Friday, January 26, 2018

Past POIs - Sequoia National Park [California, USA]

Point of Interest: Sequoia National Park
Location: California, USA
Date of visit: September 2017

When I think about National Parks for USA, I normally think of two, Yosemite and Yellowstone, however, with the experience that I had at Sequoia National Park, I wonder why it isn't higher or better known.


Sequoia National Park was ranked 65 out of 374 parks in terms of visitors in 2016 with 1.25 million visitors. It being roughly 3.5 hours away from Yosemite, if you are in the area, I'd suggest paying them a visit if you can.


The main tourist attraction here are the large Sequoia trees which are the biggest (in volume) trees in the world. When we drove in from the south, as the driver, I immediately stopped after seeing the first set of really large sequoia trees. My wife told me not to freak out over them since they were small ones, but that didn't calm my excitement for seeing them and taking pictures with them.


As you drive inside, you will see more and more of them, some that have toppled over and are actual attractions for visitors. For example, there is a tree that has fallen over and they carved an opening so that car could drive through the tree itself! Also, there is another fallen one where you can walk through it.

And then, there are the two main trees that people should look out for, the General Sherman and the General Grant.


The General Sherman is currently the largest tree in the world and you can see why. Oddly, you can't actually get up close to any of the two main trees since they are surrounded by fencing, but when I got up close, I was amazed. How could something this large exist?

The General Grant, unfortunately was missed by us due to poor signage and my reluctance to wander to see if another tree at the Grant (and it was). It isn't the largest tree, but very large nonetheless.

Admission may change annually, so, check the official website https://www.nps.gov/seki/index.htm.

Come back next Friday for another Past Point of Interest!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Past POIs - Acropolis [Athens, Greece]

Point of Interest: Acropolis
Location: Athens, Greece
Date of visit: June 2017

If you ever visit Athens, Greece, it will be pretty hard to miss the Acropolis if you are near the city center. It is actually built on what looks like a small mountain/hill and you can see if from everywhere. We were lucky with our hotel rental because it actually had rooftop views of the Acropolis which was very nice.


The Acropolis is included in the multi-site pass and is well worth it since the Acropolis itself is 20 euros and the multi-site pass is just 30 euros. It can be a bit of a hike for those that are not in shape since there is no cable car or assistance with getting up there. You'll have to take the side roads to get to the entrance and then just follow the path and up the stairs like everyone else.


Since it is high up and not covered, I would advise you to visit either in the morning or in the afternoon/evening to avoid the mid-day sun.


Well worth a visit, there is plenty to see up there and the are plagues everywhere telling you what you are seeing (however I tend to not stop and read those for long). Unfortunately when we went, it was under renovation, which seems to be the story of our travels. I am recalling how we got out in Rome to see the pyramid and the entire thing was covered in scaffolding for renovations.

Come back next Friday for another Past Point of Interest!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Past POIs - Temple of Zeus [Athens, Greece]

Point of Interest: Temple of Zeus
Location: Athens, Greece
Date of Visit: June 2017

When we visited Athens in 2017, we knew that we were going to visit a lot of the historic museums and luckily for us, there is a multi-site pass that allows you to visit a majority of the sites for a low rate of 30 euro. Since the Acropolis itself (the north and south side) cost 20 euro, it is a no brainer to pay an extra 10 euro which gives you access to an additional 6 other sites. One of those sites is the Temple of Zeus.


Oddly, the Temple of Zeus sounds more interesting than what remains today (which is also true for a lot of the sites). What you see when you go today is several columns left of what was once an enormous temple dedicated to Zeus.


We went because of the name (well, I did) and because it was included in the multi-site pass, however, there isn't really much to see here. You can complete the site in under 10 minutes (depending on your interest in reading plaques and imaging how the temple must have looked).

Not to say that it is a bad site, however, if you are to visit Athens and this is on your list, I would try to visit all the other sites before Acropolis since it is the most restored site that gives you an idea of how things were back in the day.

Come back next Friday for another Past Point of Interest!