Articles Los Angeles

Museum of Television and Radio

interiors_white_front_282431_m.jpgThe Museum of Television and Radio is a befitting tribute for a city whose fortunes and future were constructed by mass media entertainment.

Now named the Paley Center, the location in Beverly Hills is part reference library, part movie theater and part celebration of Television culture. Visitors have the option of looking up old video clips and pulling them up on individual screens or watching them in a “family room” for four people. The Paley Center also screens films and shows daily in their movie theater sized screening room. Visitors might find shorts looking at the work of Jim Henson, Saturday Night Live over the years, or an exploration of another theme having to do with TV.

The Museum of Television and Radio is a tribute to the media’s past, but it also weighs in on contemporary shows and trends in the industry. Every so often the center offers a Media as Lens series, which assembles a room of people in the television industry and has them weigh in on current topics in the entertainment industry and world at large.

The Museum of Television and Radio is one of those free museums with a suggested donation of $10. Although you don’t have to pay it to enter, the museum is run off of donations in addition to the trust of William S. Paley, whom the museum is now named for.

Unlike typical museums, the Paley Center does not collect artifacts and mementos from Television shows. In fact, there is almost nothing tangible in the Paley Center. The museum exists as a way for future generations to see the shows that established television into the media giant that it is today. With over 140,000 shows selected by the museum staff for their influence, innovation, quality, or success, the museum supplies a way for scholars, historians, and the general public to look into what sort of shows were popular throughout the last century and what those shows looked like.

Unfortunately, the public cannot view the museum’s collection before arriving. Visitors can contact a curator with specific questions at 212.621.6600 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. EST.

The radio component of the Museum of Television and Radio operates much the same way that the television part does. Visitors can look through a catalogue of available shows and programs and choose one to listen to. Unfortunately, copies of programs or even clips of shows are not available for the public as part of the donation agreement with the museum.

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Articles Croatia

Hotel Kompass

cliffs_rocks_beach_280096_m.jpgBy most accounts, Hotel Kompass is Croatia’s nicest three star hotel. The hotel combines an amazing view with decent services and amenities to produce one of the best travel experiences available in Croatia on a mid-range budget.

Hotel Kompass is located near Dubrovnik, on the Lapad peninsula with a view overlooking the bay. The hotel regularly receives rave reviews and is a popular way to get semi-luxury accommodations on a budget.

The differences between Hotel Kompass and a luxury resort are slight. Where a resort might be described as “massive,” Hotel Kompass is “charming,” where a resort might be “pristine,” Hotel Kompass is “well-kept.”

When it comes to the food in the restaurant however, the reviews are more mixed. Some ring with recommendation and endorsement, comparing the food to the finest stuff in Italy’s best kitchens and gushing about the selection.

Others, find the food repetitive, the buffet limiting and the service average. Hotel Kompass may not have the finest kitchen to offer, but for budget travelers the food choices will likely be manageable and a far cry above what is usually offered in youth hostels.

Quick Facts

Hotel Kompass has 115 rooms over 5 floors.

Prices start at 94 euros a night.

Hotel Kompass is a three star hotel.

Accepts American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard and Visa.

There is a heated indoor pool and a heated outdoor pool as well as an accessible beach from your hotel.

Hotel Kompass is probably the best compromise you can make between a high-class resort and a youth hostel or budget hotel. While the service reflects the manageable over all price–there are fewer extra frills than a resort–the location, view and accommodations are just as good as a higher priced resort.

Articles Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory

losangeles_333572_l.jpgOverlooking the city from the hills of Los Angeles, the recently restored and renovated Griffith Observatory is now a museum sparking curiosity in kids and adults. Built in 1935 as part of the bequest of landowner Griffith J. Griffith, the Observatory is no longer on the cutting edge of research, nor do scientists spend much time peering through the telescopes at distant planets or stars. Now that Los Angeles’ lights have dimmed the stars brightness and commuter smog has made it more difficult to see out of the atmosphere, the best thing to observe from Griffith Observatory, is the city.

Griffith Observatory, on the south side of Griffith Park, overlooks Hollywood and downtown and on a clear day the view extends all the way to Santa Monica and the ocean. To the north, the Hollywood sign stands prominently in view. Griffith Observatory is about as close as you’ll get without driving to the base of the sign.

In 2002 the Observatory closed and underwent a $93 million dollar renovation. Exhibits now provide a look at broad aspects of space science on a universal as well as local level. The “Big Picture,” the largest image of space ever displayed, takes up one entire wall, while each planet in the galaxy has its own booth with facts on that planet and a scale displaying what you would weigh under that planet’s gravity.

There is also a collection of meteorites found in California on display as well as a three-dimensional, detailed, rotating model of the moon.

More than a museum, Griffith Observatory has become a landmark and symbol of the past for Los Angeles. James Dean appears in front of the Observatory in several scenes of “Rebel Without a Cause,” and a bust of the actor was placed outside of the museum. The museum is still a popular filming location.

Since the reopening of the Observatory, visitors have had to make reservations for a shuttle to take them up to the main area. That requirement ended November 2, and you can now drive up to the main parking lot and tour the building for free. Enter on Vermont Avenue and follow the signs after passing the Greek Theater. Tours of the exhibits take about two hours, more if you want to see shows in the Planetarium or Event Horizon Theater. Tickets to both of those theaters are an extra charge.

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Articles Croatia

Sjeverni Velebit

Of all the parks in all of Croatia, Sjeverni Velebit Park is the youngest. Sjeverni Velebit, which translates to mean “northern part of the Velebite mountain chain,” was declared a national park in 1999 by the Croatian government and today hosts many visitors to its walking trails and soaring mountain peaks each year.

The park is also home to the highest meteorological station in Croatia.

The park is 109 square kilometers in size and there are 30 peaks higher than 1300 m tall in Sjeverni Velebit, making it one of the biggest mountain ranges in Croatia. Although most of the park rises up and over Croatia, most of the visitors to the park are interested in going underground, into the caves scattered throughout the mountains. Spelunkers unite at Lukina Jama, the largest cave in the park, which drops 1,392 m into the ground and at the cave system Cerovacke Pecine. Three small caves called upper, middle and lower cave extend between 2,682 m and 390 m down into the ground.

Lukina Jama was only recently discovered by a team of professors and students studying caves on Mt Velebit in 1993. On August 7th, at 9:45, the team reached the bottom of the caves, declaring it the biggest hole in the ground in Croatia and one of the 20 largest caves in the world.

Because Sjeverni Velebit is so new, the park is still not as highly trafficked as some of the other, more famous parks around Croatia. It also does not charge admission or require you to register before your arrival like several of the other tourist-heavy parks in Croatia do. Sjeverni Velebit is one of the few places where you can get away from it all without stumbling upon another group trying to do exactly the same thing.

Articles Los Angeles

The Beverly Hilton

losangeles_hollywood_rodeodrive_1002286_l1.jpgThe best location, the best views, the best service… the superlatives accompanying the Beverly Hilton are many. But the best prices? Not so fast.

The Beverly Hilton may be one of the world’s finest examples of “getting what you pay for” out of a hotel, or anything else. Yes the towels are plush and your balcony overlooks the LA Country Club or the mansions of Beverly Hills. Your breakfast comes in on a tray and leaves the same way after you’ve eaten it. Your car is valet parked upon arrival. Your credit card is required.

Luckily for the hotel, the availability of the Penthouse is more of a concern than the price of the room for most of their guests. Rooms run around $200 a night, but go up sharply if upgrading to an Oasis room or one of the Tower suites.

Much of what you pay for at the Beverly Hilton, however, comes to you outside of the room itself. The location of the hotel is second to none for those looking for a place within walking distance of spots like Rodeo Drive and the rest of Beverly Hills. Visitors report feeling important and cared for in what can be an intimidating city.

Quick Facts

The Beverly Hilton consists of 570 rooms on 8 floors and was built in 1952.

The in-room amenities include a flat screen TV and high speed Internet.

Pets under 25 pounds are allowed in the pet suites with a $10 per day extra charge.

There are two pools, one indoor, one outdoor.

The Beverly Hilton is located at 9876 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills, at the intersection of Trenton and Wilshire. Call the front desk at 310-274-7777.

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Articles Croatia

Bicycling Croatia


Popular wisdom says that Croatia has the makings of a world-class bicycle touring destination. Tours of Croatia by bike are popular and plentiful. The beautiful views, sunny weather that’s not oppressively hot, and plentiful lodging along the way do indeed make biking through the country one of the more relaxing and enjoyable touring experiences you can have. You don’t need to do any excessive planning or preparation, and, unless you head away from the coast, you shouldn’t encounter any leg-killing mountains, so long as you have a reasonable level of fitness under your belt.

Articles Croatia

Risnjak Park

mountain_tree_pines_283337_l.jpgRisnjak National park is a hilly, wooded park of forests and mountains, much like the interior of Croatia and the Balkan region. Mountains define the inland area of Croatia as it stretches in toward Bosnia and Risnjak Park is one of the most popular places to enjoy those mountains.

Risnjak became a national park in 1953 on the strength and popularity of its hiking trails, mountain climbing and diversity of forest wildlife. Brown bears, wolves, wild boars, wild cats and deer can be found in the park, as well as the Ris, a lynx-like cat whose presence in the park earned Risnjak its name.

There are several common sense rules to abide by in the park, all aimed at preserving the rich natural beauty of the mountain. Simply staying on the paths and hiking trails and leaving nature, in nature makes it easy to abide by all of them.

Risnjak Park also has an interesting geologic history. The park’s rocks are mostly limestone and dolomite with “karst” features add dynamic rock constructions to the mostly mundane rocks throughout the rest of Croatia. Outcroppings, sinkholes, tunnels and caves are all part of the geology of Risnjak and spelunking or “cave diving” is a popular recreation option as well.

The most famous caves in Risnjak is the Lokvarska cave, a 1000 meter long cave descending 140 m down through stalactites and stalagmites, but there are several others. The caves are technically outside of the park’s boundaries, but are near enough that they are worth seeing on the same trip.

If interested in other nearby attractions, the source of the river Kupa is nearby as well. A half-hour’s walk from the village of Razloge, the 50 m wide blue pool is a striking emerald color and consists of two separate channels each running deep, deep deep below the surface of the water. If you bring your fishing pole to the pool, you can try to hook both brown trout and grayling.

Getting to Risnjak is an easy task. From Zagreb, drive an hour southwest toward the Istria peninsula on the A-1 highway and take it to the Rijeka to Zagreb highway. The park is about 15 kilometers from the highway and you’ll need to buy tickets for your visit at the entrance to the park.

Articles Los Angeles

Walk of Fame

donald_duck_donald_233468_l.jpgThe Hollywood Walk of Fame stretches 3.5 miles around Hollywood Boulevard and Vine streets in downtown Hollywood and presents more than 2,000 names who have achieved fame and prominence in one of the five entertainment categories.

Created as part of a Hollywood “Face Lift” in 1958, the Hollywood Walk of fame is another way to walk the streets “seeing stars” in Hollywood. The Walk also connects the community with the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. People tromp up and down the street, literally staring at the ground and reading names as they go.

Nominations are due every May and the committee then meets to award stars to chosen every year in June in five categories. The categories are: film, television, the recording industry, broadcasting, and live theater. Recently, the selection committee has been accepting nominations for corporations and businesses on the Walk of Fame, so long as the company is active in Hollywood and at least 50 years old. Disneyland was the first recipient and now The Los Angeles Times and the KTLA TV station each has their own star.

Walk of Fame Trivia

The Walk of fame ends with stars for The Beatles and Elvis Presley.

There are two stars for Harrison Ford, for two different actors of the same name.

Gene Autry is the only person to have a star awarded to him in each of the five categories.

The Walk of Fame became a cultural landmark in Hollywood in 1978.

The first star on the walk was awarded on February 9, 1960, to Joanne Woodward

The best way to see the Walk of Fame is to drive in to Hollywood, park and walk. The best parking is available at Hollywood and Highland, in the giant underground parking structure. From there, the walk of fame is on Hollywood Blvd and extends east toward Vine St. The Walk of Fame is even more accessible by public transportation. The Red Line, which runs between North Hollywood and Downtown, stops at Hollywood and Vine, the heart of the Walk of Fame.

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