Wednesday Wonders – The Great Wall of China

Welcome to my next post for my Wonder Lesch blog on the many Wonders of the World. As we go through the list of wonders of the world, we get to my personal favorite, this monumental structure is one of the places in the world that I love the most, so join me while I tell you all you want to know about the Great Wall of China, along with many other things to do in Beijing.

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the most outstanding creations of this world. A fun fact, the Great Wall is known as the only human-made structure visible from space. It is an old Chinese fortification that was built, and re-built, between the 5th and the 16th century, and its main purpose was to protect the northern border of the Chinese Empire from attacks from the Xiongnu nomads of Manchuria and Mongolia. Currently it stands at about 13,173 miles, or 21,200 kilometers in length spanning the current Korean border all the way to the Gobi desert. Today only about 30% of the original structure remains, its dimensions are truly out of this world. It averages 20 feet in height and 15 feet in width, which makes for an amazing place to visit and walk.

Before it was deemed as one of the new wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China was awarded the World Heritage Site status by the UNESCO in 1987, so it has always been a big tourist attraction with world renown, which is why the local touristic industry is so well developed and has a big number of amenities that you can enjoy when visiting the site.

Landscape of the Jiayu Pass or Jiayuguan after snowfall in Jiayuguan city, China.

Due to its enormous length, its winding road over the country and the steep mountains makes for some great views. It has an impressive variety of landscapes from the beaches of Qinhuangdao, to the mountain range around Beijing, to a desert corridor between the high hills in the Jiayu Pass.

Nowadays, one of the main tourist entrances is by train, where a part of the wall was rebuilt to the north of Beijing, in a section called Badaling that divides the dense forest and makes for a spectacular place to walk, take pictures and observe wildlife. Badaling is the section of the Great Wall that has seen the highest amount of restoration, making it the best option if you want to see the wall restored to its previous glory, the only inconvenience with the Badaling section over other sections is that, in tourist season, the amount of people may be overwhelming. So I would recommend visiting this Chinese wonder in the winter months to avoid the crowds and to maximize the chances of get a cheap flight to China.

If your plan is to visit the Great Wall of China you might want to plan your vacations around Beijing, there you can book your hotel and after exploring the Great Wall, you will also want to leave a day or two to wander around the Chinese capital.

Since Beijing is one of the most visited cities in the world, you will have no shortage of things to do. Some of the other outstanding places that are definitely worth visiting are the Forbidden City (top photo), the Summer Palace (bottom left photo), and the Temple of Heaven (bottom right photo). If you are planning a trip, make sure not to leave China before visiting these beauties. The architecture, the history, the beauty, oh my.

In the end a trip to the Great Wall of China monument means much more than just visiting a wall, it is an adventure where you will get experience a whole different culture, from their gastronomy to their architecture, it is definitely something unique and is 100% worth experiencing.

Thank you for reading all the way through. Let me know if you have already visited China before, your experience is valuable to enrich my Wednesday Wonders blog posts, and if you haven’t visited, through some research and planning you can book an affordable flight to Beijing and visit all of the amazing attractions in this post. Below are guidebooks to help you get started. Stop wondering, start adventuring.

Next week my Wednesday Wonders post will be about the Zigguart of Ur by special request. Do you have a request for Wonder Lesch? What Wonder do you want to experience next?

Fodor’s Essential China travel guide is packed with customizable itineraries with top recommendations, detailed maps of China, and exclusive tips from locals.

This guide showcases the best places China’s capital city has to offer. Eight easy-to-follow itineraries explore the city’s most interesting sights, such as contemporary art galleries and buzzing night markets. 

*This site contains affiliate links to purchase products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Wednesday Wonders – Petra (Rose City), Jordan

Hi again! Welcome to my next post for my WonderLesch blog on the Wednesday Wonders of the world! Join me on a virtual trip through the finest views and experiences that the modern world has to offer, maybe you’ll end up booking a flight yourself…

Today, we will be talking about Petra, in Jordan. Petra is an archaeological site, that has the amazing feat of being carved in stone. The site was carved in the third century by a middle-eastern civilization called the Nabateans, who are deemed today as one of the most expert civilizations in stone carving, decoration and city planning. Petra not only had to be planned visually, it had to function as a treasury, sacrifice site, and one of the main points where the Nabateans used to live.

The Lost City of World Wonder Petra, Jordan

As a result, Petra was one of the most amazingly built cities, that served as a shelter for Nabateans, where they remained unconquered for centuries, until an earthquake or a natural disaster of great proportion took the great city and transformed it into a ruin. Nevertheless, it is an amazing site, which preserves most of its visual characteristics for visitors all around the world to rejoice in.

It has a complex system of aqueducts, tunnels and several sites with different functionalities that are all connected and decorated with the utmost detail. Petra is carved into sandstone that has a gorgeous pink-ish hue, earning it the nickname of “Rose City” among the international visitors that have been amazed by the sights of the area.

Al Khazneh (The Treasury) at Petra, Jordan

As an international, one should book a flight to Jordan, expecting at least two days of exploration in the Rose City, which can take a lot of hiking, wandering and exploration if the tourist so wishes. Doing the long trips and the hiking where possible, is very worth it though, as when one approaches the city, the beautiful carvings and natural rock formations can be observed leading to the many impressive structures within.

Petra, contrary to popular belief, is a very practical site to visit. One should first buy a visitors ticket in the nearby town “Mora Mora”, which costs around 90 Jordanian Dinars (a pretty hefty, but worth-it fee) and head to Petra. There, one can book high quality hostels that even serve breakfast and are walking distance from the main attraction of the site.

As for Jordan itself, a trip there is not complete without at least a whole day in Petra, but there are a lot of other attractions and things to do that will amaze the most demanding of travelers.

Camping in the Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan

The Wadi Rum desert is another ecotouristic attraction where one can see the wonders of the desert and check out the amazing rock formations and the other landscape wonders that the place has to offer. You can even hire a professional to help you ride a camel and really live an immersive experience.

Another great attraction that people often don’t relate to Jordan is the Dead Sea, this attraction is a great contrast to a rough day of walking around in Petra. Due to the heavy minerals, mainly salt, that are present in the water, one can lay on their back and float in the calm waters without any effort. Tourists often rub the mud from the place over their bodies, which exfoliates the skin and makes for an excellent natural spa day.

The Dead Sea Shoreline, Jordan.

With all of the above, it is clear that Jordan has a lot of amazing attractions, excellent food and a very developed tourist-oriented industry that is guaranteed to make your stay a great experience, however short or long you decide to make it.

Let me know if you have already visited Petra before, your experience is valuable to enrich my Wednesday Wonders blog posts, and if you haven’t, through some research and planning you can book an affordable flight to Jordan and visit all of the amazing attractions in this post! Here are two guidebooks to help get you started.

Until next time, WonderLesch.

Jordan is an enticing, curious mix of new and old. From floating in the Dead Sea to adventure activities in the desert, Footprint’s Handbook will help you make the most of Jordan’s highlights.

Written by locals, Fodor’s travel guides have been offering trusted advice for all tastes and budgets for more than 80 years. Coverage of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Bethlehem, Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Eilat, the Negev, Haifa, Nazareth, Tiberias, the Sea of Galillee, the Golan Heights, Beersheva, and Petra in Jordan

*This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Wednesday Wonders – Christ the Redeemer Statue

Hi again, WonderLesch blog here with my next installment for Wednesday Wonders which is exploring and discovering Christ the Redeemer Statue located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Christ the Redeemer Statue, from Portuguese Cristo Redentor, is a 100 feet high statue that represents Jesus of Nazareth with his arms open wide towards the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. First and foremost, before we discuss why this gorgeous monument is part of the many new wonders of the world, let’s go over some history:

Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil

This Brazilian sculpture was inaugurated in 1931 in place of the Corcovado hill lookout which is inside the city of Rio de Janeiro. The idea of a religious monument in Rio can be traced back to 1856, but the idea was not consolidated until 1921 when the centenary of the Brazilian Independence approached. In the construction there are two figures that stand out, Héctor da Silva Costa delegate for the work’s execution, and the french sculptor Paul Landowski.

Art Decó

At the end of the day, even if the scale is quite large, the statue is a piece of art, and it is one of the most renowned results of the Art Decó design movement, which was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. It stands out for its characteristically stylized and geometric forms, represented by the heterogeneity and eclecticism in the art pieces and buildings that encompass this time frame. Other well-known structures that are also representative of this movement are the Empire State Building and the New York City’s Rockefeller Center.

The area in Rio was already highly visited, due to the panoramic city views and the famous Trem do Corcovado (Corcovado Railways) which was a famous attraction built back in 1884 by Emperor Pedro II of Brazil. The combination of the train that could take you on top the hill, and the option to climb made the place pretty popular, but when the magnificent statue was placed, the tourism in Rio was taken to a whole new level.

Christ the Redeemer Statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

And now we ask ourselves, why is it a world wonder?

First of all, let it be known that it is not just the statue that is important. The historical value is quite amazing as it was built as Brazil was going through a rough crisis time, and they built it anyway. The creation of this Brazilian wonder sparked a must see tourist attraction found only in Brazil. This uproar that it continues to cause is due to the fact that the area has something to offer to any kind of visitor, specially in the way up…

The trail up the mountain is filled with wildlife and engulfed in the rainforest, perfect for adventurers looking for a more physical experience. In contrast, there is the still the electric train that crosses the Tijuca National Park, as well as the elevator, for those that wish a more relaxed way up the hill.

View from tram in the rainforest while going up to Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) on Morro do Corcovado (Corcovado Mountain), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

What all of these methods have in common is that they all reach the peak, to offer tourists the chance to stand beside the ginormous reinforced concrete sculpture and take in the view that encompasses the city, the coast, and the rainforest, creating a magical experience as the day approaches dusk.

Rio de Janeiro is the second most visited city in Brazil, receiving more than a million tourists per year, while not all of them visit this amazing statue, it is usually on the top of travelers “to do” list while visiting. Rio has many different things to offer: With its extensive wildlife and tropical ecosystem the city is perfect for an ecoturistic vacation where you can see both sides of the flora and fauna, the terrestrial and the underwater one.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

It is a great chance to approach the Brazilian culture, from its history to their exquisite gastronomy, while enjoying the breathtaking views, enjoying the breaches of crystal-clear water and, of course, take in one of the most outstanding constructions of human history.

There are so many things to do while visiting Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the Christ the Redeemer sculpture is like the cherry on top, visible from everywhere in the city. Have you been to Rio de Janeiro? Please share your experiences in the comments with me and the others reading and learning about this amazing Wonder. Until next time, WonderLesch

Wednesday Wonders – Machu Picchu

Travel to the wonders of the world: Machu Picchu.

Here is my next post for my WonderLesch blog on the wonders of the world! We take a trip through the most important modern day attractions for you to know more about these places, or even help you decide on your next holiday destination.

Machu Picchu is an archaeological wonder, placed in the middle of the Andes Mountain range in South America, Perú specifically. The complex is a wonder of architecture, design and history, as the Incas lived there before, and it has been determined that the site served as a site for veneration and religious practices.

Machu Picchu – the lost city of the Incas, Perú, South America

Millions of people on the internet voted on an official poll, and voted the ancient site as one of the 7 new wonders of the world. The place is objectively stunning, but it is also said that the majestic landscape and the ruins hold a certain kind of energy that leaves visitors in awe, no matter how skeptical.

Why should you visit Machu Picchu? Simply take a look at the images, there is nothing quite like being on the top of a mountain, with ruins that have been graced by hundreds and hundreds of years of history. It is a complicated venture though, since the recent measures against over-tourism have made the journey from nearby towns onto the ruins into a more complex thing, since you have to book your place in advance, and do a number of things that were not required before.

Nevertheless, these measures do a very good job of protecting the site from a tourist overflow and preserve the beauty of the place, making it a great future plan to spend some nice holidays in South America. Like most destinations in the country, a trip to Machu Picchu cannot be very expensive if planned ahead, so consider diving into the historical places that Perú has to offer.

If these stones could talk, Machu Picchu Perú, South America

As for the site itself, it is 2430 meters above sea level and it is divided into two zones: the agricultural one, that includes a vast network of artificial terraces, and the urban one, formed by diverse constructions and squares.

In the agricultural zones the steps, carved from the stone, stand out but you can also find magnificent views in the different lookouts that overlook the valley, perfect to rest and enjoy the panoramic, and even take a pic-nic!

On the other hand the urban area surrounds the main star of the show, the Sacred Plaza, it was first designed as a political center, and it contains three of the main buildings: the Temple of the Three Windows, the Main Temple, and the Intihuatana, a monolithic sculpture carved in granite stone that is believed to be used as an astronomical calendar. 

The Temple Of Three Windows, Machu Picchu Perú, South America

It is here that you can indulge in the Incan culture, their rituals, traditions, and even religion, while you take a trip to the past you will be amazed by how different their lifestyle was, but there is more than just history in Machu Picchu, you will be surrounded by the modern peruvian culture in one of the most breathtaking sites in the world. 

Outside of the complex, Perú in general is also a very attractive destination for you to experience a new place that has it all; from ecotourism in many Inca ruins situated in valleys, canyons with birds that float right in front of you due to thermal currents, to a very nice complex in Lima called “Distrito Miraflores”, where one can rest from trekking and sightseeing all day, in a very nice beachfront resort where one can dine, shop global brands and local artesanies, gamble or just rest and have a drink.

Miraflores Park, Lima – Perú, South America

In the end, a visit to Machu Picchu is much more than just historical buildings and old cultures, it is the experience of aspects of the same culture both ancient and modern while exposing yourself to grandiose sceneries.

What place do you think is as pretty as Machu Picchu in Perú? Feel free to tell me about your own experiences in the comments.

Wednesday Wonders – Yucatán

This is the first Wednesday Wonders of the WonderLesch blog that will be exploring all of the new wonders of the world, join me on a trip through what these amazing places have to offer! Who knows? You might end up booking a trip yourself.

Kukulcan Temple, Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico

Chichén Itzá is a wonderful complex of temples and ancient structures. It is known for being a ceremonial site, where sacrifices and rituals were carried out regularly. Nowadays, we can look upon the greatness of the architectural, cultural, and even astronomical wonders that the Mayan people of the present Yucatán left behind.

Filled with old temples and ruins, Chichén Itzá is located in the southernmost part of Mexico in the state of Yucatán, and is now part of the legacy of the Mayan civilization, who in the year 300 AD founded the city. Experts speculate that this city was built in a context of fearsome wars and it was not until the 900s that it became an important political centre.

Columns of a Thousand Warriors, Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico

Particularly, the Kukulcan temple is deemed by many as the most impressive of them all. It is our first wonder of the world, placed in the middle of Chichén Itzá. It does not exceed other pyramids like Giza or “Pirámide del Sol”, but it is the engineering and planning that set it aside from anything that we have found in the world.

When the tropical sun shines bright in Yucatán, particularly on the equinoxes and solstices of each year, we can see light and shadow phenomenons happen, resembling the descent of a snake through the pyramid’s body. This is so impressive because, if we recall our history lessons, Mayans didn’t have access to telescope nor astronomical measuring tools. We’re talking about the 1200s here, and these guys made a huge structure, so precise that even modern day architecture would struggle to recreate something similar.

The observatory, Venus Temple at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico

When talking about the architectural and technological advancements, the main attraction is the Venus Temple. This peculiar circular building was used as an astronomical observatory and, as its name suggests, was mainly used by the Mayans to track the movements of Venus. This planet has a special meaning in the Mayan mythology, due to its shine, it was considered the god of war and the twin brother of the sun.

On the other hand to clear your head from all the history and if you are feeling adventurous, you might even take a trip into the sacred cenote… but wait, what even is a cenote?

A cenote is a natural freshwater pond that is supplied by an underground river, formed in places like the Yucatan Peninsula due to soil erosion. In the past, this “wells” were used as ceremonial sites for human sacrifices and rituals, but nowadays, they offers tourists the chance to experience their immense natural beauty. Most of them are located in the middle of the tropical jungle, with a deep crystalline pond in the middle. It combines both parts of Yucatán’s rich history, it’s ancient history and diverse flora and fauna.

Ik-Kil Cenote, Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico

Apart from its stunning beauty, it has a great historical importance as it holds many of Mexico’s most important archaeological sites when it comes to pre-colonial civilizations. As we mentioned before, it was the capital of the Mayan civilization, and as such archaeologists have found antique reliques in the form of statues, pendants, vessels and many other “commonly” used items that are now part of the Sitio de Chichén Itzá museum.

If you’re feeling like you need to take a trip somewhere different and witness a world-class attraction for a very reasonable price, visiting Yucatán, Mexico will leave the most demanding of tourists with a big smile. The tropical weather, its magnificent temple – part of the new wonders of the world – as well as its diverse and specially delicious Mexican food combine together to form a touristic destination like no other.

Visit Chichén Itzá to experience all of these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities clustered together in one place for you to enjoy. Let me know in the comments if you have visited this place before!

Sunday Funday – Pike’s Market Place

The Market is the oldest continuously operated public farmer’s market. Since its start in 1907 it has followed its mission to “Meet the Produce”. General market hours are 9:00 am – 6:00 pm and Sundays 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. The market is open all year round except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day and has an average 10 million visitors each year.

The very first Market included wagons of fresh produce brought to city center by local farmers to sell. Presently local farmers still sell fresh, local, seasonal produce and specialty foods year round from the booths and tables they rent from the Market.

Fresh seafood is available through local fisherman from the Pacific Northwest and Alaskan waterways. The fisherman boost a freshness that enables a shopper to purchase a filet of salmon that was caught less than 24 hours earlier. Now that is FRESH!

A fresh bouquet to brighten your day. Fresh flowers sourced directly from local farmers can be found throughout the Market. Mixed flower bouquets range from elegant arrangements to rainbows of color. Looking for a beautiful gift or a delightful way to brighten your hoe or office space, this is the place.

Over 200 local and regional craftspeople gather at the Market to sell their wares. Collectibles, comics, jewelry, books, preserves, honey, original art and my favorite chocolate covered cherries, just name a few of the items available for sample and purchase.

Street performing, or busking ( I did have to look that one up) is the act of performing in public places for gratuities. The Market is full of some very talented buskers. There really is a piano on every street corner.

Pike’s Market Place has something for everyone, and I have not even talked about the bakeries, cafes, diners, restaurants, take out places and sweet shops. The list goes on and on. If you are ever in Seattle I highly recommend a visit to the Market. If you do stop by, let me know what you discovered on your adventure and if the chocolate covered cherries are now your favorite as well?!

12 Months Means 12 Getaway Ideas – Victoria, B.C

The Vistoria Clipper is a high speed passenger only ferry with service between Seattle, Washington and Victoria, British Columbia. I highly recommend upgarding your seat to the “comfort section”.

January – Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year will be January 25, 2020 and where better to ring in the New Year than Canada’s oldest Chinatown. The traditional Lion Dance is always a must see when visiting. Love watching the parade, the costumes, the dancers, the music!

February – Victoria Film Festival

The Victoria Film Festival has been bringing film to life since 1995. February 7 – February 16, 2020 the festival will showcase as always a diverse selection of Canadian and international films.

March – Capital City Comic Con

My very first Photo Op and I got it with none other than Chief Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) from Battlestar Galactica. I, am a much older and wiser “Starbuck” Kara Thrace (Katee Sackoff). Missing my cigar and aviators but Chief knew who I was! Capital City Comic Con will take place March 20 – 22, 2020. Will I see you there?

April – Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival

The annual Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival takes place over a six week period with performances beginning in April through mid May. Thousands of Victoria based performers and student of music, dance and dramatic acts are on stage throughout the city. Festival begins April 14, 2020 and is an experience to be seen and heard time and again.

May – Mother’s Day at Fairmont Empress

Fairmont Empress is recognized as one of the TOP 21 Iconic Hotels in the World by National Geographic Traveler magazine and upon your arrival you will know why. The annual Mother’s Day brunch is amazing, and always a sell out. Do you have other plans for Mother’s Day? You can always stop by for their world famous Tea at the Empress, served daily since the hotel opened in 1908.

June – Oak Bay Tea Party

The 2020 Tea Party will be held Saturday June 6 – Sunday June 7. The 58th Annual Oak Bay Tea Party Parade is set to begin at 10:30 am on Saturday June 6. The Air Show, which last year included the Royal Canadian Air Force, Aerobatic Aircraft, and skydivers. There is something for everyone. Enjoy!

July – Butchart Rose Garden Fireworks and Concerts

Firework Saturdays at The Gardens create a night of entertainment with illuminating displays. Firework Saturdays start in early July and go through early September (July 4th – Labor Day usually). Each Saturday features aerial and ground displays choreographed to music created by Jennie Butchart’s great-grandson, Christopher Ross. The firework show is included in the price of admission o The Gardens.

August – Visas Cricket Tournament

The Victoria International Six-a-Side (VISAS) Cricket Tournament festival is hosted in beautiful Victoria, BC at Beacon Hill and Windsor Parks. Photos from Dallas County verses Colts International (Ron Green). The tournament event is slated to take place July 31 – August 8, 2020 in Victoria, BC. Spin bowler or not, these games are worth watching!

September – Blues Bash

September 5 – September 7, 2020 the annual Vancouver Island Blues Bash festival will be held at Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Ship Point Picnic Site. Follow the line up announcements as they happen through Victoria Jazz Society’s newsletter. It will fill you in on local, international and regional blues and R&B artists/groups that will be performing in both the free to public area and ticket requirement performances.

October – Victoria Zombie Walk

What better way to celebrate Halloween than by walking with some Zombies. Victoria Zombie walk takes place in October and starts at Centennial Square and continues through downtown Victoria. There are makeup and costume contests so come dressed to impress. You might win some brains.

November – Rememberance Day

Victoria takes time out on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to remember all of the men and women who have served in their military and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Victoria is rich with military history and the display of honor and remembrance every November is extremely touching to this military veteran.

December – Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees events have been held in Victoria and communities around the province each year and are noted to be the start of the holiday season. The beautifully decorated trees raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation to provide children within the province the best health care possible.