The Mdina Gate is famous for being used as a filming location for Game of Thrones, but more importantly, it stands between the two cities of Mdina and Rabat (arabic: suburb as it was outside the old capital Mdina). Here, it can be seen how differently life inside and outside the city gates was. The St. Paul’s Cathedral is located in Mdina while St. Paul’s Catacombs – burial grounds – are located in Rabat.
The construction of the magnificent Saint John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta is deeply intertwined with Malta’s past and influence by the Order of St. John. Compared to an oyster because the plain exterior hides the lush interior baroque decorations, it tells the story of Malta’s religious history. Every one of the eight langues (sections) of the order is represented in a chapel, rich with its native symbolism and characteristics.
So is Valletta the monochrome city? The predominant color seems to be sandstone on which the city has been built. But looking closer, splashes of color seep through the cracks and crevasses of the architecture, infiltrating the built of the city – the greyish blue of the sky, the deep blue of the water surrounding it, the aquas and greens of the balconies, the reds of crosses and cars, the multicolored boats…
Tübingen is a good destination for the aimless, searching for scenic strolls and promenades. Timber framework and colorful riverfronts are condensed into one small cobblestoned old town where you can find yourself going round and round in circles but still discovering more photogenic spots as you go. Don’t forget the University, a huge part of the town, and remember to sample some Swabian cuisine.
Kamakura is a comfortable day trip to do from Tokyo, perfect for getting out of the megacity and explore some of the many temples, there is even a beach to go to. The giant buddha is probably the city’s most famous resident – you can visit the inside, too!
For any food place that is a bit more popular and well-known in Tokyo, be prepared to stand in line. Best bet is to go at odd times in between meal times and just expect to wait for a while. Other than that, delicious food is waiting for you! Noodles are a favorite of mine, be it the more traditionally Japanese soba (buckwheat noodles) or the more Chinese inspired ramen, they are comfort in a bowl. There are lots of really good noodle places, so take your pick and enjoy.
Tired from escaping the crowds at Senso-ji temple? The nearby street food stalls might not be less frequented but provide some much-needed fuel for a sightseeing day. Fried stuff, pancakes, the ever-so-popular seafood, there is something for everyone. Of course, each district will have plenty of takeaway food to satisfy you.
Home to several national museums and major temples, there is no shortage of culture in Ueno (上野). Shinobazu pond is also one of the few flecks of water inside the city (not counting the ocean), home to beautiful Bentendo temple (see header). Ueno park is also not to be missed, the colors on a sunny day are simply stunning.
Although Tsujiki Fish Market (築地市場) relocated to Toyosu in 2018 and the sacred place closed its doors forever, the street stalls and restaurants surrounding the market are still in business. Tourists still come here for some of the freshest seafood and the atmosphere. The contrast of seafood cooking away on outdoor stoves and collection of closed-down stores makes for a great street photography session, fresh seafood included.
This seems to be the inofficial motto of Ginza (銀座), home to Western shopping, mega department stores like Ginza six and upscale boutiques. New year’s shopping starts on January 2nd and is just crazy – people line up in the cold to get to those deals. Also, lucky bags are a huge deal in Japan: a bag full of goodies that can be purchased to bring good luck.
Odaiba (お台場) is an artificial island connected to the city via Rainbow bridge – a bridge that is lit up at night in the colors of a rainbow (duh). Its offers are centered around entertainment: Gundam statue, ferris wheel, museums, parks and gaming centers are all located here.
Shinjuku (新宿区) is one of the major hubs of Tokyo – people come here for work, shopping and lots of food. For a bit more of a familial feeling, head to golden gai – six narrow alleys forming a network of bars – to cramp down in one of the tiny shops to enjoy drinks and snacks.