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Washington D.C., DC, USA

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Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and also known as D.C. or just Washington, is the capital city of the United States. It is located on the east bank of the Potomac River which forms its southwestern and southern border with Virginia and shares a land border with Maryland on its remaining sides. The city was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and a Founding Father, and the federal district is named after Columbia, a female personification of the nation. As the seat of the U.S. federal government and several international organizations, the city is an important world political capital. It is one of the most visited cities in the U.S., seeing over 20 million visitors in 2016.

The U.S. Constitution provides for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress; the district is therefore not a part of any U.S. state (nor is it one itself). The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River near the country’s East Coast. The City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the national capital, and Congress held its first session there in 1800. In 1801, the territory, formerly part of Maryland and Virginia (including the settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria), officially became recognized as the federal district. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia, including the city of Alexandria; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the district. There have been efforts to make the city into a state since the 1880s, a movement that has gained momentum in recent years, and a statehood bill passed the House of Representatives in 2021.

The city is divided into quadrants centered on the Capitol Building, and there are as many as 131 neighborhoods. According to the 2020 Census, it has a population of 689,545, which makes it the 20th-most populous city in the U.S. and gives it a population larger than that of two U.S. states: Wyoming and Vermont. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city’s daytime population to more than one million during the workweek. Washington’s metropolitan area, the country’s sixth-largest (including parts of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia), had a 2019 estimated population of 6.3 million residents. Wikipedia

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La Digue

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La Digue is the third most populated island of Seychelles, and the fourth-largest by land area, lying east of Praslin and west of Felicite Island. In size, it is the fourth-largest granitic island of Seychelles after Mahé, Praslin, and Silhouette Island. It has a population of 2,800 people, who mostly live in the west coast villages of La Passe (linked by ferry to Praslin and Mahé) and La Réunion. There is no airport on La Digue, so to get there from a foreign country, one has to fly to Victoria and continue by ferry, usually via Praslin. It has an area of 10.08 km², which makes it relatively easy to travel around by bike or on foot.

La Digue was named after a ship in the fleet of French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, who visited Seychelles in 1768. Wikipedia

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Wroclaw, Poland

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Wrocław is a city in southwestern Poland and the largest city in the historical region of Silesia. It lies on the banks of the River Oder in the Silesian Lowlands of Central Europe, roughly 350 kilometers (220 mi) from the Baltic Sea to the north and 40 kilometers (25 mi) from the Sudeten Mountains to the south. The official population of Wrocław in 2020 was 643,782, with a further 1.25 million residing in the metropolitan area.

Wrocław is the historical capital of Silesia and Lower Silesia. Today, it is the capital of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. The history of the city dates back over a thousand years; at various times, it has been part of the Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria, the Kingdom of Prussia, and Germany. Wrocław became part of Poland again in 1945 as part of the so-called Recovered Territories, the result of extensive border changes and expulsions after the Second World War.

Wrocław is a university city with a student population of over 130,000, making it arguably one of the most youth-oriented cities in the country. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the University of Wrocław, previously Breslau University, has produced 9 Nobel Prize laureates and is renowned for its high quality of teaching. Wrocław also possesses numerous historical landmarks, including the Main Market Square, Cathedral Island, and the Centennial Hall, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wikipedia

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Llanes Spain

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Llanes is a municipality of the province of Asturias, in northern Spain. Stretching for about 30 km along the coast at the extreme east of the province, Llanes is bounded to the south by the high ridge of the limestone Sierra del Cuera, which rises to over 1,100 m. The region is part of the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Spain, which is known for its spectacular coastal scenery, with 32 white sand beaches, and mountains covered with a deep green mantle. Llanes lies to the north of the Picos de Europa, a mountain range whose geology is almost entirely of limestone karst.

Most of the inhabitants of the district live on the coastal plain, on which the largest town is Llanes itself, with a population of about 4,000 out of the total for the district of about 13,000. The folklore, food, and fiestas of the region are famous for their color and history.

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Virginia Beach, VA, USA

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Virginia Beach is an independent city located on the southeastern coast of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. The population was 433,750 in 2009, and in 2019, it was estimated to be 449,974. Although mostly suburban in character, it is the most populous city in Virginia and the 44th most populous city in the nation. Located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is the largest city in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. This area, known as “America’s First Region”, also includes the independent cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as other smaller cities, counties, and towns of Hampton Roads.

Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. Every year the city hosts the East Coast Surfing Championships as well as the North American Sand Soccer Championship, a beach soccer tournament. It is also home to several state parks, several long-protected beach areas, military bases, a number of large corporations, Virginia Wesleyan University and Regent University, the international headquarters and site of the television broadcast studios for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, and numerous historic sites. Near the point where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Cape Henry was the site of the first landing of the English colonists, who eventually settled in Jamestown, on April 26, 1607.

The city is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world. It is located at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which was the world’s longest bridge-tunnel complex until the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge opened in 2018. Wikipedia

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Costa Verde Spain

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Literally translated into English as the ‘Green Coast’, the Costa Verde is situated at the base of the Bay of Biscay in the northern region of Asturias and Cantabria in Spain. Its stunning coastline stretches the length of the Basque region until reaching France. The Costa Verde is sheltered by the Cantabrian Mountains, which provide the perfect backdrop to this beautiful stretch of coastline as well as offering a great opportunity for hiking. Rightly names the ‘Green Coast’, the area is abundant with lush vegetation and scenery which contrasts with the golden sand of its shores. The quality of the coast’s vegetation is mainly owing to the area’s particular climate which is typical of any resort fed off the northern Atlantic coast. Summers are mainly warm and dry however there can be rainy periods and these continue throughout the winter, however, the result is beautiful.

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Verona, VR, Italy

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Verona is a city on the Adige River in Veneto, Italy, with 259,610 inhabitants. It is one of the seven provincial capitals of the region. It is the largest city municipality in the region and the second largest in northeast Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona covers an area of 1,426 km2 (550.58 sq mi) and has a population of 714,310 inhabitants. It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy because of its artistic heritage and several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, an ancient Roman amphitheater.

Between the 13th and 14th century the city was ruled by the Della Scala Family. Under the rule of the family, in particular of Cangrande I della Scala, the city experienced great prosperity, becoming rich and powerful and being surrounded by new walls. The Della Scala era is survived in numerous monuments around Verona.

Two of William Shakespeare’s plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet (which also features Romeo’s sojourn to Mantua) and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. It is unknown if Shakespeare ever visited Verona or Italy, but his plays have lured many visitors to Verona and surrounding cities. Verona was also the birthplace of Isotta Nogarola, who is said to be the first major female humanist and one of the most important humanists of the Renaissance. The city has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture. Wikipedia

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Behrensdorf Germany

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Behrensdorf is a municipality in the district of Plön, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It lies on the western shore of Hohwacht Bay on the Baltic Sea coast. About one kilometer to the north is the eighty-year-old Neuland Lighthouse.

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Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Vancouver is a major city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the most populous city in the province, the 2016 census recorded 631,486 people in the city, up from 603,502 in 2011. The Greater Vancouver area had a population of 2,463,431 in 2016, making it the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada. Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada, with over 5,400 people per square kilometer. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada: 52 percent of its residents are not native English speakers, 48.9 percent are native speakers of neither English nor French, and 50.6 percent of residents belong to visible minority groups.

Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city ranked among the top ten of the world’s most well-living cities for ten consecutive years. However, Vancouver also ranks as the most expensive city to live in Canada and as the fourth-most expensive housing market globally. In 2011, the city planned to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. Vancouverism is the city’s urban planning design philosophy. Wikipedia

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Baltic Sea Coast Germany

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The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the North and Central European Plain.

The sea stretches from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 10°E to 30°E longitude. A marginal sea of the Atlantic, with limited water exchange between the two water bodies, the Baltic Sea drains through the Danish Straits into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, Great Belt, and Little Belt. It includes the Gulf of Bothnia, the Bay of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, the Gulf of Riga, and the Bay of Gdańsk.

The Baltic Proper is bordered on its northern edge, at latitude 60°N, by the Åland Islands and the Gulf of Bothnia, on its northeastern edge by the Gulf of Finland, on its eastern edge by the Gulf of Riga, and in the west by the Swedish part of the southern Scandinavian Peninsula.

The Baltic Sea is connected by artificial waterways to the White Sea via the White Sea-Baltic Canal and to the German Bight of the North Sea via the Kiel Canal. Wikipedia

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