Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Do You URBEX?

Kolmanscop, Namibia - an urban explorer's paradise
creative commons image wikicommons
Urban exploration, or "URBEX", is the exploration of man-made structures, either abandoned ruins or normally unseen components of man-made environments. May also be referred to as dark tourism.

Unauthorized exploration involves all manner of risks associated with climbing derelict structures, entering dark tunnels, crawling into drains, breathing or coming into contact with toxins and so on. People have died pursuing this hobby. Yet the purists follow their own code of conduct of "leave everything as you found it" and "take nothing except pictures".

While exploring these structures may involve trespassing onto private property, this is not always the case. Some sites are open to the public, or are accessible on a tour. Still others have added methods such as mini-railways to take you through the site.

If your layover doesn't provide easy access to an abandoned site, you can easily pass hours exploring incredible photographs online. As many devotees don't even reveal the exact location of their finds, this is the only way you can see them.

In this, our first blog post on urban exploration, we introduce you to a sampling of popular sites.

The URBEX Trend

Generation urbex: The extreme urban adventurers risking all for the right to roam - The Independent
Urbex: Is It Really Abandoned? - Darbian's Photography
When Time is the Architect: Urban Exploration by Photographer Tekprod - Wix Blog
Discover the Compelling World of Urban Ghosts: 20 Top Articles to get You Started - Urban Ghosts Media
Here's why I won't share locations locations - The Bohemian Blog
How Photographing an Abandoned Hotel Cost Me $2,800 - Petapixel
Stories Like This are Why Urbex Photogs are So Secretive About Where They Shoot - Petapixel

URBEX OBSESSIONS

This photographer is taking jaw-dropping photos of Europe’s abandoned buildings (Christian Richter) - The Independent
Matt Van der Velde photographs abandoned insane asylums (Matt Van der Velde) - Dezeen
Josef Schulz documents abandoned checkpoint architecture across Europe (Josef Schulz) - Dezeen
Abandoned Soviet architecture photographed by Rebecca Litchfield (Rebecca Bathory) - Dezeen

URBEX PHOTOGRAPHY

How To Photograph Models in Abandoned Buildings - Contrastly
The Underworld: Princess of Darkness & the Importance of Teamwork - Rebecca Bathory Blog
Urban Exploration Photography Blog - blog dedicated to taking great URBEX pictures
An Introduction to Urban Exploration - Digital Photography School
Finding Your Way Around Urban Decay Photography - Contrastly

URBEX RESOURCES

Everything About Urban Exploration - Forbidden Places
A Brief Introduction to Urban Exploration - Urban Ghosts Media
Urban Exploration Location List - Urban Exploration Resource
URBEX: Enter at Your Own Risk - Red Bull TV
Reddit URBEX Forum (specific locations not revealed)
The Bohemian Blog
Ancient Origins
Urban Ghosts Media

PICKS

The train cemetery in Uyuni, Bolivia
The Train Cemetery in Uyuni, Bolivia - URBEX Playground
Private visit to the train cemetery from Uyuni

An eerie Communist relic in Bulgaria
Exploring the Iconic Buzludzha Communist Building in Bulgaria - PetaPixel
One Day Private Tour By Car From Varna or Sofia To Buzludzha Monument

A Cold War spy station in Berlin, Germany
Field Station Berlin Teufelsberg: NSA spy station on buried Nazi college - Abandoned Berlin
Berlin Half-Day Cold War Tour to Teufelsberg

The compelling encroaching sand in Kolmanskop, Namibia
Kolmanskop, the ghost town of the desert - Deserted Places Blog
Full-Day Kolmanskuppe and Luderitz Private Tour from Swakopmund

Riding old Kiwi rails in Taumarunui, New Zealand
New Zealand tour will take you down an abandoned rail line in a golf cart - The Star
10-Tunnel Rail Bike Tour from Taumarunui

The buried streets of black death in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Mary King's Close: 17th century streets hidden under Edinburgh were once a breeding ground for the black death - Atlas Obscura
The Real Mary King's Close Underground Guided Tour

Feeding speculation in the Nevada desert, USA
Often mentioned in the URBEX community, please heed the caution by StrangeThings: "AREA 51 IS NOT ABANDONED, DO NOT CROSS THE BORDER!"
Area 51: In the middle of an extremely unforgiving and desolate high desert is the most secret military facility in the world - Atlas Obscura
Area 51 Day Tour from Las Vegas

Making the most out of urban decay in Detroit, Illinois, USA
Detroit, City in Decay - Deserted Places Blog
Detroit Urban Exploration and Photography Tour

Related resources
Death by Selfie - IHateTaxis blog
Go Running on Your Layover
Memorial sites near Paris Beauvais Airport
Bucketlist: Downton Abbey
Layover Ideas for the World's Worst Airports
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels! - IHateTaxis blog

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Layover prayers

A priest and a rabbi walk into an airport bar... or maybe not!
Beyond chapels, multi-faith prayer rooms are a more common sight in airports around the world. But what if you could really use solace, specific to your faith, and in your own language?

For the next 3 months, travelers at Germany's Stuttgart Airport, can step into the "Gebetomat" and choose from 300+ prayers offered in 65+ languages.

The Gebetomat is the brainchild of Oliver Sturm. The Stuttgart installation is just latest version of Sturm's Pray-O-Matic booth, which the Berlin artist designed in 2008.

In 2012, Sturm's prayer booth popped up at Manchester University as part of a 3-year research project on multi faith spaces and prayer rooms worldwide.

Look for the brightly coloured converted photo booth at Stuttgart Airport in Terminal 3, near gate 310. Prayers are free.

Related resources
German airport offers prayer booth in 65 languages - NY Daily News
Pray-o-mat is UK's first - University of Manchester
Interfaith Airport Chapels in The US: Tranquility on The Fly - Vane Airport Magazine


More resources
Hell Will Be an Airport (A Layover Story) - John Pavlovitz
Stuttgart Airport (STR) Transportation Guide - IHateTaxis

Friday, 7 April 2017

10 Unique Amsterdam Tours

The Westerkerk Church and Amsterdam canal houses
Looking for something different to do on your Amsterdam layover?

If you want to avoid the crowds, or have simply seen the big sights, it's easy to get off the beaten track in the city.

Here are some unique Amsterdam tour options to consider:
1. Amsterdam Layover Tour: Private City Sightseeing with Round-Trip Airport Transfer
2. Private Transit Tour: Amsterdam City Tour with Luxury Vehicle
3. Keukenhof Gardens and Tulip Fields Tour from Amsterdam
4. Amsterdam Hop-on Hop-off Boat Day Pass and Heineken Experience
5. Private Guided Bike Tour to the Dutch Windmills
6. Private Amsterdam Coffeeshop Culture and Food Tour
7. Private Gourmet Dining with a Michelin Star Chef in Amsterdam
8. 3-Course Dinner at Dining in the Dark Restaurant in Amsterdam
9. Luxurious Party Bike Tour With Private Chauffeur
10. Amsterdam Guided Tour of United East India Company and Maritime Museum with Art Historian


Plus 3 great freebies!
FreeDam FREE Amsterdam Walking Tour
FREE Amsterdam Floating Flower Market: What to Expect
50 FREE Things to Do in Amsterdam


Related resources
10 Unique Paris Tours
10 Unique NYC Tours
10 Unique Los Angeles Tours
Layover Ideas and Things to Do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport (AMS) transportation guide - IHateTaxis

Friday, 10 March 2017

10 Unique Milan Tours

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in the evening
Looking for something different to do on your Milan layover?

If you want to avoid the crowds, or have simply seen the big sights, it's easy to get off the beaten track in the city.

Here are some unique Milan tour options to consider:
1. Art and History of Playing Cards and Tarots in Milan
2. History of Paper Guided Tour in Milan with Visit to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana
3. Historical and Precious Leathers Guided Tour in Milan
4. Private Tour: the Ancient and Noble Art of Metal Guided Tour
5. Private Tour: the Museum of Musical Instruments Guided Tour with Visit to a Local Liuteria
6. 1-Day Personal Fashion Styling Course for Women (Course for Men)
7. Private Tour: Milan Half-Day Shopping Tour
8. 1-Hour Rooftop Tour of Milan's Duomo
9. Evening Cooking Lesson with Dinner in Milan
10. After-Hours Last Supper Tour with Ultimate Dinner Experience


Plus 3 great freebies!
FREE Milan Walking Tours
FREE Museums in Milan
10 Best Things to Do in Milan for FREE


Related resources
10 Unique Paris Tours
10 Unique NYC Tours
10 Unique Los Angeles Tours
Layover Ideas and Things to Do in Milan
Milan Bergamo International Airport (BGY) transportation guide - IHateTaxis
Milan Linate International Airport (LIN) transportation guide - IHateTaxis
Milan Malpensa International Airport (MXP) transportation guide - IHateTaxis