The Old Miami Beach Historic District, located in South Beach, is the version of Miami you see in postcards and imagine being in – running in slow motion along albino sands, or sipping drinks with little umbrellas while basking beneath palm trees and gazing up at almost gaudily colourful buildings.
Colloquially referred to as the Art Deco district, a visit to this funky area of Miami is one sure to use up your camera’s memory card (or spool if you’re old school), so in anticipation of all the lovely pictures you can take, here are a few of our favourites.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Homework for Saturday: take one photo that makes you happy.
Featured image by wyntuition
If we were ever in danger of forgetting that we can still be mystified and not everything is explicable, the magic of the maze is always there to remind us.
Whether it’s the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur or the political intrigue and literary inspiration of Hampton Court, a maze can always be counted on to chill and delight us in equal measure. But while the puzzle may be ancient, the art of maze making is still alive and well the world over.
Without the help of Ariadne or even a hint of golden thread we’ve found some of the best mazes to get happily lost in for hours on end. And they’re perfect for children. So step inside the legendary adventure of the maze and create an unforgettable adventure of your own.
Russborough House, Co. Wicklow, Eire
Without a doubt one of the most enchanting aspects of a maze is where you come across them. Russborough House in Co. Wicklow, Ireland is known as the longest house in Ireland and is certainly the country’s finest Palladian Mansion. Russborough is a house of secrets and mysteries (the diaries of the last owner, Sir Alfred Beit, are held in trust in Dublin until 21 years after the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth II). Fitting then that the 2000m² Beech Hedge Maze in the garden is a puzzle that needs a map and still has visitors wandering and lost. The ‘goal’ at the heart of Russborough Maze is a statue of Cupid enclosed in a diamond hedge symbolising The Beit Family’s role as pioneers in the ‘diamond trade’. It is possible to attempt solving the mystery of the Russborough Maze before you step inside – one window on the first floor of the house overlooks the entire design – but you should probably take a phone with you just in case.
Il Labarinto, Villa Pisani, Venice
On the Riviera del Brenta about 20 minutes from Venice and 10 minutes from Padua stands the magnificent Villa Pisani. Often called the ‘Queen’ of Venetian Villas, Villa Pisani is famous for its Rococo interior, the ‘most beautiful gardens in Italy’ and for Il Labarinto, still considered to be the most complex maze in the world. Napoleon Bonaparte got lost here in 1807, Hitler and Mussolini refused to venture in and today’s visitors regularly call for assistance from the depths – this maze does not come with a map. For the intrepid and those with a good sense of direction the reward at the heart of Villa Pisani’s Maze is a charming two storey tower with exterior spiral staircases. This is the perfect vantage point from which to observe the confused and to admire the long expanses of the villa’s formal gardens.
Reignac-sur-Indre, Indre-et-Loire, France
Created in 1996, Reignac-sur-Indre is the largest ‘plant maze’ in the world. Although the design is a classical labyrinth, the planting of the maze uses a sowing and re-marking technique to make a vibrant living sculpture that flourishes with sunflowers in summer and dies back almost to a shadow in winter. This isn’t too puzzling a maze but its sheer size is an incomparable adventure. Indre-et-Loire is also famous for its chateaux, medieval towns and villages, beautiful lakes, forests and rivers and for its hot air balloons. So once you’ve explored the maze and its landscape on the ground you can always sail gently over it and see everything from another perspective entirely.
Parc del Laberint, Barcelona, Spain
This 18 acre garden, part of the Alfarràs Estate on the edge of Barcelona, is the oldest in the city and unquestionably the most romantic. The centrepiece of the garden is a maze of 2m high hedges devised to almost exactly replicate the Minotaur’s mythical Labyrinth at Knossos. Not content to mirror the classical design, the maze also uses statuary, art and friezes to capture every detail of Theseus and Ariadne’s love story – the prize at the heart is, of course, a statue of Cupid. The great romantic idyll is celebrated in the rest of Parc del Laberint too. But all the Temples of Ariadne and statues of Echo pale by comparison with a monument created simply to commemorate, ‘one splendid afternoon’.
Cawdor Castle, Nairn, Scotland
With its crow stepped gables and steeply pitched roofs, Cawdor Castle is at once fairy tale and intrinsically Scottish. Often called the Highlands’ most romantic castle and forever linked to Shakespeare through his wildly inaccurate tragedy Macbeth, Cawdor also has one of the finest walled kitchen gardens in Britain and at its heart lies the immaculately groomed Holly Maze. Designed in 1981 by Lord Cawdor and based on the mosaic maze in the ruined Roman Villa of Conimbriga, Portugal, Cawdor’s maze is not a conundrum or a place to get lost, but it is very beautiful and tracing its intricacies passes some very peaceful time.
Vizcaya, Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida
In 1916 the agricultural industrialist James Deering built his summer retreat overlooking Biscayne Bay in Miami. A huge, Italianate villa with dozens of rooms and over 10 acres of garden, today Vizcaya is one of the most glamorous museums in the world. Deering’s passion was planting – when he realised Miami’s climate wouldn’t fulfil his desire for abundant orchids he created a ‘secret garden’ specifically for their cultivation. He had orchards built, woodland tamed and, of course, inspired by the true spirit of 18th century Italy he made a maze. Not one of the largest or most confusing, but Vizcaya hosts many elegant evening events so it is one of the few mazes to explore by moonlight.
Featured image by Tim Green.
Guy Fawkes in the UK, then Diwali around the world, Thanksgiving in the USA to Hanukkah and Christmas just gone we’ve had plenty of things to celebrate at this time of the year; and to go along with all these festivities are the whizzes, pops and bangs of fireworks displays. However, fireworks design teams around the world are saving the best for last with New Year’s Eve being the highlight of their calendar. Here’s our guide to some of the best places in the world to see them master their craft and stop and shop coinstar Coinstar Money Transfer, ROMANIA, MURES welcome in 2013 with a bang. Literally.
Let’s start with the most obvious shall we? There’s no denying that Sydney has the best New Year’s Eve parties, with their consistently spectacular fireworks that the whole world tunes in to see. 7 tonnes of fireworks and 52 illuminated boats in the harbor light up the city, certainly making Sydney one of the most breathtaking places to usher in the New Year. It’s also the peak of summer in Australia; so on top of a world-class light show, the weather is gorgeous.
Sydney © Christopher Chan
Every year, Londoners and tourists alike line the banks of the River Thames, waiting in the cold and often the rain for midnight, breath hanging in the air. They wait so eagerly and jovially because London consistently offers some of the most well-choreographed, beautiful light shows on earth – and a wait in damp weather is always worth it. With the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee taking place in 2012, we fully expect this year’s fireworks display in London to be one of their best yet. For a different experience, head to Alexandra Park or Hampstead Heath for some of the best views at a distance without the crowds.
London © Beacon Radio
‘Hogmanay’ is Scotland’s chance to put its city on the map as one of the best places to see in the New Year. New Year’s in Edinburgh is all about its parties, with event being held all over town from the 30th including concerts, the torchlight procession and the world famous, family-friendly street party on Princes Street. At midnight, the cannon is fired from Edinburgh Castle to kick off a fireworks display which lights up the whole city.
Torchlight processional © Rude Cech
Fireworks are a huge part of Silvestre celebrations with many being let loose from peoples’ balconies and gardens – you have been warned! A number of organized displays take place throughout the city but one of the most popular is the always dramatic and visually brilliant fireworks set off against the stunning backdrops of Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column. Combined with the largest open-air New Year’s Eve party in the world (with live bands, electronic music, laser and light shows and heaps of good food and drink to find), New Year’s in Berlin is always an unforgettable experience.
Berlin © bby_
Amsterdam is at its most festive for the new year, and every year the city invites its inhabitants and visitors to join in a night of free live music and entertainment starting from 9pm and culminating in, of course, a massive fireworks display. Head down to Museumplein to join in this year or find a spot near the canals to watch the reflections of the fireworks light up Amsterdam’s beautiful waterways at midnight. Another popular view is of the fireworks over the Amstel River, with the Magere Bridge, popularly known as skinny bridge, offering the best viewpoint if you can find a spot.
Museumplein, Amsterdam © evghoul
There is one very special and unique tradition in Miami called the Big Orange; a fully lit up neon sign of an over-sized orange, which from 6 o’clock in the evening climbs up the facade of the Intercontinental Hotel, to be dropped at midnight to huge applause and cheering. This is also when the fireworks start, so be sure to head to Miami Beach early to get a good view of both.
Miami Beach © k_paulinka
Mexico City has an annual street festival warming up the locals right up until midnight. You should also expect a grape shortage across the city, as it is a Mexican tradition to eat a grape at each of the twelve chimes of the clock that ring in a new year. If you are staying at a nearby coastal resort, then make sure to visit one of Mexico’s electric beach parties. Enjoy your grapes while watching fireworks set off across the city and find some fireworks of your own to contribute your own fizzes, bangs and pops.
Mexico City © ToñoO
Boston is a great location for families to see an amazing fireworks display. While Public Garden is where Boston’s families traditionally gather to see the impressive fireworks that shoot up over the city at midnight, you don’t have to brave the cold temperatures or keep the kids up past their bed times as nearby Hampton Beach has its own firework display from 8 o’clock in the evening.
Boston © lukevu
Wherever you are in the world, and whatever the size of the fireworks display you are watching, we wish you a prosperous, exciting and travel-filled 2013.
First image © nikicorny
Love it or hate it, Miami is a truly singular place – a beach side paradise carved out of a swamp by the sweat and the will of man. With all its extravagance and being so over the top in many ways, this part of Florida has attracted all sorts – from fashionistas to artists, 4seohunt.com/www/blog.housetrip.com musicians to jet-setters and dreamers and failed dreams.
Please enjoy this eclectic collection of images from this slice of the American Dream, and have an authentic weekend.
South Beach – Image © Thomas Hawk
Image © Thomas Hawk
South Beach Art Deco – Image © Wyn Van Devanter
Image © Phillip Pessar
Venetian Pool, Coral Gables – Image © Ines Hegedus-Garcia
Image © Kaysha
Image © Francis Ledoux
South Beach – Image © Timothy Valentine
Miami at night (from the air) – Image © Ken Douglas
Image © Phil Hilfiker