Tag Archives: Breathtaking

A Hudson River Sunset- Old Visions, New Magic

A Hudson River Sunset

By Siddhi: 

In several of my previous posts, I’ve detailed at length those ethereal, remarkable moments in my travels that have redefined for me the notion of beauty. Standing on top of the Temple of Poseidon as the sun set, hiking to the summit of Sugarloaf in Rio to be greeted by a panorama of city lights celebrating the spirit of life, admiring the Chicago skyline at night immersed in legendary rap…the locales have, for the most part, been distant and exotic. But yesterday, as I was walking back to my dorm located just a block away from the Hudson, I stopped in complete awe and for the hundredth time in my life told my self: “This is the most beautiful sight I have ever witnessed.”

The Hudson River is truly one of the most consistently striking landmarks I’ve seen. This is my second year in New York City, and I still find myself at the water’s harbors at least three or four times a week for its never-ending gift of experience. The Hudson is a continually metamorphosing entity. On one morning it grips the entire universe and its imagery of awakening in its dynamic strokes of water and air. It becomes a living spiritual relationship between human and city, city and nature, nature and infinite. That very afternoon, it becomes that helicopter shot from every single movie ever set in New York. The boats, the daytime city scape, the runners and the mothers and the mothers who are runners all embracing, whether consciously or not, their role in the fabric of a breathtaking cosmopolitan dream. And at night, the Hudson becomes the iconic dance of twinkling lights from every building in the greatest city on earth, all of it together reflecting off the serene waters below. The pattern becomes routine, after some time. But never unremarkable.

I’ve seen glorious Hudson sunsets many a time. But yesterday, as I stood on Greenwich Street in the West Village and saw the blazing red sun dangle between two restaurants and send fierce spears of light through the narrow streets in front of me, I was living magic. There was something so mesmerizing about the colors and movement of light that I didn’t understand. I had seen this so many times before. Why was it so overwhelming now?

And then, after pacing back and forth for almost half an hour and watching the sun rays propagate and diminish with my subtle motions, it hit me.  For the first time, I was seeing the sun set in the tightest linear space I had ever seen it from before. This massive ball of red, orange, and yellow was literally like a shot from the all-time greatest “Circle of Life” intro sequence in the Lion King. The sun was proportionally larger than everything else in view, consummating all of the New York in my vision with stripes of beautiful soft and punching hard light. I’ve never seen the sun like this, so immense, almighty, holding the entire world in its palms.

Yesterday, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. That perception will, undoubtedly, continually reconstruct itself the more I witness as I move. But what I took away from that spellbinding Hudson sunset was something more than the sight itself. It was knowing that an image I’d seen so many times, almost every single day, had suddenly on one random occasion become something else altogether. This wisdom is revelatory. I know that I can find renewed beauty in what has seemingly become mundane. As long as I keep looking and believing.

A Kualoa Ranch Adventure on ATVs

ATV Tour of Kualoa Ranch

By Siddhi: 

Who?  Anyone 16 years old and above interested in experiencing some of the most stunning natural landscapes on the island of Oahu while keeping their adrenaline levels high.

What? An ATV tour of the Kaʻaʻawa Valley (Kualoa Valley) that provides movie and TV lovers (especially Lost and Jurassic Park aficionados) with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean tucked between the majesty of expansive hills and arguably the most vivid greenery on the island. The Kualoa Ranch has become a top destination for travelers for both its standout scenic qualities and its proud stamp as the home of several screen wonders. An ATV tour takes you to Godzilla’s real footsteps engraved in the mud, Hurley’s golf course from the epic sci-fi drama Lost, and the set of 50 First Dates among many other cinematic locations. You can choose either a one or two hour excursion. And the best part? After a brief ten minute introduction of the vehicles and some safety instructions, you’re the master of your Kualoa adventure, even if you’ve never driven an ATV before in your life.

How? Because the ATV tours fill up very quickly even in non-peak travel periods, it’s best to book your seat online ahead of time if you know you’ll be in Oahu on a certain day. The Kualoa Ranch website makes booking a simple process:

http://www.kualoa.com/tours/

You can also call the ranch directly:

Toll Free: (800) 231-7321
Tour Desk: (808) 237-7321

We were fortunately able to call and reserve spots the morning of our ATV tour, but being one of the most popular Kualoa attractions, it’s easy to miss a spot when you want one.  The one-hour tour is $69.00 and the two-hour tour is $99.00. Also, have some cash on you if you’re interested in taking home some photos of you on your ATV. When your tour finishes, printed images of you manning your vehicle are available for purchase.

Why?  Oahu is hands down one of the most beautiful places we have visited. And those who’ve been on the island know that there is no shortage of excursions offered to take in the stunning Hawaiian scenes. But from helicopter tours to boat rides out into the Pacific, many of the island viewing approaches rely on someone or something else controlling the way you perceive the world around you. What’s incredible about the Kualoa Ranch ATV tours is that even within the structure of a “tour”, you’re driving and steering your own vehicle through some truly heart-stopping natural sites. The experience is the ideal marriage of energy and visual bliss, and is a must-do for anyone who wants to add a zealous punch to their Hawaiian adventure.

And if you’re not old enough for an ATV, the ranch also offers horseback riding, sailing tours, and movie site bus trips among a list of other options so that you can still explore Kualoa in all its glory.

Villa Sassa – A Beautiful Hotel Overlooking a Lake and Hills in Lugano

Breakfast at Villa Sassa
Source: wegotravel.ch

By Lakshmi:

Who?  If you are visiting Lugano, Switzerland and want to spend a day or a night or even just grab a meal at a lovely hotel with spectacular lake and hill views.

What? Villa Sassa is a beautiful hotel with spacious apartment style rooms in the heart of Lugano, the Italian speaking region of Switzerland.

How? Villa Sassa is located about an hour from Milan’s Malpensa airport and within 20 minutes of Lugano airport.

Villa Sassa Hotel, Residence & SPA, Via Tesserete 10, CH-6900 Lugano – Switzerland

Tel.  +41 (0)91 911 41 11

info@villasassa.ch

Why?  I have stayed at this property multiple times over the last several years.  On each stay, I have been greeted by a very efficient staff and the multi-room apartments have been way extremely spacious for a solo traveler.  On multiple occasions, I have asked for wake up calls and coffee at four o’clock am to get to Milan for an early morning flight and the service has been spot on.  This is where I have practiced my few sentences of known Italian to an incredibly friendly staff.

While the hotel has a spa and a gym (I have used the latter), to me what is really special is the restaurant overlooking the lake.  When you are up early in the mornings and head over for breakfast, the lake view from the garden blooming with flowers is just breathtaking.  At night, when the lights come on, it appears as though the view was simply draped with a multi-tier beaded necklace.

While it is a pricey property, you can always go there to have breakfast or dinner and the food has always been simple and fresh.

To learn more about Villa Sassa, click here:

http://www.villasassa.ch/en/6/default.aspx