World Tour 7: Spain – Wales

There are over 10,000 places to see on the Encircle Photos website. Each one has a description, an address, an interactive map plus a direction feature for driving and walking instructions. It has never been easier to Explore the World Daily!

Share this
View PRINT
Landmarks at Montjuïc Hill and Park in Barcelona, Spain - Encircle Photos

1 Landmarks at Montjuïc Hill and Park in Barcelona, Spain

The 700 foot elevation of Montjuïc Hill provides wonderful views of central Barcelona and the Mediterranean. This is just the beginning of the attractions warranting exploration. An example is the National Art Museum of Catalonia below these towers and domes. This is one of a few pavilions left from the 1929 International Exhibition. You will also find stadiums that hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics, the Jardí Botánic botanical gardens, a Spanish village named Poble Espanyol, the Magic Fountain (Font Mágica) and the historic Montjuïc Castle. Within Montjuïc Park are a bullring, convention centers and Venetian Towers.

Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Brief Historical Overview of Cádiz, Spain - Encircle Photos

2 Brief Historical Overview of Cádiz, Spain

Cádiz is on a peninsula jetting into the Atlantic in southwestern Spain. This coastal position made it an important seaport since it was founded as Gadir by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC. The city was sequentially controlled by the Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors. Starting in 1500 and extending for 300 years, the city grew wealthy as the primary Spanish trading center with the New World. To protect their riches, Cádiz was encased by a network of formidable walls and forts. Their prosperity continued until occupied by the French in the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815). This led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812 being written in Cádiz. Although overturned, this proclamation became the foundation for Spain’s constitutional monarchy ratified in 1978. This is now the capital city of the Province of Cádiz. Seen in the background from along Avenue Campo del Sur is Cádiz Cathedral.

Av. Campo del Sur, 286, 11002 Cádiz, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
History of Molinete Archaeological Park in Cartagena, Spain - Encircle Photos

3 History of Molinete Archaeological Park in Cartagena, Spain

Molinete Archaeological Park is another showcase of Cartagena’s history. This hill was called Mount Ciudadela de Asdrúbal when Carthaginian General Hasdrubal the Fair built his palace here between 227 and 221 BC. During the Roman period (209 BC to 425 AD), they constructed a large temple near the staircase seen in the middle of the photo. In the mid-16th century, the area was encircled by a curtainwall with bastions named the Wall of Charles V. By the 18th century, this had become Barrio Prohibido (Prohibited District). This impoverished neighborhood was plagued by rowdy bars, drunken sailors and prostitution. After the residents were evicted and many of their homes were destroyed in the 1970s, archeological work began in earnst. This was the foundation of today’s Molinete Archaeological Park. You will enjoy reading more history from signs in English as you explore the 6.5 acre Molinete Parque Arqueologico.

Cerro Del Molinete, Calle Pólvora, 30203 Cartagena, Murcia, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Roman Bridge in Córdoba, Spain - Encircle Photos

4 Roman Bridge in Córdoba, Spain

The Roman Bridge derives its name from when it was built by command of Augustus. He was the first Emperor of the Roman Empire who reigned from 27 BC until 14 AD. The crossing over the Guadalquivir River was reconstructed in the early 8th century by Al-Samh, the Arab governor of Al-Andalus. This was the Muslim territory comprising most of today’s Portugal and Spain. Additional renovations and expansions occurred during five centuries yet it has largely maintained its medieval appearance. The 820 foot length of Puente Romano is supported by 16 arches. The landmarks in the background are (left to right): The Bishop’s Palace, Triumph of San Raphael, the Puerta de Puente and the Mosque-Cathedral.

Puente Romano, 14009 Córdoba, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Hall of the Two Sisters at Alhambra in Granada, Spain - Encircle Photos

5 Hall of the Two Sisters at Alhambra in Granada, Spain

Hall of the Two Sisters is accessible from the Court of the Lions. It is the essence of opulence. This section of the Palace of the Lions was built in the 14th century as chambers to house the Nasrid ruler’s wife and family. Sala de las Dos Hermanas is the masterpiece of Moorish architecture. You enter the square room along an Almeria marble floor appointed with a fountain. Your eyes travel up the golden, iridescent walls with lacelike plasterwork and inscriptions as the hall becomes octagonal. It is crowned with a magnificent dome shaped like a star. The muqarnas vaults and ceiling resemble honeycombs or stalactites.

Sala de las Dos Hermanas, Calle Real de la Alhambra, 18009 Granada, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Spain - Encircle Photos

6 Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Spain

While the King of Spain from 1700 – 1724, Felipe V (Philip V) commissioned architect Fillippo Juvarra to build a royal residence after the Alcázar on this site was destroyed by fire in 1734. In 1764, King Charles III was the first monarch to live in the Palacio Real de Madrid. In 1931, Alfanso XIII was the last king at the Royal Palace before fleeing the conurty. Since then, the Baroque palace has been reserved for state functions and a daily flow of tourists. Only a portion of the 1.4 million square feet and over 3,400 rooms – Europe’s largest palace – is available to tour.

Plaza de la Armería, 2, 28013 Madrid, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Interior of Málaga Cathedral in Málaga, Spain - Encircle Photos

7 Interior of Málaga Cathedral in Málaga, Spain

Málaga Cathedral is a visual masterpiece inside. Stained glass windows encircle a canopy of semi-domes and a grand dome above the main altar. They are supported by massive fluted columns framing paintings of the crucifixion and ascension of Christ. Behind the altar is a marble ciborium. The free-standing structure has four angels standing on the pediment plus a sculpture of Virgin Mary on its dome. Above the nave and side aisles are an additional 12 domes. There are also 13 side chapels … each worthy of your admiration. Anchoring the back is a U-shaped, 17th century wooden choir. There are 42 carvings of saints over the bench seats. Towering above them are some of the 4,000 organ pipes. All of these ornate features are in perfect harmony.

Calle Molina Lario, 9, 29015 Málaga, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
New Town from Puente Nuevo in Ronda, Spain - Encircle Photos

8 New Town from Puente Nuevo in Ronda, Spain

Puente Nuevo is a feat of 18th century engineering for spanning the El Tajo. After its construction, the New Town called El Mercadillo (Little Market) flourished and is now the city’s commercial center. On the right is Plaza España. The Parador de Ronda Hotel is perched on the massive wall of Tajo Gorge. To understand the grandeur of this escarpment, notice the relative size of the people walking along the promenade.

Puente Nuevo, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Expo Sevilla 1929 in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain - Encircle Photos

9 Expo Sevilla 1929 in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain

In 1893, María Luisa d’Orleans, the wife of the Duke of Montpensier, donated the gardens of the San Telmo Palace to Seville. The 170 acres adjacent to the Guadalquivir River became an ideal location for the Ibero-American Exposition during the summer of 1929. Numerous pavilions were constructed to represent various countries. Master designer Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier also orchestrated the creation of ponds and fountains among the trees and flower gardens. The resulting Parque de María Luisa was a spectacular setting for Expo Sevilla 1929. As evident from this view of Plaza de España, María Luisa Park continues to be a must-see location when visiting Sevilla.

Av de Isabel la Católica, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
St. Martin’s Bridge in Toledo, Spain - Encircle Photos

10 St. Martin’s Bridge in Toledo, Spain

Puente de San Martin was constructed in 1380 based on a commission by Archbishop Pedro Tenorio. The five-arch, Gothic style bridge is an impressive engineering feat for the Middle Ages. The center span is 131 feet wide and 88.5 feet tall. At either end are massive towers crowned with battlements. These offered protection against attacks by water for the west end of town. The medieval bridge crosses the River Tagus, the longest in the Iberian Peninsula at 645 miles.

Paseo Recaredo, s/n, 45002 Toledo, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain - Encircle Photos

11 City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain

Tourists to Spain are attracted by the country’s countless historic landmarks. So, it is a visual surprise to behold the architectural gems at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. This complex of cultural venues was created from 1998 until 2009. Before completion, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias was voted one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. Three of the modernistic buildings seen here were designed by Santiago Calatrava. On the left is L’Hemisfèric, a giant IMAX Cinema and planetarium. In the center – resembling a whale skeleton – is El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe. This 131,000 square foot science museum opened in 2000. At the far end is L’Àgora, the youngest structure finished in 2009. Concerts and sporting events are held beneath The Agora’s 262 foot high, elliptical shape.

Av. del Professor López Piñero, 3, 46013 València, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Skansen Kronan Fortress in Gothenburg, Sweden - Encircle Photos

12 Skansen Kronan Fortress in Gothenburg, Sweden

Part of Gothenburg’s defense against the Danes in the late 17th century was the construction of two fortifications called redoubts. The stationed soldiers could easily defend themselves with over 20 cannons. Skansen Kronan means Crown Keep. The fort has six-sided, 15 foot walls made from granite with a gilded cross at the pinnacle. The fortress is perched high on Risåsberget Hill overlooking Skansberget Park and the city below. Not a single shot was ever fired during battle. Today, Skansen Kronan houses a museum and serves as a special event center for weddings and meetings.

Skansen Kronan Risåsberget, 413 04 Göteborg, Sweden
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Kärnan Fortress Tower in Helsingborg, Sweden - Encircle Photos

13 Kärnan Fortress Tower in Helsingborg, Sweden

The Kärnan is all that remains of the original Helsingborg Castle that was built by King Eric VI of Denmark at the start of the 14th century. The fortress held a strategic position to protect the narrow strait of the Øresund sound. The citadel exchanged hands several times between Denmark and Sweden until most of the castle was demolished during the late 17th century. Yet this 115 foot tower has stood proudly for over 700 years.

Kärnan Slottshagsgatan, 250 07 Helsingborg, Sweden
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Rådhuset or Town Hall in Malmö, Sweden - Encircle Photos

14 Rådhuset or Town Hall in Malmö, Sweden

In the northeast corner of the Stortorget square is Malmö’s architectural gem: the Rådhuset. This magnificent building was constructed in 1546. It replaced an earlier town hall dating back to the mid-14th century. The current Dutch Renaissance façade of the radhus was added around 1860.

Stortorget 3, 211 22 Malmö, Sweden
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Storkyrkan Cathedral Clock Tower in Stockholm, Sweden - Encircle Photos

15 Storkyrkan Cathedral Clock Tower in Stockholm, Sweden

Dominating the skyline of Gamla stan, the Old Town of Stockholm, is Storkyrkan. The clock tower reaches 216 feet. Located next to the Royal Palace, the cathedral is historically the site of royal religious ceremonies. Church of St. Nicholas was founded in 1279. The Great Church was completed in 1306 and reconstructed in 1740.

Trångsund 1, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Rathaus Town Hall in Basel, Switzerland - Encircle Photos

16 Rathaus Town Hall in Basel, Switzerland

The centerpiece of Basel, Switzerland, is the Rathaus. It was the site of the first Town Hall in the 14th century when citizens wanted independence from a ruling bishop. This gorgeous, red sandstone government center with three pointed arcades was built in the early 16th century, decorated with frescos in the early 17th century, and the bell tower was added around 1900. The Cantonal Government of Basel-Stadt still meet here every week and the Parliament assembles bi-monthly.

Marktpl. 9 4001 Basel, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Marktgasse and Zytgloggeturm Clock Tower in Bern, Switzerland - Encircle Photos

17 Marktgasse and Zytgloggeturm Clock Tower in Bern, Switzerland

Marktgasse is the main pedestrian street through the Old Town of Bern. It is flanked with 17th and 18th century buildings and arcades decorated with colorful flags, statues, fountains and guild signs. Ahead of this couple is the 13th century Zytgloggeturm tower. On the west side is the painted fresco called “Beginning of Time.” Facing Kramgasse is a famous astronomical clock.

Bim Zytglogge 3, 3011 Bern, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
View of Lausanne from Notre Dame Cathedral in Switzerland - Encircle Photos

18 View of Lausanne from Notre Dame Cathedral in Switzerland

During medieval times, someone would climb the stairs of the Cathedral of Notre Dame every night to watch over the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, for approaching invaders or fires. The tradition of shouting out the all clear phrase “c’est le guet; il a sonnè l’heure” is still conducted hourly from 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. each night. This is their view. In the background are Lake Geneva and the Chablais mountain which is part of the Swiss Alps.

Place de la Cathédrale, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Swimming Swan beneath Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland - Encircle Photos

19 Swimming Swan beneath Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland

No visit to Lucerne, Switzerland is complete without walking across the world’s oldest truss bridge. You will hear the wooden boards creak below your feet while staring up at the 17th century paintings within triangular frames. The Kapellbrücke, also called Chapel Bridge, was built across the Reuss River in 1333. In the background are the Wasserturm water tower and the majestic Swiss Alps. The swimming swan is a picturesque accent.

Kapellbrücke 6004 Lucerne, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Picturesque Monte Carlo of Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland - Encircle Photos

20 Picturesque Monte Carlo of Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland

Lugano, Switzerland is nicknamed the Monte Carlo of Switzerland because of all the rich and famous who visit. With stunning scenery like this, it is easy to see why it is such a popular, cosmopolitan resort town. Its Lugano Lake, also called Ceresio, has glacial origins. Yet it stays relatively warm thanks to the area’s mild climate. Lugano’s official language is Italian. This accommodates visitors who make the short drive from Northern Italy. It is a must see destination regardless of what country you are from.

Piazza Bernardino Luini 2 6900 Lugano, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Château de Nyon and Terrace in Nyon, Switzerland - Encircle Photos

21 Château de Nyon and Terrace in Nyon, Switzerland

This castle in Nyon, Switzerland, was first built in 1272 by Cossonay Prangins who was part of the Cossonay family, nobility from the Canton of Vaud. It has experienced several expansions and renovations over more than 700 years. It is now a history museum that includes an extensive collection of porcelain dating back to the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Nyon Castle Place du Château 5, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Romantic Couple with Tulips along Lake Geneva in Ouchy, Switzerland - Encircle Photos

22 Romantic Couple with Tulips along Lake Geneva in Ouchy, Switzerland

Few settings are more romantic than sitting on a bench close to your partner along Quai de Beique in Ouchy. The promenade is encircled by hundreds of gorgeous tulips and pansies. Who needs words when you can hold hands while marveling at the beauty of the Alps from across Lake Geneva along the southern shore?

Place du Général-Guisan 1006 Ouchy, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Saint Ursus Fountain and Cathedral in Solothurn, Switzerland - Encircle Photos

23 Saint Ursus Fountain and Cathedral in Solothurn, Switzerland

Ursus is the patron saint of Solothurn, Switzerland. He was a Roman Christian who was beheaded in 286 AD for refusing to worship false gods, along with Saint Victor and 66 other soldiers who had converted to Christianity together. This fountain in Marktplatz, which was created in 1545 by Albrecht von Nürnberg, shows the saint in his Theban Legion uniform. In the background is the Cathedral of St. Ursus where he is buried.

Hauptgasse 47 4500 Solothurn, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Woman Selling Fruit at Floating Market in Amphawa, Thailand - Encircle Photos

24 Woman Selling Fruit at Floating Market in Amphawa, Thailand

To get a real taste of Thailand, visit Amphawa Floating Market located about 90 minutes from Bangkok. Along a narrow canal are foot bridges, walkways and makeshift stalls. The crowd is more Thai than foreign tourists. The real charm is watching the boat merchants float along while hawking their wares. Among the fruits in the first boat are rambutan, mangosteen and musk melons. The second boat offers a floating lunch. The meal typically consists of shrimp, squid or clams plus pad Thai noodles.

Amphawa Floating Market, Amphawa, Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram 75110, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Close Up of Two Yakshas at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand - Encircle Photos

25 Close Up of Two Yakshas at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Yakshas are spiritual beings from Hindu literature. They live in subterranean earth and are protectors of treasures. Some people in India consider them to be deities. They evolved in Thailand to be guardians of gates, temples and royal belongings. They look fierce like a demon. However, in addition to being good warriors, yakshas are considered to be benevolent. This pair is at the base of a golden chedi at the Grand Palace.

Na Phra Lan Rd, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Brick Chedi Ruins at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai, Thailand - Encircle Photos

26 Brick Chedi Ruins at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Construction of this enormous brick chedi began in 1391. It was the tallest building in the Kingdom of Lanna upon completion in 1475. This religious landmark was partially destroyed during an earthquake in 1545 and then fell to the Toungoo Empire a few years later. That Burmese dynasty was once the largest empire in Southeast Asia. Today, this giant stupa at Wat Chedi Luang is in ruins but is still impressive.

103 Road King Prajadhipok Phra Singh, Muang District, Chiang Mai, 50200, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Mahouts Bathing Elephants in Pond in Hang Chat, Thailand - Encircle Photos

27 Mahouts Bathing Elephants in Pond in Hang Chat, Thailand

Twice a day the elephants at the Elephant Conservation Center in northern Thailand are led by their mahouts or professional keepers towards a pond where they are bathed and cooled off. Notice how the men seem relaxed on the backs of these giant animals yet the women are desperately holding on. That is because they are part of a homestay program where you are taught to care for an elephant for a few days. On day one, it is very easy to fall off your swimming elephant.

2031 Thai Elephant Conservation Center, Tambon Wiang Tan, Amphoe Hang Chat, Lampang 52190, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Chedi Kukut Close Up at Wat Chamthewi in Lamphun, Thailand - Encircle Photos

28 Chedi Kukut Close Up at Wat Chamthewi in Lamphun, Thailand

These are nine of the 60 standing, Dvaravati style Buddha statues inside niches that surround the Chedi Kukut at Wat Chamthewi. The stupa’s square base is 50 feet wide and the five tiers reach a height of 69 feet. Inside are the ashes of Queen Chama Thewi who became the first ruler of the Haripunchai Kingdom in 663 A.D.

Wat Cham Thewi, Moo 5, Tambon Nai Mueang, Amphoe Mueang Lamphun, Lamphun, 51000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Minutes Before Tsunami on 12-26-2004 at Maya Bay in Phi Phi Islands, Thailand - Encircle Photos

29 Minutes Before Tsunami on 12-26-2004 at Maya Bay in Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

In the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Beach, college students seek paradise in the Phi Phi Islands of Thailand with disastrous results. Four years later, my family had a similar experience within minutes of arriving in Maya Bay where the movie was filmed. This was the last photo I took before we were nearly killed by the 2004 tsunami. If you look closely, the water is retreating under this long-tailed boat. Soon the water completely drained from the bay and a few minutes later a huge wave engulfed me and my two children. We nearly drowned. Read the full stories in the Adventures section.

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Patong Bay Surrounded by Palm Trees in Phuket, Thailand - Encircle Photos

30 Patong Bay Surrounded by Palm Trees in Phuket, Thailand

One look at this perfect tropical scene explains why Patong Bay has become a very popular port of call for cruise ships and yachts, especially during the winter high season. They will often anchor in the bay for days while tenders transport their passengers into shore. Patong is one of the most popular resort towns in Thailand.

249/4 Prabaramee Road, Tambon Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Library of Celsus and Gate of Mazeus in Ephesus, Turkey - Encircle Photos

31 Library of Celsus and Gate of Mazeus in Ephesus, Turkey

You are standing at the visual crescendo of your visit. Stare and savor the moment. Join the crowd in taking endless photos. On the left is the Library of Celsus. On the right is the Gate of Mazeus and Mithridates. Together, they reflect the grandeur of ancient Ephesus at the peak of success. Now, reflect on all the broken columns and building parts you have seen so far scattered around in piles. Imagine what they must have looked like about two thousand years ago. You are finally understanding the grandeur of this former Roman city.

Efes Harabeleri, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Dome and Semi-domes of Süleymaniye Camii Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey - Encircle Photos

32 Dome and Semi-domes of Süleymaniye Camii Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

The interior of the Süleymaniye Camii Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, is almost 200 feet high and wide. Look up! The 173 foot dome is surrounded by semi-domes, arches and massive columns punctuated by 200 stained-glass windows that accent the brilliant coloring. The mosque was built by 3,500 workers and finished in 1558. A three-year restoration project was completed in 2010.

Süleymaniye Cami & Süleymaniye Cd., 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Secluded Tropical Nirvana in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands - Encircle Photos

33 Secluded Tropical Nirvana in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands

Five main beaches stretch contiguously along the western shoreline of Grand Turk. The most popular are (from south to north) Cruise Center, Governor’s and Pillory Beaches. They are also the most crowded. If a secluded paradise is more your style, just look for signs along Duke Street reading, “Columbus Landfall National Park Beach Access.” They are your pathway to a tropical nirvana. Enjoy the view!

Columbus Landfall National Park, Beach Access Pond St, Cockburn Town TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Woman Wearing Abaya with Hijab Scarf inside Al Fahidi Fort in Dubai, UAE - Encircle Photos

34 Woman Wearing Abaya with Hijab Scarf inside Al Fahidi Fort in Dubai, UAE

About 25,000 cranes have built exceptional architecture across Dubai’s skyline, including the world’s tallest building and three islands in the shape of a palm. In contrast, the oldest building from 1787 is the Al Fahidi Fort. It is now the Dubai Museum. This woman, who is wearing an Abaya long black robe with a Hijab head scarf, is standing in the fort’s courtyard.

Al Fahidi, 8 58 St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Iglesia de la Candelaria Roman Catholic Church in Punta del Este, Uruguay - Encircle Photos

35 Iglesia de la Candelaria Roman Catholic Church in Punta del Este, Uruguay

Punta del Este, Uruguay, is a charming resort town that sits at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Río de la Plata, the world’s widest river at 140 miles. The beaches of the former are white sand perfect for sunning, while the latter are rocky. In the middle of this peninsula is the Iglesia de la Candelaria Roman Catholic church. Its blue exterior matches the sky during a perfect summer afternoon.

Sutileza 20100 Punta del Este, Departamento de Maldonado, Uruguay
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Sunrise over Isles and Fishing Boats in Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam - Encircle Photos

36 Sunrise over Isles and Fishing Boats in Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

In the northern part of the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam is Ha Long Bay. This geological marvel is one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Legend declares dragons created the 1,600 limestone isles. From afar they look like the backbone scales of a giant, swimming sea creature. Watching the sun rise on this mystical place was breathtaking, particularly as the local fishermen embraced the wind and waves of a new day.

Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Old Bearded Man with Infant in Stroller in Hanoi, Vietnam - Encircle Photos

Old Bearded Man with Infant in Stroller in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi has been the capital city of Vietnam for almost 1,000 years. The Old Quarter, where the streets are still organized by trade, provides a peek into that long history. The rest of the city is a blur of activity among its six million people. But the Vietnamese seem very family oriented. This multigenerational photo of an old man with an infant is one small example.

Enlarge/Slideshow
Burning Incense at Altar of Thiên Hâu Temple in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - Encircle Photos

37 Burning Incense at Altar of Thiên Hâu Temple in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Thiên Hâu Temple in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, reveres Mazu. The sea goddess was born in 960 A.D. and is the protector of sailors and fishermen. The Chinatown entrance features small porcelain figures below two sea serpents. These delicate, blue and tan figurines with pointed ears fill the courtyard roofs. This leads to the altar with three bronze Thiên Hâu statues in brightly colored robes. Throughout the pagoda are urns filled with burning joss sticks and conical incense coils. The result is a heavy smoke that drifts and twirls everywhere.

710 Nguyễn Trãi, Phường 11, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Prince of Wales Origin at Caernarfon Castle in Caernarfon, Wales - Encircle Photos

38 Prince of Wales Origin at Caernarfon Castle in Caernarfon, Wales

You are familiar with Charles, the current Prince of Wales. But how did the title become associated with the heir apparent to the English crown? It started and continues here. After the Welsh Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was killed in 1281, King Edward I of England wanted to appease the rebellious people of Wales. So, when his son was born in Caernarfon Castle in 1284, he declared him to be the Prince of Wales. When his father died in 1307, Edward II became the King of England until he was imprisoned and suspiciously died twenty years later. Since 1911, the investiture ceremony to become the Prince of Wales has been held in this castle. The last time was 1969. Shown here are the Granary Tower (left) and the King’s Gate (center).

Caernarfon Castle Castle Ditch, Caernarfon LL55 2AY, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Outer Main Gatehouse at Caerphilly Castle in Caerphilly, Wales - Encircle Photos

39 Outer Main Gatehouse at Caerphilly Castle in Caerphilly, Wales

This is the Outer Main Gatehouse of Caerphilly Castle and the tourist entrance to the attraction. In the 13th century, there were two draw bridges before reaching this point. Inside was a third bridge leading to the East Gatehouse. Imagine being a soldier of Llwelyh ap Gruffudd, the last Prince of Wales, ordered to storm this citadel in 1270 under a barrage of arrows and javelins fired from five levels of slits in the tower. Despite those odds, they succeeded in burning the half-finished castle. However, Gilbert de Clare reclaimed it within a year and continued its construction through 1290, making it into one Wale’s greatest and innovative strongholds.

Caerphilly Castle, Castle St, Caerphilly CF83 1JD, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
South African War Memorial Statue in Cardiff, Wales - Encircle Photos

40 South African War Memorial Statue in Cardiff, Wales

The South African War Memorial is a tribute to the 817 Welsh soldiers who died during the Second Boer War from October, 1899 through May of 1902. The bronze winged statue holding an olive tree represents Peace. On the right is another allegorical sculpture by Albert Toft symbolizing Grief. This tribute was erected in Cathays Park along King Edward VII Street in 1908. In the background are the twin Baroque towers of the Cardiff Crown Court.

King Edward III Ave, Cardiff CF10 3NL, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Southern Façade of Conwy Castle in Conwy, Wales - Encircle Photos

41 Southern Façade of Conwy Castle in Conwy, Wales

After King Edward I of England suppressed the Welsh in 1283, he demanded their Aberconwy Abbey be moved and this impressive castle be built on its site. Architect John Bonvillars and grand mason James St. George orchestrated hundreds of laborers to complete the Edwardian stronghold within four years. This perspective from across the River Conwy shows the castle’s southern curtain wall. It was constructed from sandstone and limestone. The four towers from left to right are the South-West, Prison, Bakehouse and King’s Towers.

Castle Square, Conwy LL32 8AY, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
Courtyard of Castell Coch in Tongwynlais, Wales - Encircle Photos

42 Courtyard of Castell Coch in Tongwynlais, Wales

John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, was one of the wealthiest men in the 19th century. He loved spending his money on fanciful architecture. After he hired eccentric architect William Bruges, the two of them splurged on building the Cardiff Castle (see separate photo gallery) and the Castell Coch. This lavish restoration of a 13th century castle was intended to be an occasional summer house. After construction was completed in 1891, neither the owner nor his subsequent generations spent much time here. Castell Coch was donated to the government in 1950 and is managed by Cadw, a heritage agency. This is the inner courtyard with the twin turrets of the Well Tower in the background.

Castell Coch, Tongwynlais, Cardiff CF15 7JS, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
TOP