in the world, and the 10th strongest in purchasing power. Santa Fé is one of the country’s major business zones, and the third largest shopping mall in Latin America is located here. Companies such as the Chrysler Group and Liverpool (not the soccer team) have their head office here. However, over investment in the city has caused an influx of commercial properties, and it now has a vacancy rate of 27%… more than a quarter of the city.

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Top 5 Tips for Getting Cheap Flights to Europe

Whether you’re heading overseas to celebrate a college or university graduation, nipping off to get married in secret or are just desperate to get away from it all, you’ll get more holiday for your money if you travel on a low-cost flight.

cheap flights to Europe

Photo credit: http://europetravel.net

 

These top 5 tips will show to how to get yourself the cheapest flights to Europe:

Shop Around

The internet has made it really easy to find out about European flight routes, timetables and prices and with so many operators offering online bookings, it’s not surprising that a lot of price comparison sites have popped up promising to make your search, quick and simple.

But – if you really want a good deal, don’t rely on them.

Take the time to shop around yourself. Smaller,independent or ethic operators don’t necessarily work with these sites and it’s usually these airlines that have the lowest prices.

Travel at an Awkward Time

If you’re using annual leave to take time away from work, there’s probably nothing stopping you from going mid-week and returning mid-week instead of being off from Monday to Friday.

Mid-week flights are usually less popular, as are flights very late at night or early in the morning and this makes them cheaper.

They might be a little inconvenient, but once you hit that sun-drenched beach with a lot more euros in your pocket, you just won’t care.

Book Ahead

Although it’s nice to jet off at a moment’s notice, it’s cheaper to get organised and plan your travels in advance.

According to industry research, the best time to book a flight to Europe is between 5 and 13 weeks before you want to travel.

Avoid School Holidays

If you don’t yet have children then the smart thing to do is just travel as much as humanly possible, now!

When you’re looking for cheap flights, make sure that your travel dates don’t clash with any school holidays.

A study carried out by Travelzoo showed that when schools close,Airport Passenger Duty (APD) goes up by a whopping 40%.

Not only will your flights during term time be cheaper, but your holiday resort and attractions will be quieter too.

If you’re not sure when the school holidays are, then you can usually find the dates on your local council or government websites.

Get Informed

Getting a cheap flight is much easier if you’re informed and thankfully, most travel operators are keen to send information, promotional offers and discounts to their members, for free.

To make this manageable, set up a new email account and use it to register your interest with airlines, airports, travel agencies, tourist information boards and even enter travel competitions.

You’ll find that almost every organisation has a mailing list, a newsletter, Twitter feed or Facebook page that you can follow to get news about cheap travel opportunities,and it really works.

If you were doing it now, you’d know that Travelex just ran a ‘Happy Hour’ with promotional rates on its currency exchange and that Liverpool John Lennon Airport just announced the launch of a new low-cost route to Bucharest.

Deals and promotions are happening all the time and by keeping on top of all sorts of travel information, you can stay one step ahead of other bookers and bag yourself a great deal.

To find out more about the new flights to Bucharest from Liverpool, visit the flight carrier directly at Blue Air and make a booking or see what other cheap flight deals they have on offer, before someone else does.

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Windmills Across the Globe

Kinderdijk is a cozy little village located in the Southern part of Netherlands. This old-fashioned spot is a top favorite amongst travelers, where a display of 19 historical windmills can be seen. These quaint windmills have endured the test of time and are well-preserved to retain its remarkable look.

Kinderdijk_(Netherlands)

image credits: Zonnevijlle – commons.wikimedia.org

Due to its good flow of wind. Crookwell town was selected for the construction of wind farm.  It is situated at Crookwell town in the west direction of Goulburn city of popular state New South Wales in Australia. It consists of eight turbines, each having a height of 45 meters and rotors having a diameter of more than 44 meters and is one of the first biggest wind farm in Australia.

 

Crookwell_Wind_Farm

image source: Mattinbgn -commons.wikimedia.org

 

The giant windmills in Schiedam are hard to miss. It is one of the best places to go if you want to see the largest windmills in the world. The windmill ‘De Nieuwe Palmboom’ (The New Palm Tree) is a museum which tells everything there is to know about the history and purpose of the windmills of Schiedam. At present, only five of the original twenty windmills survive: ‘The Whale’, ‘The Three Cornflowers’, ‘The Freedom’, ‘The North’ and ‘The New Palm Tree’. A sixth mill ‘De Kameel’ (the Camel) was rebuild in 2011.

de kameel

“De Kameel” by Targaryen – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:De_Kameel.jpg#mediaviewer/File:De_Kameel.jpg

 

The windmills of Mykonos boasts of 16 windmills in the whole of the island.

640px-Mykonos_Windmills

image credits: Heiko Gorski – commons.wikimedia.org

 

Aside from its famous wine and medieval castles, the windmills of La Mancha, Spain is also renowned worldwide.

Moulins_La_Mancha

image credits: Jebulon – commons.wikimedia.org

 

The traditional local architecture of wooden houses black and green, craft workshops and many windmills in Zaanse Schans, Netherlands made them a famous tourist attraction.

Zaanse_Schans

image credits: Malis -commons.wikimedia.org

 

The windmills of Oland, Sweden were made to meet the needs of individual farms. Being the second largest island in Sweden, their windmills become identical to the image of this island.

Ölandskvarn_i_Hässleholms_

image credits: Dcastor – commons.wikimedia.org

 

The Bangui Wind Mills or Wind Farm is composed of 15 wind turbines, each of them soaring high the equivalent of a 23-story building – planted in a row along the shore of Bangui Bay, Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

BANGUI_WINDMILL,ILOCOS_NORTE_2 -

image credits: Obra19 – commons.wikimedia.org

 

Windmills are normally used to harness power of wind or current of air to perform mechanical work as well as generation of electricity. It does not only help a nation economically but later on became a tourist attraction as well.

 

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Terrific Summer Road Trips for Locals in Australia

Australians live in one of the most beautiful, vast and under-populated countries on the planet, but how many of us actually get to experience the beauty of this great land firsthand? If you’d like to see more of our immensely beautiful country, a country we’re all proud to call home, why not look at taking a campervan trip to some breathtaking destinations you’re yet to experience?

road trips

The campervan

As there are quite a few campervans to select from, depending on which campervan hire service you use, be sure to give plenty of thought to the campervan you hire for your trip. When selecting a campervan give the following adequate thought and attention:

  • The size and specifications of the campervan. How many people are travelling and how many berths does the campervan feature?
  • Fuel economy. What’s the approximate fuel consumption (litres/100km) and how much are you prepared to spend on fuel?
  • Power steering and transmission. Does the vehicle have power steering and are you more comfortable driving a manual or an automatic, moreover what about the others who might get behind the wheel?
  • Babies and small children. If there are babies and small children travelling with you, does the campervan have bolster seats or can they be fitted?
  • Kitchens and kitchen kits? Does the campervan have a kitchen and how large is the fridge and water tank?
  • Driver’s cabin and internal walk-through access? Does the campervan have a separate cabin or internal walk-through access and do you need them?

By asking yourself questions such as these when selecting a campervan you’ll find that nothing is overlooked and that you’re better able to select a suitable campervan for your trip.

Suggested routes

Depending on how long you have to spend on holiday and how far you’re interested in travelling, the following are some suggested routes that many people have found immensely rewarding.

  • Short East Coast Trip (4000km): Sydney – Brisbane – Cairns
  • Medium West Coast Trip (7000km): Darwin – Katherine – Broome – Port Hedland – Carnarvon – Perth
  • Medium NSW to NT Trip (8000km): Sydney – Canberra – Melbourne – Adelaide – Alice Springs – Darwin
  • Long Sydney to Ayers Rock (and back) Trip (14,000km): Sydney – Canberra – Melbourne – Adelaide – Ayers Rock – Alice Springs – Darwin – Cairns – Townsville – Brisbane – Sydney

These are only suggested routes, with only the major destinations and cities listed, moreover due to the distances involved between each destination you’ll have to do plenty of planning with regard to where you’ll stop and stay along the way.

Travel tips

If you’re planning a campervan trip don’t overlook websites that offer great travel tips for campervan drivers because accessing these websites will prove advantageous in a number of ways.

Firstly you’ll gain an idea of what other people behind the wheel of a campervan thought about the destinations they travelled to and the campervans they hired from a campervan hire company. Secondly you’ll gain a better idea of the roads that you’ll travel on, which when travelling around a country as vast as Australia will prove extremely advantageous, especially with regard to the isolated roads in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Thirdly, you’ll come across destinations that most of us Australians never knew existed and could therefore provide you with some excellent ideas for your upcoming road trip.

In addition to travelling tips such as these, you’ll also need to source information concerning permits, since permits are required for certain parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, two of the remotest parts of Australia and two of the most rewarding to travel to by campervan.

 

About the Author:

Debra Crutchfield writes on a freelance basis for a company whose rental vehicles are unmarked and are provided through a friendly service. Travel Car Centre is a reliable provider of campervan hire in Sydney.

 

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How to Manage Road Trips Expenses

One thing that keeps many of us from heading out on a road trip is the belief that our car simply won’t be able to make the journey. It’s true that after a certain point in a vehicle’s life it’s a good idea to keep its journeys to a minimum, meaning even though you can happily (and safely) drive it to and from work every day, when it comes to heading out on a longer trip you should consider taking an alternative vehicle.

road trip

Photo credits: Marcin Wichary – en.wikimedia.org

 

When you’re considering the expense of your road trip it may quickly occur to you that it’ll work our cheaper to lease a car rather than risk taking your old car out on a long journey. For affordable leasing plans, contact Leasing Option Ltd or a similar site to see what their rates are. Chances are you may be pleasantly surprised.

Of course, the cost of a leased vehicle isn’t going to be the only cost you’ll face over the duration of your road trip. In order to manage your expenses when you’re on the road, try and budget for the following costs before you even head out:

Fuel

There’s one easy way to roughly budget for the amount of fuel you’ll need on your road trip, but in order to do so you’ll either have to ask the leasing company you’re leasing your car from how many miles it gets to the gallon, or you’ll have to lease it for a week or so ahead of your trip.

If you have to go with the latter option you should ensure the fuel tank is completely full before starting your experiment. Once it’s full, note the mileage figure shown on the car’s odometer and keep this number safe. Now you can use the car as normal, making sure you drive it around (whether to work or elsewhere) until it’s nearly empty. At this point you should check the car’s odometer again, and subtract the first number from the second number, giving you the number of miles you can roughly expect to achieve from a full tank.

With this information you can work out how many full tanks your leased car will need to complete your road trip, and thus work out a fairly accurate estimation of your road trip’s fuel cost.

Food (Your Fuel)

When you’re out on the road your cost of food (your own, personal fuel) is inevitably going to be higher than your food costs back home. Before heading out you should intend to manage your food expenses by:

-    Eating at cheaper restaurants: If you have the luxury of eating from several different places, always choose the most affordable.

-    Taking supermarket (and corner shop) food back to your hotel: If this is allowed you should shop at a nearby supermarket to take advantage of their lower prices, then take said food back to your hotel room to cook if you have a small kitchenette area.

Hotels and Lodging

Your hotel and lodging expenses when you’re on a road trip can sometimes be difficult to control due to your inability to know where you’re going to be ahead of time, meaning you’ll more often than not find yourself paying full price for last minute hotel rooms.

You’ll be able to keep some of your accommodation expenses down during your trip if you:

-    Occasionally sleep in your car,

-    Camp at registered, safe campsites whenever you’re near one,

-    Seek out cheap hostels rather than hotels.

Fun and Entertainment

Firstly, even though this is an article about managing your road trip expenses you should keep in mind that you’re allowed to enjoy yourselves, which is the very reason you were saving for a rainy aday in the first place.

Secondly, your fun and entertainment budget needn’t be large, but you should certainly put aside enough so you’re able to enjoy the local attractions of a city you stop in overnight, or catch a show on a whim if the mood takes you.

In conclusion, if you’ve finally decided to head out on a road trip in a leased vehicle you should take some time beforehand to figure out how you’re going to manage your expenses throughout the trip, putting special focus on your costs for fuel, food, hotels and lodging, and fun and entertainment.

 

Author:

Edward Luke is a freelance writer for Leasing Options, a company that has been delivering value and service for more than 23 years. They aim to provide clients with the best possible car rental deal.

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