Friday, November 29, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Shinjuku Robot Restaurant

One of the more obscure and bizarre experiences for the seasoned traveller and on the top of the list of only in Japan experiences. Tokyo hasn't seen any attraction like this since the Bubble Era.

Picture a basement in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district, Tokyo. Every night of the year women wearing nothing more than bikinis stage mock battles for a live audience. The twist: enormous remote controlled robots are the combatants. The whole experience could come out of the mind of only the most abstract thinkers. Neon colours, mirrors and light show equipment and all kinds of robotic technology are fitted into the restaurant just to offer a dinner and a show to customers. The robot attraction was built at a cost of ¥ 10 billion or about € 73 million and a dinner plate runs a customer about € 40.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Geopieces of the Day: Meiji Period Ryōgoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena

15 consecutive days, three times a year the arena bustles. The three grand tournaments held in January, May and September celebrate japanese Sumo wrestling in the Ryōgoku Kokugikan. The growing popularity of Sumo during the Meiji period led to the building of the original Kokugikan in Ryōgoku in 1909. Today's sumo stadium, the Kokugikan, is the fourth built in Tokyo and has been in use since 1985. It seats over 10,000 visitors.

A Grand Tournament at Tokyo's Kokugikan. Ringside tickets cost € 110, boxes cost between € 70 and       € 90 per person, and arena tickets will set you back between € 15 and € 60. If you did not have the chance to get your ticket in advance you can maybe still get one on the day of the tournament. You might want to show up at about 5-6 in the morning to have a chance. Price conscious people might want to watch a training bout but you have to be an early riser as the start at 6am and are mostly over by 8am.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Killer Robots in Seaside Park

Odaiba Seaside Park Gundam Robot statue

At Odaiba Seaside Park one can enjoy the man made beach at Tokyo's waterfront although swimming is not allowed. The venue draws visitors with the promise of romantic walks on the beach and leisure activities such as boardsailing and paddle boating but the area is definitely most famous for the giant statue of a Gundam robot. 

The 18 meter tall robot is a scale model of the title character of famous japanese anime Gundam. The statue was built by toy manufacturing conglomerate Bandai-Namco to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its anime. It is a perfect replica fully equipped with light beams that light up the sky at night and fog machines shooting out mist. 

So enjoy a nice picnic at the seaside in Odaiba park and go sightseeing under the watchful eyes of a giant robot.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Geopieces of the Day: Tokyo Big Sight

Tokyo Big Sight

This week we are looking at japanese entries on our world map and start of with Tokyo Big Sight, a nickname for the Tokyo International Exhibition Center. The building not only stands out for its architectural style but is also one of the main event locations in Japan for trade shows and events and is scheduled to host events like wrestling, fencing and taekwondo in the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Japanese culture is of course a little different from western ideas so many exhibitions are quite strange to mainstream audiences.

Comiket at Tokyo Big Sight

For example Comiket the world´s largest self published manga fair held twice a year. One of the many grassroot art and culture movements in Japan.

International Anime Fair at Big Sight Tokyo

Or the yearly International Anime Fair held at the Big Sight. The event is famous for giving out the Tokyo Anime Awards, prizes for creations in the field of animation, to both foreign and local artists.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The Eye of the Sahara

The Eye if the Sahara, also known as the Richat structure, is a geological wonder deep in the sahara desert. It has also been characterized as a geological bullseye and the exact origins and causes are not universally agreed upon. 

The shape, spanning 50 km from edge to edge features zones of different erosions and is to flat for a meteorite impact and could be an eroded volcanic dome. The layers have eroded away leaving a shape of a peeled onion with many different layers of stone. The layers range from Proterozoic in the center to Ordovician at the edges. The whole area therefore displays rock that could have formed up to 2.5 billion years ago to 400 million years ago. 

The structure shows all the specific characteristics of a maar, a low relief vulcano. Although today we only know of low volcanoes that are up to 8 km in size and usually they are filled with water, according to the origin of their name derived from the latin "sea". Maybe we are looking at the remains of a monster.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The highest Building in the World

As this picture from photographer Gerald Donovan proves the Burj Khalifa is really really high. Standing 828m tall it is the highest building in the world currently, until oil rich Dubai residents decide to increase their spending on first grade real estate again.

Some fun facts about the skyscraper:

  • In order to ensure a fresh water supply more than 100 km of pipes run through the building pumping nearly 1 million liters of water per day
  • The air conditioning uses air from the top of the building, which is cooler and cleaner than "ground" air. Due to the high humidity in Dubai´s climate the cooling system produces lots of condensing water that is collecting and used to irrigate the surrounding green areas.
  • Cleaning the whole tower takes 36 workers 3-4 months, although much of the window cleaning is actually automatized.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The deadliest Mountain in the World

Annapurna, a name that strikes terror into the heart of the most seasoned climbers under the high UV-intensive mountain sun.

Climbers attempted to scale Annapurna mountain range for fifty years before finally reaching its peak in 1950. It may only be the tenth highest of its kind in the world but it is still more than 8000m high and every seasoned professional trying to conquer the mountain has a 41 percent chance of never making it down to safety again.

Death Trap Peak

183 people have gone up but only 130 have survived to tell the tale. 53 people have died trying. This makes the mountain the most dangerous to climb in all the world. Other mountains have established base camps and tourism, like Mount Everest, where you can buy a complete training, oxygen for only a few hundred dollars a bottle and guides that push you up the mountain side. Annapurna is much more dangerous than that.

This is also reflected in the number of ascents of a meager 130 compared to more than 5000 ascents of Mount Everest who claims 4.3 fatalities for every 100 successful summits.

Most professional climbers hint that the south face of the moutain is the most dangerous route of all the 8000 mountains. The route contains big ice cliffs and seracs which are hard to climb and treacherous to evaluate.

Seracs of Annapurna

The seracs are huge columns of ice that form at glacier crevasses leaning in every direction. They are brittle and deadly as they may topple at any time even in the most stabilizing cold weather conditions. In order to get to the peak climbers must traverse this wasteland facing the danger of falls, collapses and entrapment. 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The most expensive Residence in the World

This week we are looking at the biggest, tallest, most extraordinary things you can find on the world map. To kick things off let´s have a look at the most extraordinary house that was built by a private individual. Just for the purpose of calling it home.

Meet Indian entrepreneur Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industry and stakeholder of more than 40% of India's natural gas and oil conglomerate. He has a personal wealth of more than 20 billion $ and is the richest man in India.

A person of such a stature of course desires a stately home that is representative of his power. That is why he built Antilia.


The record for most expensive house in the world was set in 2010, when the $1 billion, 37,161 square meter Mumbai home: Antilia, was finished. And at that price, it will likely hold the record for years.

The 27 floor skyscraper home is built for just the five people in the family and sits on a construction plot of more than 15.000 square meters. It is bigger than the Palace of Versailles. It employs more than 600 people just to keep the building and all its features up and running.


The highrise is equipped with a health spa, a salon, a ballroom, a 50-seat movie theatre and multiple swimming pools, yoga and dance studios and ice cream room. The most luxurious feature is a snow room that generates snowflakes 24/7 365 days a year to escape the tropical climate of India. In order to ensure transportation there is a car garage that expands over 6 floors of the building.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Trolltunga

Trolltunga the norwegian word for Troll's Tongue sticks out of a vertical mountain side of Skjeggedal above a large drop into the Hardanger Fjord. The tongue offers a beautiful view of the natural formations which resulted from the last ice age and the norwegian town of Odda.

The location is one of the lesser known nature formations in Norway and only draws a few thousands visitors every year. If you will you could call it an insider tip in the travel world of geological oddities. Another reason why it is not one of the busy travel places is the location. Climbing the Troll's Tongue is a hiking trip of four hours and although you don't  have to take rock climbing equipment you have to battle your fears. On a ledge that hovers about 700 m above the lake below visitors need to control their fear of heights. This is especially true because the area has no safety rails or spots for hooking climbing ropes in order not to disturb the peaceful nature of the place. Seasons also play a role in the ascent to the Tongue as it is only safe to make the trip in the summer months between June and September.

The cliff is part of the precambrian bedrock and was formed during the ice age, approximately 10,000 years ago, when the edges of the ice sheet reached down to northern Europe . The water from the glacier froze in the crevices of the mountain and eventually broke off large, angular blocks, which were later carried away with the glacier. Along the cliff itself deep cracks have formed. The 11 kilometer trip to Trolltunga also passes through the bedrock, and the clean washed slippery hillsides.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Neuschwanstein Castle

465 tonnes of Salzburg marble, 1,550 tonnes of sandstone, 400,000 bricks and 2,050 cubic metres of wood, 2 steam cranes and 300 artisans working day and night by the light of oil lamps. That is what it took to construct one of the most visited castles in the European Heartland.

Neuschwanstein Castle now

Built and paid for by Ludwig II of Bavaria the castle tried to revisit romantic architecture of the middle ages. The king was a lover of castles apparently as Neuschwanstein wasn't his only construction project. He was engaged in 2 more castle building projects, which never finished and indebted himself for more than 14 million Mark to achieve his goals. Ludwig was technically bankrupt and threatened suicide to stave off creditors from taking over his construction projects.

Panorama of the Castle

The King never saw the castle completed as he did before work was complete. His successor made the castle accessible to paying visitors to balance the debts and the royal house basically turned it into a cash cow tourist destination, which it still remains today. 

The setting of Neuschwanstein could not be more idyllic. However, movement in the foundation area has to be continuously monitored, and the sheer rock walls must be repeatedly secured. The harsh climate also has a detrimental effect on the limestone façades, which will have to be renovated section by section over the next few years.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Ghibli Town

In a quiet suburb of Tokyo, Japan there lies a park in which you can find a self declared museum of fine arts. The walk to the entrance reveals a lot of what is about to come.

How can I help you, Sir?

Guarding the entrance is big fluffy and kind Totoro one of many favourite characters from the japanese Ghibli animation studios that is better known in the western hemisphere for producing such classics as Princess Mononoke. The fine arts museum is all about the Ghibli experience and the greeting at the door beckons at things to come.

Inside you will be immersed in the story of characters from more than 18 animated feature films and countless short movies, commercials and television films. Let us take a look at some of the best exhibits.

The Catbus, one of the characters from the movie "My Neigbor Totoro", who greeted you at the main door is transformed into a giant plushy that can be climbed and explored. This will make you want to be a kid again.

Guarding the rooftop of the museum is a robot soldier from the movie "Laputa Castle in the Sky" who watches over the skygarden of the structure. One moment you are in the museum and the next you can experience a roof garden in one of the most densely populated areas of the planet.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Elephanta Caves

Just 9 nautical miles across the sea from Mumbai, India are the ancient Elephanta caves. The green island is one of histories wonders due to the cave temples that have been cut into the rock in the seventh century. The temples are dedicated to Shiva and many of the artful rock panels reflect Shiva in the role of  creator, protector and destroyer.

The island of Elephanta houses seven caves and their decorated temples and the images from Hindu mythology, bear a unique testimony to a civilization that has disappeared. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly in the huge high reliefs in the main cave.

The date of the famous Elephanta Caves is still very much debated and varies from the 6th century to the 8th century according to different specialists. They constitute one of the most striking collections of rock-art in India. There are two groups of caves. To the east, Stupa Hill contains two caves, one of which is unfinished, and several cisterns. To the west, the larger group consists of five rock-cut Hindu shrines. The main cave is universally famous for its carvings to the glory of Shiva, who is exalted in various forms and act ions. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: French Market, New Orleans

3 centuries of history and 6 blocks of shopping open daily, that is the message the French Market in New Orleans lives by. It was founded in 1791 as a Native American trading post and remains the oldest market of its kind in the United States of America. 

The French Market then

The market´s oldest structures that are still used today were established in 1813 at a time the area was the only one in New Orleans that was allowed to sell meat giving it the name of "Meat Market". Only after this privilege was revoked it started to use the name French Market and turned into a major tourist attraction over time. Today more than five million visitors and tourist from all over the world dive into the French Market experience every year.

The French Market now

Over time the traditional market area was expanded and renovated to include cafes and restaurants serving creole food typical for the region and individual areas specialized to become a farmers market offering fresh produce and a flea market trading in all kinds of bargains.

Artists display their achievements in the area and specialty shops have sprung up that celebrate the rich past of the area. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The Iron Pillar

Standing at the center of the Quwwatul Mosque the Iron Pillar is one of Delhi's most curious structures. Dating back to 4th century A.D., the pillar bears an inscription which states that it was erected as a flagstaff in honour of the Hindu god, Vishnu, and in the memory of the Gupta King Chandragupta II, whose reign extended into the 4th century A.D. How the pillar moved to its present location is not recorded in history. The most amazing part of the pillar´s story highlights ancient India's achievements in metallurgy. The pillar is made of 98 per cent wrought iron and has stood 1,600 years without heavy rust building up on the structure or decomposing.

The Iron Pillar

The Delhi Iron Pillar is a classical example of massive production of high class iron and is the biggest hand-forged block of iron from antiquity. It is made from wrought iron, which is a process of joining or folding two pieces of metal by heating them to a high temperature. The iron that was used also has a very low content of carbon which was unusual for the time. 

The Pillar stands at 7.3 metres tall, with one metre below the ground; the diameter is 48 centimetres at the foot, tapering to 29 cm at the top, just below the base of the wonderfully crafted capital; it weighs approximately 6.5 tonnes. Do not forget that it is only one piece of iron, folded and welded together to create the massive structure.

It is a demonstration of the high degree of accomplishment in the art of iron making by ancient Indian iron and steel makers. It has been said that the Indians were the only non-European people who manufactured heavy forged pieces of iron and the pieces were of the size that the European smiths did not learn to make more than one thousand years later. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Ancient city of Pompeii

In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted and took the city of Pompeii with it. The tragedy remains in people´s minds not only because of the magma that conserved buildings, people and items of everyday use but also because roman writer Pliny witnessed the catastrophe from nearby Misenum.

Remains in Pompeii

Pliny described the tragedy a few years later in a letter to his friend Cornelius Tacitus:

"My uncle was stationed at Misenum, in active command of the fleet. On 24 August, in the early afternoon, my mother drew his attention to a cloud of unusual size and appearance. He had been out in the sun, had taken a cold bath, and lunched while lying down, and was then working at his books. He called for his shoes and climbed up to a place which would give him the best view of the phenomenon. It was not clear at that distance from which mountain the cloud was rising (it was afterwards known to be Vesuvius); its general appearance can best be expressed as being like an umbrella pine, for it rose to a great height on a sort of trunk and then split off into branches, I imagine because it was thrust upwards by the first blast and then left unsupported as the pressure subsided, or else it was borne down by its own weight so that it spread out and gradually dispersed. In places it looked white, elsewhere blotched and dirty, according to the amount of soil and ashes it carried with it.

Ruins of the city with the perpetrator Mount Vesuvius in the Background

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Christiana - Free state and drug traffic center of Kopenhagen

Some people cut a hole in a fence, took over an empty space and founded their own free state in the midst of Copenhagen.

Why? Drugs of course.

Unofficial Flag Art of Christiania

Established in 1971 in an area formerly occupied by an army base Christiania is a self proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood covering 34 hectares of land and containing about 850 official residents.
The legal status of the area is to this day dubious. The supervision of the community has been transferred from the town of Copenhagen to the country of Denmark. A normalization of the area and a clear rule of law have never been achieved.

The whole area is basically a large social experiments that would drive anthropologist to foam from their mouths if they were told that they got a license for social studies in the community.

Christiania Breakfast Foods

The community of Christiana is made up by entrepreneurs who trade in soft drugs like cannabis, ex-hard drug users and everyone who does not agree with the normal runnings of society. This has helped to spread free thinking people, popular theater groups, yoga classes and meditation circles. 

Sometimes the police try to crack down on it, sometimes they do not. It mostly depends whether Christiania is currently seen as a nuisance or a major tourist attraction.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The 5 coolest exhibits from the National Air and Space Museum

17,000 space artifacts, more than 3,000 individual pieces from the historic Apollo moon landing program, containing a multitude of items that have been in space and on our calmly orbiting neigbor, the moon. That is the National Air and Space museum. Let us have a look at the best exhibits it has to offer

1.  The Wright Flyer

12 horsepower, a maximum flying altitude of a few meters and a record flight of 59 seconds covering a distance of 250 meters, that is progress.

I like this museum. Lots of cool planes
- That guy from yelp

2. Space Suits for Kids

All ages of spaceflight and all materials are represented in the space suit collection of the museum. The best part is of course the infant version, an early advance in technology to make sure that mom and dad could take their kids when booking a holiday on the moon.

Space suits. You know, for kids!

3. Tiger Air Insignia

Inspiring a Kellogg´s brand of corn flakes that helped millions of kids to develop cute early onset diabetes, the Tony the Tiger air insignia of the 14th Air Force, United States Army Air Forces is on display in the National Air and Space Museum. It features a derpy looking tiger with wings and a stylized japanese imperial flag, somebody probably got reamed for the design. 

Tony the Tiger gives you wings 

4. Felix the cat blowing up your enemies

United States Navy fighting Squad Number 6 definitely had the best designer. Nothing could strike more fear into the hearts of your enemies than Felix the Cat and his ACME like bomb supply. 

Feel the terror of his large eyed gaze

5. Dr. James B. Edson´s lunchbox kit of awesomeness

Not only does this lunchbox kit come from the former belongings of a NASA scientist, he also was involved in "Lunch Talks" at the museum educating others how NASA made cool large fiery rockets that penetrated space, time and our imaginations. One day he thought his lunchbox was to badass not to be seen by everybody and donated it to the museum.

Feel the rocket powered coffee penetrate your taste buds

The only thing missing from the museum and our list:

You know it to be true!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Smithsonian, Dinosaur fossils and Tarantula feeding

More than 6.8 million people are enchanted every year by the wonders of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Dinosaur fossils, a huge stuffed elephant and a zoo of a different kind, only consisting of insects, fascinates visitors of all ages. Now it is all owned by Cara on Geopieces. All I can say is that somebody seems to like dinosaurs.


The Smithsonian is officially the world´s largest museum although technically it is a conglomerate of 19 museums and galleries, all aptly named Smithsonian. So if you are planning a trip to your favourite exhibition always make sure to research what sub-museum houses it. The scope of topics covered by the Smithsonian is awe inspiring. Everything you can imagine is on display; from a magnificent collection of ancient Chinese bronzes to the Star-Spangled Banner; from a 3.5 billion-year-old fossil to the Apollo lunar landing module; from the ruby slippers featured in The Wizard of Oz to presidential paintings and memorabilia. 

But there is only one exhibition that can take home the prize to be the best. In a totally non biased vote, based on my sole opinion, an unanimous decision was made to elect the Smithsonian Inscet "petting" zoo as the most grand and beloved exhibition. 

Dedicated by O. Orkin, who ironically owns a pest control company, the insect zoo is a special exhibition hall which presents specimen with six to eight legs to be cuddled by specimen with up to two legs. Volunteers conduct tarantula feedings and insects may be touched and held by visitors.  

Smithsonian entomologist feeds Tarantula

So book a trip, visit the museum and start cuddling with crickets, leaf insects and water beetles.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Hobbiton

Imagine the countryside of New Zealand. Rolling meadows, beautiful farmland, green grass and a clear blue sky. Suddenly there are chimneys rising out of hills and little doors leading into the earth. Welcome to Hobbiton, New Zealand.

 Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton, New Zealand

The real name of the town is actually Matamata, which only sounds slightly less weird than the given name of Hobbiton. This is also, maybe, probably, the cause of much enthusiasm about Peter Jackson´s epic movie tale that ultimately lead to the decision to identify the town as Hobbiton via some shiny new signs.

The town formerly known as Matamata

The decision was most likely aided by large amount of tourist currency as the town is the destination of choice for many travel tours with illustrious names like "Hunting Hobbits" or "A long expected journey to New Zealand". Matamata is always a core destinations in these trips swarmed with Lord of the Rings fans. 

The whole area went through a significant transformation turning hordes of sheep, the property of more than a thousand acres used to be a sheep farm, into hordes of tourists. The town features such attractions as peeking into a Hobbit hole and watering your tongue at the local Green Dragon Inn, home and inspiration to many famous Hobbit drinking songs. If you are not into Hobbit activities there is still hunting, trout fishing, hiking and mountain biking.

The really interesting trivia about the place is that a lot was actually artifically made just for the movies. The old oak tree overlooking the town was imported, piece by piece, and reassembled. The leaves are artificial and supplied by Taiwans industrious workforce. The base of the town took nine months of moving earth and was done by the New Zealand army and the props and interior design used mainly plywood and styrofoam.

Made in Taiwan

After the filming of Lord of the Rings was complete nothing remained of the props except for the outer structure of the Hobbit holes and the big oak tree only to be rebuilt in full for the filming of the Hobbit.
This time the redesign is permanent and you can experience the full movie fantasy through a visit.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

There are more than 7,650 skyscrapers crowding the skyline of Hong Kong right to the edge of the harbour. The former British imperial city and now China´s finest special administrative region, wow what a mouthfull, is visited by scores of tourists every year. Where do the get the best view of the city? Victoria Peak.

View of Hong Kong at night from Victoria Peak

Tourists seek out the vertical city often search for a place to see the night sky and take in a little nature and quiet. That is why Victoria Peak is visited by more than ten million people a year, to be exact 10,088,493 people, only about three million people more than the population of Hong Kong. 

The mountain is locally known as just "The Peak", which would make an awesome Hollywood blockbuster movie title. You heard it here first, coming in Summer 2014 by Warner Brothers. 

View of the Peak 

The exploration of the mountain startet in the early 19th century when European residents and explorers discovered the panoramic view of the city the Peak had to offer. Europeans who enjoy colonialism but not the tropical climate of the Hong Kong bay area soon realized that Victoria Peak offered a more temperate climate and began plans to flee the warmth for cooler prospects.

Comfort sparked ingenuity and in 1881 the British started putting together plans for a railway to climb the Peak. It opened a mere 45 years later, talk about British efficiency, in 1926. 

Up, up we go

The old times called for a strict class system in the railway and led to a rather enjoyable listing of who could ride in which carriage. First class was reserved for colonial officers and residents of the Peak. Second class for military and police forces and if you were not lucky enough to enjoy a position of power you had to ride with livestock in the lowest category. The main question that remains is whether you had to buy a ticket for your chicken or if it could ride on your lap?

To this day the Peak remains one of the most important tourist attractions in Hong Kong and the railway still guides visitors to the top.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Cape of Good Hope

Located at the southwestern tip of Africa the Cape of Good Hope is not the actual southern tip of the continent. It more than makes up for this slight geographical mishap by being incredible beautiful.

Aerial view of the Cape of Good Hope

Cape point is part of the Table Mountain National Park one of the most inspiring Natural World Heritage Sites. The main burning question that still remains is: Why is it so commonplace that the Cape is considered the most southern tip of Africa? Well, exploration, imperialism and european obsessions with long distance trade. I am looking at you Indian delicious spices and chinese silk. 

The first who wanted to avoid the landbarriers of travel and sail the breeze around Africa were the Portuguese naming the outcrop the Cape of Storms. Not much later considering the name not appropriate for an important landmark on the way to trade with India and the East it was renamed Cape of Good Hope to reflect its importance in European trade.

This made the Cape the landmark of choice, especiallly because at the tip trading ships starting travelling East instead of South, marking a welcome change in the course of travelling. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Albertina

Ah the great arts. One piece of the world that is near and dear to my heart because it is located in my home town has been claimed on the world map. 

The albertina is one of the most important collections of art in the western world featuring more than 65.000 drawings and more than 1 million master prints from all the ages of art.

The Albertina in the Vienna city center

The art collection was established  by the Duke of Saxony in 1776, one of many european highborns married to one of Maria Theresa´s numerous daughters. On permanent display in the Albertina's new exihibition collection are the most exciting art movements of the last 130 years: from French impressionism to German expressionism to the Russian avant garde and the present.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: First McDonald´s in the world

Starting a revolution in food habits and spawning a multi billion dollar industry the first McDonald´s location in the world, now turned a museum, can be visited in Des Plaines, Illinois. A major franchise and founder of a convenience food dynasty with humble roots. Well, now it has been claimed on Geopieces, maybe the McDonald´s corporation wants it back some day.

If only Hamburgers where 15 cents today

Founded by Ray Kroc in 1955 the first of many already featured the typical red and white colour scheme we know today and introduced the golden arches. The restaurant was actually torn down in 1984 because renovation was no longer feasible and rebuilt by the McDonald´s corporation. Although you can still visit the restaurant, sadly there is no food service available and you can take a closer look at ancient kitchen and preperation areas. 

The great things of the past, and I am kind of sad they did not translate into modern times, include freshly made fries. Actual potatoes were delivered and peeled, blanched, sliced and fried. Freshly made milkshakes wipped up by hand and not coming out of a machine, which always seems to be broken or closed down for the night at my location. This may be caused either by poor maintenance or my own insane biological day and night cycle, genetically I am 90% owl apparently. At least bring back root beer drawn from barrels, please?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Fisherman’s Wharf

We have seen so much great content and pieces of the world map claimed by users on Geopieces that we thought: Why not make a series out of this? Present some of the great things on the world map and try and learn a little bit about the history of the cool locations that can be discovered on the world map.

This is the first of our series: Fisherman´s Wharf in San Francisco Bay

Welcome sign: There are crabs to be had!

The wharf encompasses the northern waterfront area of San Francisco includes a nice market area that has been snatched up on Geopieces. The area got popular in the 1800s because the bay was rich of dungeness crab and it was developed by new immigrants to the great America, who mainly where of Italian descent.

Delicious crab

If you are a hater of all things seafood read no further as the wharf serves as the harbour of the San Francisco fishing fleet from its conception until the present day. It harbors a whole supply chain of all the goods the sea has to offer. Fresh sea goodies are caught and delivered traded by merchants to experience the ultimate fresh experience of salty creatures and prepared on site by a host of restaurants. 

The area is also beloved by tourists. More than 75% of visitors to San Francisco partake in a tour of the wharf. Most likely because you can not only sea the fishing fleet but stroll the harbor and bay area and smell the seafood and the sourdough of the French bakeries in the area.