Test your scent! The smelliest cities in the world

The smell is a sense that brings you back memories, you know those moments when a scent – coming out of the blue – reminds you of a moment, a person or a city, and you are instantly thrown in the vortex of your memories. You can recognise a person by their smell, just like you can recognise a city by its perfumes and odors. It says everything about their personality – either gas, dust and concrete, or fresh natural smells, coffee, pine, but maybe, the best identifiers are the scents given by all sorts of cuisines present in the multicultural cities.

 Chandler Burr, GQ’s globe-trotting scent critic, anoints the 10 best – and single worst – smelling cities in the world.

10.Dallas is described as having the characteristic smell of the New World: with wide streets, gas stations and exit signs, car exhaust and dust. Although it almost has a non-scent scent, it can be “tasted” best during the thunderstorms when it takes a three-dimensional quality.

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9. London – from my point of view, it is probably, the best smelling city in the world, but then again, I haven’t had the chance to visit the cities Chandler did. However, London’s streets, the wet pavement, the green parks, the Thames, the multicultural dishes make it the one of the best and most energetic cities in the world, I’m sure of that.

8. Mombasa has a unique smell, apparently, according to GQ’s writer, who says that he was impressed by its dryish tropical air, rough terra cotta bakes by the sun, palm oil and spices  “One of my strongest sense memories was of the four-bare-walled stores the Mijikendas and Swahilis kept. They used fluorescent lights, so they had that distinct metallic, oldish smell places that use fluorescent always have.”

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7. Mumbai is kind of an “Avatar” for your nose, of course, we’re talking about India, so imagine that unique mixture of the salty smell of ocean, tropical rot, motor exhaust and frying palm oil. And above all, your nose will pick up every spice imaginable, which makes it the smell of a vibrant city on the move.

6. Bogota. Its perfume could be compared to those of a new car,an urban aftershave, it represents the product of a bustling downtown centre. It is strange in a way, but you can detect the scent of its altitude - 8,612 feet above sea level, due to the exotic winds, the rain and the greenery that rises from the Andes in the East.

5. Rome. There is no other city with more scents than Rome, not even its “ancient” competitors such as Milan, Naples or Madrid. When I think of Rome I think of Old Spice but not in an ocean-cinnamon way, neither in the negative way, but in that classic masculine cologne. However, the author says that its ancient walls make the air hard to breath. In his view, or better said, nose: “Rome smells like L.A., but with 2,000-year-old stone and 500-year-old palazzi, peeling paint, and espresso-spiked decadence.”

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4. San Francisco. I’d rather start with the author’s last remark about this spectacular city. “It may be the most beautiful-smelling skyline in the world“. I’ve never been to San Francisco but this description urges me to breathe its scent of soft clouds, cold ocean, old wood and a “weird dry dampness”. It is isolating, but soft, and I bet the city’s perfume mixed with the scent of dry California desert can drive you crazy – in a very constructive way.

New Orleans Celebrates Mardi Gras

3. New Orleans. I remember I had a teacher in high school who was from New Orleans and she brought us some beads from Mardi Gras and some sweets so that we could taste a bit of this fantastic city. It fills your lungs with a scent of humidity coming from wood porches and plaster walls. And then it’s  the Mississippi’s (watch the spelling, Huck!) fresh water colliding with the brine of the Gulf. I’d rather say it’s a colourful perfume hovering above New Orleans.

2. Pleasantville, NY. According to Mr.Burr, this small city is an oasis of maple, oak and pine that smell cyclically different as the seasons turn. It represents a gateway from New York’s asphalt canyons and, it seems, that it could remind you of the smell of “America as it was”, even though you can’t actually remember something you haven’t experienced.

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1. Los Angeles. It smells like the sun and it has the effect of drugs: shifting, comforting, cool like a blanket.
It is the best smelling city on the Planet, maybe due to the ocean breeze from Santa Monica, the dry desert air from the West, the  “astringent balm of eucalyptus, pine, honeysuckle, and jasmine from the hills,” and the car exhaust from the strangely beautiful converters. And above all it lies the smell of heat: sun block, hot asphalt, engines and the energy of a bustling flashy city.

The worst smelling city, in his opinion, is.. a famous, romantic city that smells of cigarettes, coffee, trains, croissants, butter and..dog shit. Take a wild guess!

Which is the smelliest city for you? 

Nepal

Nepal – Birthplace of Buddha and Home of the imposing Mount Everest

Nepal

Ever thinking about taking an exotic break away from the noisy cities and the popular cliché destinations? We recommend you one of the most spiritual countries in the world, a country of love and peace, despite years of rulers and wars, Nepal.

Located in South Asia, this country where Buddha was born, will offer you  those grand experiences that you will love and remember until the last day of your life. Delimited by the lofty Himalayas, wooded forests, unspoiled natural backdrop, cool and charming ambiance, alpine villages, swift flowing rivers and the tempting sightseeing spots, Nepal has an awesome range of interesting tourist sites.

To understand a bit about the history of Nepal.The Mallas, the Ranas and the Shah ruled Nepal for hundreds of years. It was divided into small kingdoms ruled by influential rulers. However, it was difficult for the citizens of Nepal to live a peaceful life because of the threat from other neibhouring states.

Prithivi Narayan Shah from Shah Dynasty became a prominent figure from the Shah dynasty who conquered the entire small kingdom and unified it as one Nepal. He is also known as the father of Nation because of his love for his country and people. Although Nepal had been a Hindu country for hundreds of years, Buddhism has had a great influence in the lives of Nepalese people. Gautam Buddha was born in a place called Lumbini in Nepal. Non-violence and meaningful living have always been the motto of Nepalese people.

One of the most visited countries in Asia, Nepal is home to 8 out of the 10 highest mountains in the world. It is truly a paradise for mountain climbers and adventure seekers. Measuring the high and the low trekking trails in Nepal has its own special charm and this is one of the favorite tourist attractions that entices hundreds of thousands tourists from across the globe.

The country Nepal is rich in flora and fauna and has several numbers of exotic wildlife parks and sanctuaries as well as nati

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onal parks that are ideal for wildlife safaris and jungle trekking. The places named by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites add another valuable attractions to the Nepal tourism making it an internationally renowned tourist destination

There is a modern transportation system that facilitates the people to travel around.

Nepal Tourism is highly supported by the adventure tourist potential and there are many reasons why Nepal is considered as a favorite place for the adventure enthusiasts.

Out of the world’s 10 highest peaks, 8 are here making it truly an ideal gateway to explore and experience the thrill and delights of mountain climbing, trekking, mountain biking and more importantly river rafting. The world’s highest mountain peak, Mount Everest, is also located in Nepal. It grabs the attention of thousands of mountain climbers from across the world.

Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and is home to some alluring tourist attractions that include the Kathmandu Durbar Square, Jagannath Temple, Kal Bhairav, Boudhnath Stupa, Swyambhunath Stupa also called Monkey Temple and Balaju Water Gardens.

Moreover, being a home to various ethnic groups, birth place of Lord Buddha, Sita ( Janaki’s wife of Lord Ram), brave Gorkhas and to  more than 900 species of birds, Nepal has to offer Mt.  Everest Flight (the only Highest Mountain Flight) in the world. Equally, over 104 high peaks over 6000 meters (approx.18000 feet) including Mt.Everest (8848 meters) and more than 105 virgin trekking trials are in operation for trekkers, which is most probably the highest record in the world.

Being a land of mystery, Nepal could be the perfect destination for those in love with nature, adventure, serenity and holiness.  It is a sovereign independent country with blend of ancient history, vibrant cultures & scenic grandeur, amazing extremes & historic cities, melting pot of Hinduism & Buddhism.

Nepal

Splendid Holidays Tours and Travels in Nepal can offer you excellent services,  unforgettable and life changing experiences in this spiritual and exotic country.  Their packages offer a unique combination of landscape and wilderness adventures, ranging from majestic peaks to deep forest in the plains. You can sleep under the stars and hike the rugged mountains.

The packages will provide you with the Nepal’s most unimaginable natural aquatic environment with culture, flora and fauna.

If it sounds appealing to you, pay a visit to our friends from  www.splendidholidaysnepal.com to discover and understand better the birth place of Lord Buddha, to enjoy and relax on the wonderful beaches of this country and, of course, to pump some adrenaline into your body by going wild in Nepal or Sri Lanka.

Contributing writer Rabi Sharma, Managing Director at Splendid Holidays Tours and Travels Pvt.Ltd..Nepal.

Email: splendidnepalholidays@gmil.com URL: http://www.splendidholidaysnepal.com

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Tacheles, Berlin – nonconformist, powerful art and no rules

It is a place where art meets the homeless. This is not something very surprising for our society, when it comes to artists and poverty, but to actually see how poverty is embedded into art,  inside a strange building, I’d say it is quite peculiar.

The Kunsthaus Tacheles (Art House Tacheles) is an art center in Berlin, Germany, a large (9000 square meter) building on Oranienburger Straße in the district known as Mitte.

Soul of art Tacheles

To be painfully honest with you, I’ve never been there, but this friend of mine, Andrei Ruse, who’s a young, talented writer was fascinated by the place and described his experience to me over a cup of coffee.

He said Tacheles is a place where you can find everything, and by that he means everything: from paintings, sculptures, graffiti, dancers, theatre to cinemas, cafes, workshops and exhibition places. Additionally, the artists provide you with some of their inspiration as well. They are allowed to use inspiration in order to create, being artists and all…

Tacheles has become an important part of the art, activist, exhibition and communication scenes in Berlin, although its detonation, hence demolition, was on the verge to take place in 1990. Fortunately, the group Künstlerinitative Tacheles occupied the building and prevented the demolition by registering the building as an historic place.

You can find more about the history of Tacheles here, as I’d like to give you Andrei’s experience.

Photo courtesy of andreiruse.ro

Text adaptation in English from his personal blog.

It smelled weird and the street was painted in an unfamiliar, mysterious red. In Germany, all the lines are straight and perfect, but not this street. This street was not even on the map we had taken from the hotel. It was something that I would never forget.

We stopped in front of a building, more like the remains of the building, it looked deserted. I told myself: “Well, that’s something new in Berlin.”

At the entrance there was a big dodgy guy, with his nose broken, smoking a cigarette. He asked us what we wanted, my friend explained him what we were looking for, gave him 50 cents not for the entrance, but for the cleaning and that was it. We walked in. 

We climbed the stairs, feeling as if I was chocking, maybe it was because of the small fear growing inside me. Or maybe it was my anxiety in front of something new. Everywhere you could see posters, cartoons; some kind of paintings, graffiti, there wasn’t even a spot of uncovered wall. And again, a lot of red. 

Photo courtesy of andreiruse.ro

There was nothing on the first floor. Only tranquillity and colours. And some more paintings and graffiti. I didn’t know where to look, if there was something particular to see or I was only supposed to enjoy the atmosphere

You could have read on my lips and my friends’ what we were all asking ourselves: what is this place? And the atmosphere reminded me of Tarantino’s hostel, then I thought about the pill in Matrix and finally I found the best comparison: Sona prison from season 3 in Prison Break.

With every step I climbed, on the next floor, I was getting further and further from Berlin, vertically speaking. A pub, red lights, some armchairs and a few dodgy people were drinking, smoking, creating without even noticing us passing by.

I liked that. Everything seemed to be improvised. It looked as if the room had been empty ten minutes ago and in the next ten minutes it could have remained empty again, if it wished for that.

I had the feeling that things could change in an instant. I shut my eyes to check the reality and when I lifted my lids everything was born again. I didn’t make it up inside my head … like Sylvia Plath’s poem :)

Climbing to the next floor, the red had disappeared and a corridor opened. There were doors on both sides which led us into the artists’ rooms. The first one was a sculptor, the second one, a painter.

I was able to enter without any restrictions. Both of them were also living there, not just working there. So, among their own works of art, you could find an improvised bed or an armchair. You could analyse their paintings, touch their works and even buy them – some of them had prices, but they were all quite cheap! In the next room there were some Chinese guys and at the end of the corridor there was a big room with South American “Indians”.

Photo courtesy of andreiruse.ro

You could find various more or less strange objects on the floor made of bone, litter; scorpions made of wire and beer lids, jewelry, earrings and a dream catcher on a table. It was pure madness, I was hypnotized and I didn’t want to leave that place ever again.

Then we went down the stairs in the courtyard or Wonderland, where several artists and homeless people were sharing a few square meters of land. They were creating and inventing on a background of good, underground music – a combination of drum n base, hip hop and alternative.

Photo courtesy of andreiruse.ro

I was amazed by a huge black cat made of metal. There were also tents and some other improvised shelters made of car doors, trailers, barns etc. I could see debris and wood burning in coppers and people warming up near them. One was cutting with a flex, one was welding, another one was painting. It was smelling funny. But everywhere you looked you could see real art. Nonconformist, powerful art. And no rules.

I was shocked by the idea that I could do anything and that anything could have happened there. It was some kind of a small country within Berlin. “The world should look like this”, I told myself. And to bring a strong argument, I could have taken a paragraph from Miller, saying that we don’t need a single thing from all the today’s technology, but the freedom!  

I walked inside a bar, designed as well from what people had found on the streets. A few wooden pillars, the metal walls and ceiling, a plastic front door. A guy was trying to play a huge instrument, while another was acting as the DJ. I ordered a beer and sat down at one of those improvised tables.

I was thinking, “this is how the world should look like. When will I be able to live in such a world?”

We became tourists again, less than 50 meters away there were the perfect corners, a shopping mall, and glamorous windows.

I realised I have experienced freedom for the first time in 24 years. And only for one hour or so. It tasted like the first chewing gum  you ever put in your mouth. Do you remember that?”

This is Tacheles through Andrei’s eyes. Have you been there? Would be lovely to share your experience with us!

You can explore more images from Tacheles, Berlin here

‘Wandering Earl’ or how to become a permanent nomad

He’s been on the road for 4,599 days spent unequally in 79 countries. This is the life of a permanent nomad, a 34 year-old-guy from Boston, USA, who made possible a life of a constant travel.

Earl left home in 1999 for a 3 month trip to Asia that has gone on ever since, teaching him various lessons and letting him discover on his own the wonders of this big and sometimes scary world.

As he writes on his own blog, Earl’s aim is to prove that “long-term travel is not a crazy fantasy, but a very real lifestyle option instead.”

He worked as a Tour Manager on board cruise ships, he lived in India for two years, in Mexico for one and a half years and in all the other 77 more or less dangerous countries. But we’ve met him in Bucharest, Romania, where he’s been staying for almost six months now.

Obviously, you can’t get bored while talking to someone like Earl who’s seen and lived in so many places that he can easily be named a walking storyteller. Probably, one of his most interesting stories is the one of the kidnapping which took place in Bangladesh, but ended up safe for Earl.

Apart from this, Earl has done many other great stuff, most of it being collected and written about on his blog, which he started in January 2010.

He quickly grew popular among the travellers and the nomads, so that he decided to write 2 e-books which enabled him to travel even more, even further. So, the first one is called “How to Live a Life of Travel”, an eGuide written especially for anyone who wants to turn travel into an actual lifestyle.

The second one is “How To Get A Job On A Cruise Ship” and it teaches you how to land a job in an industry that pays you excellent money to travel the world.

But what differentiates Earl from other free-spirited nomads and Kerouac’s Sal is his own travel philosophy based on positive actions, which means being a global citizen who has the power and the influence to make positive changes.

Driven by Thomas Paine‘s motto “My country is the world, my religion to do good,” Earl tries through his experience and this blog to reduce misunderstandings, enhance lives and annihilate stereotypes. I’d take the liberty to name him an ambassador without a country, an explorer who can do good in this world and who can “actively promote a more peaceful and respectful planet.

I liked his blog mainly because he’s very transparent and personal and you can tell by his style of writing that Earl does not only travel to check countries off a list, but to learn, to experience more than just cultures and civilization, he travels to find people.

There’s a lot of useful information on his blog, one of the most popular posts is “How I Can Afford My Life Of Constant Travel“, where he explains in detail what one can do in order to become a “professional traveller”.

But you can find more about Earl, his travels, passions and successful business from our upcoming interview. Till then, you can check his website and learn how to make your dream come true. Earl did it, so can you!

Photo courtesy of wanderingearl.smugmug.com