Löwendenkmal  – The Lion Monument

Almost anywhere you go in the world, you are bound to run into a monument of some sort.  Most of the time, they are small plaques or markers earmarking a specific historical event important to the city or town you are in.  But once in awhile, they are beautiful sculptures, like Löwendenkmal in Lucerne.

Created around 1820 by Lukas Ahorn, the Lion Monument commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution.  During the 10th of August Insurrection, over 600 Swiss Guards were killed while defending Tuileries Palace in Paris from the Revolutionaries who were upset when King Louis XVI sought refuge from the Legislative Assembly.  An additional 200 Swiss Guards were killed or died in the weeks following the Insurrection.

Lion Monument

The Lion of Lucerne would be impressive anywhere, but nowhere so impressive as where he is. — Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad, 1880

The memorial itself is a fantastic work of art.  Carved into the cliff face of a former quarry, the memorial portrays a dying lion impaled by a spear while covering a shield bearing the fleur-de-lis of the French monarchy.  Beside the lion is another shield bearing the coat of arms of Switzerland while a description below names the officers massacred and the number of soldiers who died versus who survived.

You can find the Lion Monument at the following address:

Lion Monument / Lucerne Tourism
Denkmalstrasse 4
6002 Luzern
Tel. +41 (0) 41 227 17 17

Categories: Europe, Switzerland | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eating Ceviche – A Peruvian Delicacy

As part of my three week trip to Peru back in July 2011, one of the first things I wanted to try during my trip was ceviche.  Ceviche is a popular seafood dish in Central and South America that is made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with chili peppers.  Picture yourself eating spicy sushi marinated in lemon juice without the rice and that is what eating ceviche is like.

Ceviche must be prepared with fresh fish to minimize the risk of food poisoning, which makes Lima one of the most popular places to find it in South America.  Given the fact that it is considered to be a Peruvian delicacy, and its location along the Pacific coast, I decided to try ceviche for the first time in the touristy Miraflores district of Lima.

Ceviche Served with Corn & Sweet Potato

Ceviche Served with Corn & Sweet Potato

Along with my main course, I was given a side of sweet potatoes and corn to compliment the flavours.  It is possible to have a side of lettuce, avocado or plantain to go along with your main dish.  You might also want to wash your dinner down with a glass of Pisco Sour, but I opted for Cusqueña, Peru’s national beer instead.

There are plenty of cevicherias located throughout Lima that you can try.  But for starters, you can take a look at this list for the Top 5 recommendations.  Overall, I found found ceviche to be quite tart because of the lemon juice.  One dish was plenty to satisfy my craving on this trip, but I am glad I took the time to try it.

Trying Ceviche for the First Time

Trying Ceviche for the First Time

What is the most usual/unique dish that you have ever eaten?  What was it like?

Categories: Peru, South America | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Staten Island Ferry – The Best Free View of the Statue of Liberty

While it is quite possible to visit many sites around New York City for free, an attraction like the Statue of Liberty can really take a bite into your wallet.  If your finances don’t allow for it or if the statue is closed to the public, taking the Ellis Island Ferry can be a costly move on your part ($18 US).  So how does one get a close up view of the Statue of Liberty without paying a dime?

Whitehall Ferry Terminal

Whitehall Ferry Terminal

Operating since 1817, the Staten Island Ferry is a 25 minute boat ride taking passengers back and forth between Manhattan and Staten Island.  This free service is available 24/7, so you can take in some great nighttime scenery of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.  The ferries depart every half hour, except for Rush Hour during weekdays (7am – 9am & 6pm – 8pm) when they run every 15 minutes instead.

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

There are two locations where you can take the Staten Island Ferry:

St. George Terminal (Staten Island)

1 Bay Street

Staten Island, NY

10301

Whitehall Terminal (Manhattan)

4 Whitehall Street

New York, NY

10004

Unfortunately, passengers cannot go on a round trip on the ferry.  You have to disembark at either terminal, but can get on the next available ferry.  I have done this a few times in the past, and the wait isn’t as bad as it may seem.

Riding on the Staten Island Ferry

Riding on the Staten Island Ferry

One suggestion for passing the time at St. George Terminal is to check out the Postcards 9/11 Memorial.  This outdoor sculpture can be found only meters away from the St. George Ferry Terminal on the North Shore Waterfront of Staten Island and pays tribute to the residents of Staten Island who perished during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  The way the sculpture is designed and located, you will have the eerie view of Lower Manhattan where the World Trade Center previously stood.

For more information about this service, you can visit their official website.

Categories: New York | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Explore San Juan in 8 Hours

It was November 2008 when I went on my first cruise vacation.  The reason for going was to attend my friend’s wedding – my first ever destination wedding to be exact.  While the week was going to be filled with plenty of celebrations and events on board, I was really looking forward to exploring our various ports of call, which would give me a bit of an idea of what the Eastern Caribbean had to offer.  The first stop on itinerary was San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Although 8 hours is not nearly enough time to appreciate Puerto Rico, it did give us enough of a taste of what San Juan was all about.  Here are my recommended sites to visit while in San Juan for a day.

Old San Juan 

Chances are if you arrive in San Juan on a cruise like I did, you will most likely center your visit on the Old San Juan neighbourhood.  The reason being is it is located right near the Port of San Juan and is within walking distance of the ships.

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Old San Juan is generally a safe area of the city and primarily known for its shopping district and colonial Spanish architecture.  The city is lined with cobble stoned roads making it one of the prettiest cities you will see in the Caribbean.  I particularly enjoyed the various pastel colours of the nearby homes.

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista 

While wandering around Old San Juan, you should pay a visit to the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista.  The San Juan Cathedral is the second-oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere originating in 1521.  The current structure you see today was built in 1540 after the original cathedral was destroyed by a hurricane.

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista 

For those wishing to visit San Juan Cathedral, you can find it here:

San Juan Bautista Cathedral
151 Cristo St
PO Box 9022145
San Juan, PR 00902

Phone: (787) 722-0861 

San Idelfonso Councillor Seminary

San Idelfonso Councillor Seminary is another religious building found within Old San Juan and worthy of a quick visit.  If you are particularly fond of travel photography, as I am, then you will enjoy the pastel colours and various flowers located within in the Seminary.

San Idelfonso Councillor Seminary

San Idelfonso Councillor Seminary

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery is one of the most unusual cemeteries you will ever see.  Located just outside Fort San Felipe del Morro, Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery overlooks the Atlantic Ocean to symbolize the spirit’s journey into the afterlife.

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery

Built in 1863, this cemetery is home to many of Puerto Rico’s prominent residents, politicians, and artists.  While we did not walk within the cemetery, we did manage to take a few photos of it along the way to Fort San Felipe del Morro.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro – or Fort San Felipe del Morro – is the main attraction of San Juan.  Typically the first site you will see while sailing into the Port of San Juan, Fort San Felipe is a 16th century citadel built to protect the Bay of San Juan.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, it is possible to do a tour of Fort San Felipe.  Unfortunately, we arrived after 6pm when the fort closed, and only managed to visit the outskirts of the fort.  Just so you don’t make the same mistake, you can find all the info here on their official website.

Fountain of Roots

Probably one of the most popular sites in San Juan is the Raíces Fountain of Old San Juan – or the Fountain of Roots.  This statue commissioned by Miguel Carlo in May 1992 commemorates the New World’s 500th Anniversary.  Although we stumbled upon it after dark, this area provides one of the most beautiful sunset views over the Port of San Juan.

The Fountain of Roots

The Fountain of Roots

With darkness upon us, we headed back to our cruise ship ready for our 10pm departure.  We had only scratched the surface here in Puerto Rico, and I already knew I was going to miss it.  But alas, we had a few more Ports of Call over the next few days to attend to.  Puerto Rico was just the perfect way to kick-start our Eastern Caribbean adventure.

Categories: Puerto Rico, Weech's Wanders | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Save Money on Los Angeles Kings Tickets

If you have followed my blog for a while, then you know that I am a sports enthusiast who loves to incorporate sporting events into my travels where I can.  Whether it be attending a New York Yankees game, a World Cup match, the Winter Classic or watching the Belizean Premiere Soccer League Championships, I have had quite a few good sports stories over the years.

So it should come as no surprise that during my first visit to Los Angeles that I made every attempt to attend a local sporting event.  Given that it was January 2015 upon my arrival, baseball was out of the question here.  That basically left me with an NBA game (Los Angeles Clippers & Los Angeles Lakers) or the NHL (Los Angeles Kings).  As you can tell by the title of this post, I ended up watching a Kings game instead of basketball as both the Clippers and Lakers were on the road while I was here.

Kings Single Ticket Discounts

Kings Single Ticket Discounts

While the Los Angeles Kings are the current Stanley Cup Champions, they don’t bring in nearly as big of a draw as the City of Angels’ two basketball teams, especially the Lakers.  With that being said, finding a single Kings ticket for me was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  And as an added bonus, I was able to save 50% on my seat!  So how did I end up saving so much money on a Kings ticket?

For starters, you need to go to the Kings’ official website and check out their schedule.  My options were to either watch them play the Anaheim Ducks (January 17) or the Calgary Flames (January 19).  However, by checking out the Single Ticket Discounts page, I noticed that I could get tickets up to 50% off for that game instead.

Staples Center Available Seats

Staples Center Available Seats

Once I decided it would be financially better for me to watch the Kings vs. Flames, I then had to decide where I wanted to sit.  I could have spent as little as $22 US sitting in the 300 Level sections if I wanted to.  However, I noticed there was a seat available in Section 115, Row 11, Seat 13 for $65 US.  There was no question in my mind that this was the seat for me!

Had this been a Lakers game, then my seat would have easily been over $2000 US and to watch my hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, a comparable seat would cost me around $450 – $600 CDN easily.  And the most shocking part of it all?  I am watching the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions play at home here while sitting 11 rows up behind the Flames’ net without breaking the bank.  Talk about a steal here.  I felt like I should have been charged with grand larceny.

Kings Ticket

Kings Ticket

After making my online payment, I received an email confirmation with my ticket for the game.  Now keep in mind that this tip can pretty much be applied to any professional sports team in North America.  Of course the team owners want to fill out their stadiums to fully capacity as much as possible to bring in more Revenue, so it should be expected that single tickets will be heavily discounted.  However, this tip only works if you are going to a game by yourself.  Had I been with anyone else, then it would have been a little more difficult to find a pair of tickets to the game.  Plus, I wouldn’t have gotten this type of discount, either.

Have you ever found significant discounts on your travels?  What was it and how did you find them?

Categories: California, United States | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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