There are hardly many travelers who would go somewhere further than city centre where their hotel is situated when on a short-term journey. And if location is a metropolis on top of everything else, such “outside” trips are sure to be put on hold till better occasions.
And vainly so because it is in residential districts where one can have a look at a foreign country with the eyes of its citizens which is far more educative than hurry-scurry tours around castles and squares.
Local citizens say that in their city everyone knows each other therefore if the capital is one huge village than its residential district Vesturbær is almost a commune where all dwellers are nearly cater-cousins. The district is distinctive for its open pool with thermal waters that operates year around. In evenings there is “full house” by its nosing because, while back-stroke swimming, not only one can see most beautiful starry sky but polar lights as well. Not far from there ocean swashes calmingly by comfortable beaches and a couple of cafés which serve great ice yoghurt. Several significant buildings at once are situated in the heart of the district: Landakotskirkja Catholic Church, designed by famous architect Guðjón Samúelsson, and campus of University of Iceland. Alongside religious people and students, cats caught fancy for this part of Vesturbær – there are thousands of them and nearly all of them with name-tagged collars. On notice boards most popular notices are on disappearance of this or that pet. “Aborigines” say that for many of them whole life passes in one district – there is everything one needs for comfortable existence so why go anywhere?Photo thebrokebackpacker.com
Staten Island, New York
If there is only New York in your trip to the United States with all its lights, skyscrapers and movie-like life but you very much feel like seeing classic “one-storey America” – Staten Island district is the best suitable place for it. Upper crusters from Manhattan, working men from Brooklin and dealers from Bronx often tease Staten Island inhabitants calling them as nearly as hayseeds. The thing is that this part of the city with its small houses, quiet life and oceans of vegetation doesn’t look like your ordinary metropolis. Many people there are actually engaged in farming within the limits of the Big Apple. Low population density together with natural conditions encourages that: the Island is perfectly washed with Hudson River. Local dwellers feel comfortable because their life is deliberate, there are no traffic jams and all blessings of civilization are just past the legendary Verrazano Bridge. The Ferry is believed to be the main landmark of the district; it connects Staten Island to Manhattan – the trip lasts for about half an hour and provides for a chance to enjoy wonderful views including those of the Statue of Liberty and the zoo that was opened as far back as in 1963.Photo kenlicata.net
Buenos Aires, Argentina
After a look around city centre we suggest all the tourists move to the south-east suburb of the city where Barracas, former working district, is situated. It got its name due to numerous barracks in which eager beavers lived when their main occupation was slaughterhouse. Later nearly entire factory production of the city moved there thus turning 19th century Barracas into industrial heart of Argentine capital. However when in late next century industrial productions wound down or were transferred from Buenos Aires at all, huge warehouse facilities didn’t remain empty for long – poor artists and students began moving to the neighborhood. They were followed by other citizens attracted by cheap accommodation and abundance of artists painting everything and anything. Thus galleries and art-spaces emerged instead of slaughterhouses and factories. Nowadays Barracas is a decent and safe residential district famous for football player Di Stefano being born there, Church of Santa Felicitas and neighborhoods that became sets for numerous movies including famous film South by Fernando Solanas.Photo fodors.com
The Greater Tokyo consists of huge number of district cities and suburbs – it isn’t just a metropolis, it is a separate country. Sometimes its citizens themselves cannot tell a district from a suburb – so urbanized it all got. In 20-minutes ride on commuter rail from the centre green Mitaka is located – perfect spot for picnics, walks with children and simply having a beer in one of numerous parks (“Kampai” exclamations can be heard every other second even on working days). This place can be briefly characterized with three words: sakura, pond, Miyazaki-land. Nature there is truly impressive – while boating and enjoying beauty and silence it is hard to believe that it is a capital with twenty millions of population. As to the great animator, as far back as in 2001 he created Studio Ghibli Museum that is much more often called Totoro Museum (it was the name of his animation film’s character) in the territory of district. Alongside a chance to see with your own eyes how the masterpieces were created, every willing person can attend the master’s study and have an eyeful of his pictures and sketches. Mitaka is both children’s and adults’ favorite spot and there is no better place in entire Tokyo for a romantic walk.Photo champ-magazine.com
Right past the bridge with jaw-breaking (for foreigners) name Pitkäsilta, Kallio, real working district proudly spreads out. As late as in 1970s it was notorious for they preferred tight-lipped yet specific people there and treated “aliens” from city centre suspiciously. But the latter ones kept coming anyway because in weather-beaten beerhouses alcohol cost peanuts in comparison to fine bars in Helsinki. Local public baths that occupied entire streets, attracted citizens from all over the city, too. There were so many of them in Kallio because nearly all of local housing built a century ago were condominiums so there were hardly many people who could boast of an apartment larger than 20 square meters and there simply were no baths or showers. All in all, some 15-20 years ago the only things they were doing in the district were working like dogs on factories, drinking beer and washing in baths. Everything changed when the Finns increased their living standards so much that there was no more need in domestic industry on such scale and workers began retraining for clerks and enterprises themselves shut down. First signals, that not only Kallio is becoming a different place but even a hipster one, were opening of a second hand shop and of a vegetarian café there. To the credit of locals, they realized that times changed and didn’t look at people who earn living with their heads rather than hands with jaundiced eye. And as time went on things got really mixed: former plant workers enjoy coffee in brand new establishments and new-coming intellectuals curiously master abandoned objects to turn them into clusters and cinemas. More to that, the district became so unanimous that the main holiday there is Korttelikeittiö, the day when locals gather in the street to cook food and treat each other – some kind of local festival. Second most popular event is litter pick. However, although they may gradually forget former atmosphere of Kallio, the place still preserves its spirit of liberty and over there no one is surprised if beer is ordered at 8 a.m. And cheap baths still operate.Photo instaphenomenons.me
If all the magnificent Istanbul is considered as the heart of regional trade, one of its most luxurious streets, Bagdad Avenue, is, certainly, the main artery. Having appeared there, even rejecting shopping with the whole heart, one feels hardship while trying to keep him balanced and not succumb to temptation to go to the ships and markets. Even though, apart from that, there is something to do here.
Lisbon is one of the most beautiful and ancient cities in Europe, however, its territory is difficult for living and building due to its steep hilly terrain. Portuguese metropolis is situated on seven densely populated hills. That's why its hallmark is three funicular railroads and the elevator, without which tourists and residents would be much in trouble moving around the city.
Marina Orlova is a project manager in a cultural and public organization. Working on one of her international projects, she met her love - Wim, a guy from Belgium. She succeeded to visit his country only when Ukraine obtained visa-free regime and Marina shared with OUTLOOK her observations about how the Belgians live, what they eat for breakfast and how they relax.
Perhaps, everyone who is going to plunge into fun holiday has already planned spectacular routes and scenic spots. In order not to spoil your trip and not to see gates to the desired gateway closing right in front of your nose, we encourage you to read our selection of locations forbidden for visits.
So, to wash your hands, you have to leave indoor slippers before bathroom threshold, step into the bathroom, slip into the special footwear, wash hands, remove those special bathroom slippers, and switch for indoor slippers when re-entering the living area. Earlier, probably in jest, Oba-san warned me that if I step onto the living area in the toilet slippers, he will tell me about hara-kiri rules.
Experienced tourists believe that one of the best sure-fire ways to quickly tune into the beat of another culture is to try local food. In order not to be at a loss when choosing dishes and save precious time for spiritual food, Outlook gives you selective advice on street gastronomy from seven spots of the globe.
One of the smallest capitals of the world – Malé – offers to have a look at the country’s, not 5-star hotel’s, places of interest and to get closer to life of ordinary Maldivians, not people from a room next door. First association that comes to mind at the mention of the Maldives is something azure and pastoral.
The first thing every tourist shall learn in a country is a transport system. Very often it seems to be complicated and confusing, and it takes weeks or even months to make head or tail of it. OUTLOOK reader Natalia Usenko visited Japan and is sharing her impressions about the most comfortable and safest transport in the world.
Once upon the time, Pygmy peoples lived on the west coast of Africa. They did not have any conflicts with anyone. When they were hungry, they went hunting, picked up nuts and bananas. Then the Mpongwé and the Fang tribes came. After them, the Portuguese arrived and named these lands Gabon. They were followed by the French who acquired the land and declared it as their colony.
If what they show in cinematograph is true than a typical samurai appears to be austere, taciturn and even slightly unsociable person. But this image in actual fact doesn’t get in line with reality... You don’t believe it? Our journalist Elena Rasenko suggests you make sure of it for yourself.
Elena Rasenko has visited Armenia and shares with readers the original charm of the country in which one really wants to stay. Armenians treat their national treasure - khachkars - very reverently and respectfully. These are processed and refined cross stones with a unique ornate pattern. So OUTLOOK proceeds with its story about Armenia.
For many tourists France is mainly Paris with long queues to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, as well as neighbouring sights with royal chic, or Mediterranean resorts. But OUTLOOK author while travelling through the country decided to go to the north, to Normandy! Our readers are welcome to read series of travel essays about a journey to the Atlantic Ocean by Kornei Gritsyuk...
- Do you want to try some rice? - such a question is greeted by guests in China. And if the owners are also farmers, they can invite you on an unusual excursion and show you the masterpiece of natural art. The grass which we often eat without thinking about its aesthetics, at the time of growing resembles a blanket woven from multi-colored rags ...
In the world there is an unusual place where the biggest number of twins are born. Although at first glance it looks like a mystical coincidence, statistics makes you believe in miracles. The Indian state of Kerala can boast of a village where unusual things happen. Kodhini is the place with more twins than anywhere else in the world. Actually, there is almost no explanation for this.
It is just as hard to imagine a Japanese who doesn’t eat fish as to picture a Scott who doesn’t drink whiskey. OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko will tell you about a unique place where successors of samurai purchase fine seafood for their tables.
Incheon is considered to be sea and air gateway to South Korea since it has one of the country's largest seaports and the most spacious, world-class airport in the region. The city is growing rapidly: within just a hundred years it developed from a modest port settlement to an ultramodern industrial and tourist hub.
Green slopes covered with heather moorland, deserted suburban roads, narrow streets with small cottages and gardens emitting heady fragrance - it seems that British villages are unchangeable through the passage of time. Like stilled scenery for heroic fantasy fiction, each of them has its own story about great battles, brave warriors and legendary artefacts.
I was heading to this Caucasian state all by myself to completely strange people. Prior to the trip all my friends and relatives warned me more than a dozen times about harsh temper of the hillmen and painted a vivid picture of what kind of difficulties were expecting me, a young woman travelling alone.
Spiegelgasse is originated from German collocation ‘Mirror street’ or ‘Mirror alley’. However, it is not the biggest and the most important street in Zurich. Moreover, it is vice versa, incredibly short and narrow… Well, being situated in the quiet nooks of the old city in such a way that no tourists could see it.
OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko came back from Japan and launches a special series of articles devoted to this country. Warning for very sensitive readers: Beware! After reading, you will get a keen desire to break away, buy a ticket and fly to such a marvelous and fascinating Land of the Rising Sun!