Tourism Review Online Magazine - Surprises in the City

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SurpriSeS in the City

               The Eiffel Tower, Berlin Wall or
               Helsinki’s beaches – all of these
               are the main tourism attrac-
               tions most travelers are well
               aware of. If you think you have
               seen it all, read about some
               less known landmarks of Paris,
               Berlin, Helsinki and Birming-
               ham and get ready for some
                                                                                                                  HERITAGE         S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

  DoinG pariS Differently                                                                                   walking or bus tours that present the rich heri-
                                                                                                            tage of African American influences in Paris.
                                                                                                            Nowhere else in the world were Black writ-
With 27 million foreign visitors annually, Paris                                                            ers, artists, musicians, and intellectuals able
and its surrounding area represent the most                                                                 to nurture and display their talent, unfettered
popular tourist destination in the world. Even                                                              by the racism they experienced in the United
people who have never been to the "City of                                                                  states. The brainchild of African Canadian,
                                                                                                            Julia Browne, these story-telling tours are full
light" are familiar with key cultural and natural                                                           of compelling human dramas and insights into
landmarks by sight as well as names of famous                                                               the creative exchanges that have influenced
districts through generations of movies, songs                                                              the city over more than a century.
and artistic works. What could i discover to                                                                  This white Anglo-saxon blonde immersed in
add an element of surprise to a four-day visit?                                                             all things Black Paris with two guided walking
   To make the most of limited time, i enlisted                                                             tours of the latin Quarter and monmartre, a
the services of My Genie in Paris (mygeniein-                                                               night of jumping music at the famous but tiny, a tour agency that customizes itin-                                                             Duc des lombards Jazz Club, and participation
eraries based on the insider knowledge of the                                                               in a genuine Paris soirée, all of which may be
two native Parisian owners and their team of                                                                arranged by Walking the spirit.
artists, designers, journalists and trend-spot-
ters ideally positioned to recommend those          Behind the scenes at a Paris bakery, a class partici-
                                                    pant prepares our handiwork for the oven so we may
illusive surprises.                                 sample our own masterpieces in the café.
   An itinerary for any number of days is deliv-    Photo credit: Alison Gardner
ered to your Paris hotel with vouchers, maps
and brochures that reflect each client's per-       ranging from baguettes and croissants to pain
sonal interests. During earlier email discus-       au chocolat and mouth-watering pastries. At
sions from Canada, i had selected an Electric       every station, expert bakers and their appren-
Bike Tour of Paris's back streets (49€), a Paris    tices stopped their tasks to patiently demon-
Bakery Class (85€) and a Paris Chocolate Tour       strate their specialties and then invite us to
and Tasting (85€) a guided walking tour which       try our hand at making our own creations. We
visited five chocolate makers. These seemed         finished in the bakery's popular storefront eat-
like original ways to discover Paris.               ery with a welcome café au lait and a souvenir
   For example, let's consider the Bakery Class     of our own creations to sample and take away.
at Miss Manan Boulangerie, a 15-minute walk         not hard to tell the amateur versions, but all
from the landmark notre Dame Cathedral.             the more delicious for being our own!
it offered an authentic three-hour glimpse            The other Paris-based operator i felt sure            In Hotel Mayet's restored stone cellar, complimen-
behind the scenes on three floors where bee-        would deliver some surprising ways to                   tary continental breakfasts are served family-style so
hive-like activity produces tens of thousands of    experience the city was Walking the Spirit              guests may meet and share.
those famous French breads and pastries daily,      ( which offers guided              Photo credit: Hotel Mayet

May, 2011                                                                 —5—
                                                                                                                   HERITAGE          S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

                                                         tural sharing bring together resident expats liv-   jumping with colourful wall murals, comfy fur-
                                                         ing in Paris, nomadic internationals like myself,   niture and red plush carpets. The vaulted cellar
                                                         and French intelligentsia. Popular with adults of   with its rough-stone walls and ceiling makes a
                                                         every age, conversation quickly flows around        distinctive gathering place for the included
                                                         Patricia's living room which is up several narrow   continental breakfast.
                                                         flights of worn wood steps in an antique stone        staff are exceptionally helpful, all speaking
                                                         building over the bridge near notre Dame.           English, and volunteering information about
                                                            Visit for listings of year      every aspect of Paris as well as providing help-
                                                         round sunday evening events and to book             ful free services including WiFi, a lobby com-
                                                         attendance directly. Entry is €20 per person,       puter for guest use, and free photocopying.
                                                         including an abundant buffet of home-cooked           serving the independent traveler, Hotel
                                                         dishes, unlimited wine and non-alcoholic bev-       mayet has a large repeat clientele, mostly from
                                                         erages, and a special guest performance or          the Uk, the Us and France itself. located in the
                                                         challenging lecture. Even with 23 guests at my      neighbourhood of les invalides, 6th arrondisse-
                                                         soirée, Patricia captured the intimate salon        ment, it is just three blocks from the subway/
                                                         atmosphere, providing an informal relaxed           metro. Five stops later you are whisked into
                                                         meeting place for strangers to become quickly       the heart of the old city, notre Dame Cathedral
Walking the Spirit guide, Julia Browne, shares stories   acquainted and stimulate the little gray cells.
about African-American writers, musicians, artists and                                                       and ile de la Cité in a matter of minutes.
intellectuals who have made Paris their creative home.      looking for an accommodation surprise
Photo credit: Walking the Spirit Tours                   to round out my Paris visit, i discovered the
                                                                                                             By Alison Gardner
                                                         whimsical boutique Hotel Mayet (,
  Though lacking the luxurious boudoir back-                                                                 Editor/journalist, Alison Gardner, is a global expert
                                                         which brings a smile the moment you cross the       on nature-based vacations and cultural/educational
drop and aristocratic attendance of historic             threshold. With 23 small rooms on six narrow        travel. Her Travel with a Challenge web magazine, is a
French soirées, my thoroughly modern Paris               floors, each room is decorated in office furni-     recognized source of new and established operators,
soirée was definitely an insider experience,             ture style, from filing cabinet bedside tables to   accommodations and richly-illustrated feature articles
hosted by Us native Patricia laplante-Collins for        lighting and even the ceiling fan. Conversely,      covering all types of senior-friendly alternative travel.
over ten years. These weekly evenings of cul-            the public spaces reflect no office decor at all,

May, 2011                                                                    —6—
                                                                                                              HERITAGE        S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

        explore offbeat anD                                                                                Berlin’s public transit authority, BVg, also
                                                                                                         offers unusual impressions and a subterranean
                                                                                                         breeze: explore on foot during special evening

         unexpeCteD berlin
                                                                                                         tunnel walks in the subway tunnels or in open
                                                                                                         cars, the one-of-a-kind “subway convertibles”
                                                                                                         for a two-hour tour. The tour also includes dif-
Anyone standing on the Berlin’s Teufelsberg            the remains of the installation with five large   ferent types of tunnel structures and the his-
could hardly guess that this mountain is               radar domes. Tours around the former nsA          tory of the Berlin subway system.
made of rubble and that it is a place charged          (national security Alliance) field station are
with history. During the nazi period the shell         offered in german and English.                                  fielDS of Green
of the military Technology Faculty building              in the streets above and below the surface
was here. it was blown up after the war and            you can find the city’s commuter rail and sub-       gigantic fallen dinosaurs, old family attrac-
25 million cubic metres of Berlin rubble was           way tracks. And in between? Entire worlds are     tions and a great Ferris Wheel – this is the spree-
piled up here. And this is how the Teufels-            hidden here in the german capital: bunkers        Park Plänterwald, a former entertainment park
berg became the highest point in Berlin at             and tunnels, shafts, mountains of rubble, and     in Berlin´s district Treptow-köpenick. it opened
114.7 metres.                                          vaults from long ago make the underground         in 1969 and was closed down in 2001 because
  in the 50s, the Americans began to use the           Berlin a destination for exciting adventure       the owners were insolvent. Today the atmo-
hill as a listening point. Today, visitors can visit   tours.                                            sphere of this abandoned park is almost ghost-
                                                                                                         like. Curiosity seekers can join guided tours.
                                                                                                            His own little island in the shade of the Berlin
                                                                                                         Wall – this is the garden of osman kalin. once
                                                                                                         an illegally built arbour directly on the border-
                                                                                                         line today it stands for some of the absurdi-
                                                                                                         ties that West Berlin experienced while it was
                                                                                                         in the shadow of the Wall. The garden can be
                                                                                                         found at the Bethaniendamm.
                                                                                                            The 'fat mary' is the oldest tree in Berlin that
                                                                                                         got its name in around 1800 when two boys,
                                                                                                         who lived not far away in Tegel Palace, named
                                                                                                         her after their cook. The two boys are thought
                                                                                                         to have been brothers Wilhelm and Alexan-
                                                                                                         der von Humboldt. Today, the striking, gnarled
                                                                                                         English oak stands 26 metres high. Its trunk has
                                                                                                         a circumference of almost seven metres and a
                                                                                                         diameter of more than two metres. Fat mary
                                                                                                         stands to the north of the Grosser Malchsee
                                                                                        © visitBerlin
                                                                                                         lake in Tegel. A visit to the tree can be easily

May, 2011                                                                 —7—
                                                                                                        HERITAGE      S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

   © Fersy, Photocase

combined with a lovely walk to Tegel Palace or   gendarmenmarkt. in order to keep the food           An enlightening experience, in which there
a riverboat cruise on lake Tegel.                from getting monotonous, cooks from all over      is guaranteed to be nothing to see, is offered
                                                 the world have put together a creative menu       by the two darkness restaurants in Berlin –
    CuiSine aS varieD aS the City                centered on all things cocoa, where fish and      Unsicht-Bar Berlin and nocti Vagus – , where
  Chocolate as an appetizer, the main course,    meat, salad and soup are combined with choc-      diners eat without any illumination at all.
and for dessert as well! such an unusual menu    olate elements. on saturdays, these specialties   The sense of sight falls out of the picture, so
awaits you at Fassbender und rausch, the first   are served in the course of an exciting choco-    hearing, smell, taste, and touch gain new sig-
chocolate restaurant in Europe, located on the   late dinner show.                                 nificance throughout the meal. The surprise

May, 2011                                                           —8—
                                                                                                     HERITAGE           S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

                                                                                                     Take the chance to
                                                                                                       welcome new
                                                                                                     Russian travellers

                                                                                                     Join My Planet Travel Awards
  © Berliner Unterwelten, Frieder Salm                                                     
                                                                                                       Moscow September 2011
menu offers a particularly exciting adventure!     variety along the spree river: gastro-rallies.
                                                                                                     International travel awards voted for exclusively
The waiters are all severely or completely visu-   These unusual tours, a mixture of a city tour          by the Russian public and organised in
ally impaired, so the service goes off without a   and a five-course menu, stop in several restau-      partnership with Moya Planeta TV, Russia’s
hitch in spite of the darkness. At nocti Vagus,    rants in trendy neighborhoods, and only one            leading travel and leisure network. The
                                                                                                      Awards offer participating companies a unique
which has a unique dark stage, the evenings        course is eaten at each stop.                         opportunity to reach millions of Russian
are often supplemented by musical, theatrical,                                                          consumers directly, as well as hundreds of
                                                                                                                potential industry partners.
or literary shows.
  Here’s a tip for everyone who is having trou-    By visitBerlin
ble making a decision in the face of the vast                                         Supported by

                                                                                                                     Media partners

May, 2011                                                               —9—
                                                                                                           HERITAGE        S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

          helSinki: the olD toWn bay area

Arabianranta and Vanhankaupunginlahti               Arabianranta is also famous for its culture,      main attractions. The future objective is also
(”old Town Bay”) are the places where Helsinki    creative industries, nature and higher educa-       to attract as much businesses as possible in
was originally founded in 1550 when king gus-     tion campuses. The Arabia factory, once the         the field of creative industries to join the Ara-
tavus Vasa of sweden wanted to compete with       biggest ceramics factory in all of Europe, is a     bianranta community, to operate and develop
the Hanseatic trading city of Tallinn. At that    great example of Finnish industrial and design      together with the local educational institutes.
time the king ordered the burghers of rauma,      history and worth a visit. The Arabia products        Arabianranta has been determinedly devel-
Ulvila, Porvoo and Tammisaari to move to Hel-     are characterized by a timeless beauty as well      oped towards ”Art and Design City” more than
sinki. in spite of it the growth of population    as high quality and functionality. The offerings    ten years. The arts and culture are actively
and medieval trading traditions were slow to      are also highly appreciated, collectible and val-   introduced to people of Arabianranta by edu-
change. in 1640 the settlement moved to the       ued in Finland.                                     cational institutes. The Arabianranta area is
district of kruununhaka.                            The northern parts of Arabia shore are            the most significant design cluster in Finland.
  The name Arabia is found in 18th century        recently built to a new housing district with       Design enterprises and institutes of art-related
documents whereas the Arabia factory was          220 acre beachfront residential resort and          education are operating in the old factory
built in 1871. Arabianranta is a district where   marina. The coastal zone is made into a park.       facilities. The unique design atmosphere of the
old and new, nature and urban city, industry      The new development plan of the area aims           area is complete with the modern maritime
and residence, studying and peace, art and        to increase tourism and travel services in the      housing area in its neighbourhood.
technology meet. innovation, courage and          coming years.                                         The old Town Bay nearby the Arabia factory is
communal spirit are the key words to describe       Helsinki will become the World Design Capi-       a popular and beautiful recreational area with
the area.                                         tal in 2012 and Arabianranta will be one of the     picturesque rapids. it has also international sig-

May, 2011                                                            — 10 —
                                                                                                         HERITAGE   S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

                                                    few years of roaming the seas to spawn in the
                                                    river. The salmon and trout can weight up to
                                                    10-20 kilos. Pike, pike-pearch and pearch are
                                                    the best species to catch. in the winter time
                                                    you may catch a glimpse of a mink or a white-
                                                    throated dipper fishing by the water.
                                                      The old Town Bay is also a part of an eco-
                                                    logical network of protected areas in the ter-
                                                    ritory of the European Union called natura
                                                    2000. Visitors have to be considerate to the
                                                    environment. People have to stay on paths and
                                                    dock boards. it is also forbidden to pick plants
                                                    or damage them, and to disturb the wildlife in
                                                    any way.
                                                      An easy way to familiarize yourself to the
                                                    area in summer season is the new Helsinki
                                                    City Tour that includes design and architec-
                                                    tural highlights in Helsinki. The bus stops at the
                                                    Temppeliaukio Church, the senate square and
                                                    Arabia District. Helsinki Expert oy offers in co-
                                                    operation with Art and Design City Helsinki also
                                                    guided tours for groups in the Arabia District.
                                                    groups can discover the Arabianranta area on
                                                    a guided walk Arabia District Art & Design or
nificance as a sanctuary for migratory birds. A     on a guided city tour focusing on design and
practised bird-watcher may spot a hundred of        architecture in Helsinki, including the Design
species on a good day. A shallow sea bay sur-       District Helsinki and Arabianranta (HelsinkiEx-
rounding the estuary of the river Vantaa, com-
prises extensive reed beds, shore meadows,            Design with All senses project’s Food Design
sturdy forests and open waters. There are also      -tours will be offered in summer 2011. The
the old fields, pastures and a rocky, wooded        product is applied as part of the World Design
ridge in the north.                                 Capital 2012 Design Program. During the route
  The old Town Bay is a perfect place for fishing   you will see urban gardening, day-to-day
and one of the Helsinki´s most popular fishing      design and enjoy Design menu prepared from
sites. sea-trout, seasalmon and whitewish are       local ingredients. (
planted in the river and estuary. A number of
these trout and salmon species return after a

May, 2011                                                                — 11 —
                               HERITAGE       S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

birMinGhaM – of CanalS,   England's ‘Second City’, often referred to as
                          ‘Brum’- Birmingham in the U.k., is the most
                          populous British city outside london with an

  balti anD JeWellery
                          abundance of things to see and do – historic
                          attractions, green spaces, music venues, the-
                          atres, art galleries, restaurants and a buzzing

                                     Green birMinGhaM
                            It evolved from a market town as early as
                          1166 when Peter de Birmingham rightfully
                          earned the charter to establish a market from
                          king Henry ii. There are quite a few interesting
                          and quirky facts about Birmingham that very
                          few are aware of or care to learn about.
                            Despite being a vibrant, constantly changing
                          city, Birmingham is one of the greenest cities
                          in the United kingdom and has plenty of parks
                          and open spaces to enjoy and to discover.
                          interestingly, it has more trees than Paris and
                          more parks than any other European city.
                            The Birmingham Botanical Gardens and
                          Glasshouses, a 15-acre oasis of delight, is the
                          home of the national Bonsai Collection and
                          an ideal place to soak up the tranquillity of a
                          perfectly English garden. likewise, the Can-
                          non Hill Park is one of Birmingham's premier
                          parks and has been awarded green Flag status.
                          With wonderful flowerbeds, lakes, pools and a
                          unique tree collection, it is easy to understand
                            What makes Birmingham even more beau-
                          tiful are its canals which incidentally surpass
                          those in Venice by about 22 miles. This is not
                          surprising because while Venice does have
                          a very dense network of canals, it is a tiny

May, 2011       — 12 —
                                                                                                           HERITAGE       S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

place compared to Birmingham. Birmingham’s
gas street Basin lies at the hub of England's
national waterways network. located along-
side the canal network in Brindleyplace, a
waterfront expansion built in the 1990’s, is the
national sea life Centre, home to the world's
first 360 degree transparent tubular underwa-
ter walk-through tunnel providing an opportu-
nity to come close to marine species.
  Birmingham’s canals played a very important
role in the industrial revolution of England
when the ‘city of thousand trades’ was also
known as ‘the workshop of the world’. Added
to this was the excellent railway network which
supported the trade. The Curzon street station
Building by Phillip Hardwick, as counterpart to
the notorious Euston Arch in london is one of
the important pieces of railway architecture
  of special mention is the jewellery indus-
try dating back to the early 18th century. The
historic Jewellery Quarter, the oldest work-
ing area of its kind in Europe has the largest
concentration of dedicated jewellers and was
described by English Heritage as a ' national
treasure'. Almost half of all the jewellery made
in the U.k. comes from this 250 year district,
home to around 400 specialist retailers selling
handcrafted jewellery, clocks and watches.
  st. Paul's square, the only remaining geor-                hoMe of inventorS                        street lighting. Among the city's notable scien-
gian architecture in Birmingham is located                                                            tists and inventors are matthew Boulton, pro-
here along with the Pen room museum and             Birmingham was home to the lunar society,
                                                   an informal learned society in the Midlands        prietor of the soho engineering works, sir Fran-
the royal Birmingham society of Artists. Bir-
mingham also has the largest Assay office in       Enlightenment, including industrialists, philos-   cis galton, originator of eugenics and important
the world which tests and hallmarks precious       ophers and intellectuals who met from 1765-        techniques in statistics, Joseph Priestley, who
metal items as required by the Hallmarking         1813 during the full moon, as the extra light      discovered oxygen and James Watt, inventor of
Act.                                               made the journey home easier in absence of         the steam engine. F.W lanchester built the first

May, 2011                                                            — 13 —
                                                                    HERITAGE       S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

            four-wheeled petrol driven car in Birmingham.            feStive anD literary City
            other notable inventions include: gas lighting
                                                                 Birmingham always boasted of a strong lit-
            (William murdoch), Brylcreem (by the County
                                                               erary heritage. samuel Johnson stayed here
            Chemical Company in Bradford street in 1928),
                                                               briefly, Arthur Conan Doyle worked in Aston
            coinage (mathew Boulton), the magnetron and
                                                               and W. H. Auden grew up in Harborne. J. r. r.
            lewis Paul and John Wyatt's first cotton roller    Tolkien was brought up here and many loca-
            spinning machine.                                  tions here as the moseley bog, sarehole mill
              The whistle used by kate Winslet in James        and Perrott's Folly (one of Birmingham’s old-
            Cameron’s film Titanic was based on the            est buildings from 1758 said to be the original
            original whistle used to save people's lives       inspiration for The Two Towers) inspired him.
            when the ship sunk. it was made by Birming-        American writer Washington irving spent many
            ham based J. Hudson & Company who are              years here producing several famous works as
            still trading today and are the world’s larg-      Bracebridge Hall, The Humorists and A medley
            est manufacturer of whistles. On the medi-         based on the Aston Hall.
            cal front, U.k.'s first ever hole-in-the-heart       Birmingham also has a hugely compelling
            operation was done at Birmingham Chil-             and eclectic cultural spectrum which hosts a
            dren's Hospital and the use of x-rays (radiog-     selection of festivals with music, dance and
            raphy) was pioneered by John Hall-Edwards          good old-fashioned family entertainment. The
            from Birmingham.                                   annual st. Patrick’s Day is the third biggest fes-
              Birmingham City Council is the biggest local     tival outside Dublin and new york dating back
            authority in Europe employing twice as many        to 1952 with the Irish coming to work here
            people as the European Commission. The             from the 1820’s.
            frieze above the Council House main door             Birmingham also hosts the largest Vaisakhi
            depicts Britannia rewarding the citizens of        celebration outside Asia to the beats of the
            Birmingham for their hard work. Birming-           Bhangra which is home to 90 per cent of
            ham’s Central library is Europe's largest public   Bhangra music originating in the U.k. inciden-
            library lending 8 million books annually. Cen-     tally, Birmingham is the centre for Asian music
            tenary square, adjacent to the library is made     industry in the U.k.
            from over half a million bricks, hand laid and       The world's oldest vocational dance school –
            designed to resemble a Turkish rug. interest-      Elmhurst school for Dance is in Birmingham.
            ingly, the Great Western Arcade, a mecca for       The city is also home to many famous rock
            shoppers, was built with an all glass dome         bands–Duran Duran, UB40, Black sabbath,
            which was destroyed in World War II. Roman-        etc., and often described as the birthplace of
            tically located on the canals, the mailbox and     heavy metal. odeon Cinema’s a British chain
            the Bull Ring are home to several designer         of cinema‘s and the largest in Europe had it
            stores, spas and salons.                           first theatre opened here in 1930. As regards

May, 2011                     — 14 —
                                                                                                        HERITAGE   S ur pr i s e s i n t h e Ci t y

sports, the first game of lawn tennis was played    with its plant in Aston, the Typhoo tea – the
in Edgbaston in 1865.                               first brand to be sold pre-packaged over the
  As the most multi-cultural city outside lon-      counter and Bird's custard powder formu-
don, gastronomic Birmingham too does not            lated and cooked by Alfred Bird in 1837.
lag behind with its platter of varied global cui-      Although Birmingham's industrial impor-
sine offered in its many cafés, bars, bistro’s,     tance has declined, it has developed into a
stylish restaurants and wayside eateries. The       national commercial centre, being named in
Balti (bucket in Urdu), a type of curry invented    2010 as the third-best place in U.k. for busi-
here in the 1970’s by the Pakistani immigrants,     ness. Birmingham is a national hub for confer-
has rapidly become a favourite, both within         ences, retail and events along with an estab-
and outside the community. The acclaimed            lished high-tech, r&D sector, supported by
'Balti Triangle’ with its 50 odd restaurants        three universities. it is also the second-largest
and takeaways is renowned for giant naans           city for economy in the U.k. Birmingham is
(leavened, oven-baked flatbread) served with        ranked as a gamma world city by the global-
a delicious combination of meat and veg-            ization and World Cities research network.
etables in sizzling spices. Birmingham is also      it is the fourth-most visited city by foreign-
                                                                                                              press release services
chocoholic heaven. Cadbury World provides           ers in the U.k., and is definitely one to feel
insight into the world famous chocolate and         at home – truly cosmopolitan and full of sur-
the world’s biggest Cadbury shop. The pack-         prises.
aging plant here wraps approximately 800
chocolate bars each minute. in this context,        By Ilika Chakravarty
george Cadbury’s Bourneville Estate (1894)          27, Hazeltree Croft, Acocks Green, B27 7XS, U.K.
deserves special mention for being one of the       Academy of Business Management, Tourism and
earliest planned communities focusing on the        Research, Hosur Road
social welfare of its workforce. Other famous       Bangalore, India
brands from Birmingham are the HP sauce   

May, 2011                                                                — 15 —

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Description: The Eiffel Tower, Berlin Wall or Helsinki’s beaches – all of these are the main tourism attractions most travelers are well aware of. If you think you have seen it all, read about some less known landmarks of Paris, Berlin, Helsinki and Birmingham and get ready for some surprises.