The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west. Though known for its pristine beaches, all-inclusive resorts and golfing, it has a varied terrain comprising rainforest, savannah and highlands, including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain. It has Spanish colonial history going back 500 years, and passionate merengue is its official music and dance.
Saturday, 30 January 2016
Norway is a Scandinavian country encompassing mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords. Oslo, the capital, is a city of green spaces and museums, including the Edvard Munch Museum and the Norsk Folkemuseum, a collection of open-air historic buildings. Preserved 10th-century Viking ships are displayed at the Vikingskipshuset. Norway is also known for fishing, hiking and skiing – notably at Lillehammer’s Olympic resort.
Denmark is a country comprising the Jutland peninsula and its offshore islands, linking Northern Europe and Scandinavia via the Öresund bridge. On Zealand, the capital, Copenhagen is home to the rococo Frederiksstaden district and its royal palaces, Tivoli pleasure gardens and the “Little Mermaid” statue. On neighboring Funen is Odense, storyteller Hans Christian Andersen’s hometown, with a medieval core of cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses.
Slovenia, a country in Central Europe, is known for its mountains, outdoor recreation and ski resorts. Set on a glacial lake fed by thermal springs, the town of Bled contains a church-topped islet and a cliffside medieval castle. Nearby Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps offers skiing and hiking, plus rafting along the Soča River, renowned for aquamarine water.
Thailand is a country on Southeast Asia’s Indochina peninsula known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha, a revered symbol. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises next to quiet canal and riverside communities. Commercial hubs such as Chinatown consist of labyrinthine alleys crammed with shophouses, markets and diners.
The Netherlands, a country in northwestern Europe, is known for its flat landscape, canals, tulip fields, windmills and cycling routes. Amsterdam, the capital, is home to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, the house where Jewish diarist Anne Frank hid during WWII and a red light district. Canalside mansions and a trove of works from artists including Rembrandt and Vermeer remain from the 17th-century "Golden Age."
Great Britain is an island separated from the European mainland by the English Channel and North Sea. IIt comprises the nations of England, Scotland and Wales. Its long history is evident in prehistoric sites such as Neolithic Stonehenge, and medieval castles like those at Warwick, Dover and Caernarfon. Roman ruins include Hadrian’s Wall, which once divided Roman Britain from the northern Scottish lowlands.
Friday, 29 January 2016
Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is a sprawling metropolis known for its ornate shrines and vibrant street life. The boat-filled Chao Phraya River feeds its network of canals, flowing past the Rattanakosin royal district, home to the opulent Grand Palace and its sacred Emerald Buddha temple. Nearby is Wat Pho with its enormous reclining Buddha and, on the opposite shore, Wat Arun with its steep steps and Khmer-style spire.
Hong Kong is a city, and former British colony, in southeastern China. Vibrant and densely populated, it’s a major port and global financial center famed for its tower-studded skyline. It’s also known for its lively food scene – from Cantonese dim sum to extravagant high tea – and its shopping, with options spanning chaotic Temple Street Night Market to the city’s innumerable bespoke tailors.
Slovakia is a central European country known for its dramatic natural landscape and many castles. Near the Austrian border, capital city Bratislava features a pedestrian-only Old Town with a lively cafe scene. Rising on a hill above the Danube River, Bratislava Castle houses a branch of the Slovak National Museum, with displays from Roman artifacts to 20th-century arts and crafts.
Thursday, 28 January 2016
New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. Capital Wellington, on the North Island, is home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the expansive national museum. Wellington’s dramatic Mt. Victoria and the South Island’s Fiordland and Southern Lakes stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s "Lord of the Rings" films.
Australia is a country, and continent, surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Its major cities – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide – are coastal, but its capital, Canberra, is inland and nicknamed the "Bush Capital." The country is known for its Sydney Opera House, Great Barrier Reef, the vast Outback (interior desert wilderness) and unique animal species including kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses.
Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean with high-rise-filled cities, imperial palaces, mountainous national parks and thousands of shrines and temples. Tokyo, the crowded capital, is known for its neon skyscrapers and pop culture. In contrast, Kyoto offers Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, gardens and cherry blossoms. Sushi, the national dish, is served everywhere from casual pubs to gourmet restaurants.
The U.S. is a country of 50 states covering a vast swath of North America, with Alaska in the extreme Northwest and Hawaii extending the nation’s presence into the Pacific Ocean. Major cities include New York, a global finance and culture center, and Washington, DC, the capital, both on the Atlantic Coast; Los Angeles, famed for filmmaking, on the Pacific Coast; and the Midwestern metropolis Chicago.
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe,bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland and Slovakia to the west, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively. It is the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world. The capital is Kiev.