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Recife - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Recife

Recife is a large city with 3.8 million people in the metropolitan area and located in the North-East part of Brazil. There is a lot to like in Recife; it’s really a “place of the people” and is rich in culture. The city is super festive, the fans are very spirited and patriotic, and there’s no denying that it’s a really exciting experience to be in the midst of people who are so passionate about their sports. This is one of the most active football fan bases in the country.

 

 

Recife is almost equally passionate about its music scene, so be sure to take in some of the local talent while you are there. The most popular type of music is forro, a traditional Brazilian music and accompanying dance. It’s especially popular at the June Festivals, which take place across the country throughout the last half of June. Recife is a terrific destination for enjoying those parties and taking in the culture.

 

 

The city is situated right on the beach, so the other main thing to do here is enjoy the coast. Eating oysters on Boa Viagem beach is a must. This is the most popular tourist beach, with a long sandy stretch that offers lots of beach activities including volleyball and football. Other top Recife beaches are Piedade for surfing, Candeias for reef photography and the urban low-wave beach of Pina. Pernambuco, which is the Brazilian state that Recife is the capital of, has lots of other amazing beaches all up and down the Pernambuco coast. Recife is also considered South America’s shipwreck capital so it’s a haven for scuba divers.

 

Recife - 2014 World Cup

 

 

While in Recife, other places to check out include the historic architecture of the old town section (Recife Antigo), Saint Peter Cathedral, Malakoff Tower Cultural Centre and Museu do Estado de Pernambuco at Five Points Fort are a few of the other historic places that should be put on the itinerary. It’s also a good idea to visit Dois Irmaos Park for a day to check out the zoo, natural science museum, and botanical gardens that cover a large portion of the city.

 

 

Good to know: Unlike many of the other cities hosting World Cup 2014, Recife is expected to be rainy. Plan accordingly!

 

 

The local stadium for the Recife World Cup Games is a new stadium called, Arena Pernambuco. It’s located in the city of Sao Lourenco da Mata, which is about a forty-minute drive from downtown Recife. Arena Pernambuco is like a small town itself. It has 42 bars as well as restaurants, shopping, a cinema and even residential units. It is built with sustainability in mind and features some of the best solar power details of any World Cup stadium. It is located right next to the Capibaribe River.

 

Arena Pernambuco - 2014 World Cup

By Portal da Copa/ME [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

This stadium seats more than 46,000 people. It is recognized as offering a really close proximity between the public and the field, closer than most of the other World Cup 2014 host stadiums. That should make games especially fun to watch here! The stadium opened last year and was one of the stadiums to host the 2013 Confederations Cup.

 

 

Iran - 2014 World Cup

Iran And Nigeria Draw

The Iran/Nigeria matchup produced the World Cup’s first draw, and first game without a goal as well.

 

Although it finished in a 0-0 draw, each side produced some chances to score. Iran had the best chance in the 34th minute where a great header off a corner kick by Reza Ghoochannejhad was equally matched with a great save by Vincent Enyeama.

 

While no team was able to muster much of an offence, they each get a point which currently puts them in second place in the group.

 

 

The Top 5 Locations For Celebrity Weddings

While some celebrities still rent out medieval Italian castles for their over-the-top weddings, many others are opting for family homes and traditional hometown services, and some just do the deed in secret.
 
Talk show host Katie Couric was one celebrity who chose an at-home affair. She married her boyfriend of two years, John Molner, a financier, after a two-year engagement and held the June ceremony at their residence in East Hampton, N.Y.
 

Image Source: Today.com, Brian Dorsey Studios
 
 
When Emily Maynard and Tyler Johnson tied the knot, the surprise June wedding of the former “Bachelorette” star was held at his parents’ South Carolina farm.
 

Image Source: People.com
 
 
Mark Webber, of “For a Good Time Call,” married his fiance, Teresa Palmer, in a private house in Mexico just before Christmas last year, according to Us magazine, although it wasn’t clear whose home it was.
 

Image Source: E! Online
 
 
Of course, not all celebrities use their homes, one couple choosing the New York Public Library for their May wedding.
 


Image Source: New York Public Library
 
 
The ceremony for interior designer and TV host, Nate Berkus, and his partner, Jeremiah Brent, was reported to be a gala affair with Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz in attendance and the Grammy-award winning singer, Estelle, who performed during the service.
 
Some stars, though, like Adam Brody and Leighton Meester (who play Seth Cohen in The O.C. and Blair Waldolf in Gossip Girl and got legally hooked earlier this year) are getting married in secret in a bid to avoid paparazzi and publicity. Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas from “Once Upon a Time” is another set of co-stars who wed on the sly, while George Clooney’s ex, Stacy Keibler, chose a beachside ceremony in Mexico for her hush-hush wedding to Jared Pobre in March.
 
It seems impossible to have a wedding at Disneyland without the world knowing, but “Without a Trace’s” Poppy Montgomery managed it, wedding boyfriend Shawn Sanford there early this year, with all their children in attendance.
 

Image Source: Daily Mail
 
 
When it’s not a private family affair, there is still one top location for see-and-be-seen celebrity weddings: the fifteenth-century Odescalchi Castle, in the small town of Bracciano near Rome, Italy. From Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to Petra Ecclestone and James Stunt, the well-heeled have been booking the stunning castle for their multi-million dollar weddings.
 
Odescalchi-Castle-weddings-in-Bracciano
Image Source: Italian Lakes Wedding
 
 

Call of Duty

Call of Duty is one of the most popular video game franchises ever. As of March 2015, over 175 million copies have been sold, with millions of online players logging in every day.

Call of Duty – Infinity Ward, 2003


Developed in 2003 by Infinity Ward, the very first Call of Duty game ran on the Quake III Arena engine. The game’s opening level has you storming the beaches of normady ala Saving Private Ryan. From infiltrating an enemy U-Boat to crouching around bomb-laden buildings of an occupied France, the game was an instant classic, popularizing WWII-themed first-person shooters.

Call of Duty: Finest Hour


Finest Hour was meant to be a kind of retelling of the first CoD, featuring an all new storyline with new missions similarly following the perspective of the allied forces during WWII. Music fans might also be interested to know that AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson does the voice of Sergeant Starkey, one of the British commandos in the game.

Call of Duty 2 – Infinity Ward, 2005


Introducing regenerating health, warning icons for nearby live grenades and character viewpoints of individual soldiers – the first sequel in the Call of Duty franchise established tropes that are still used today. The game was met with wide acclaim from fans and critics.

Call of Duty 3 – Treyarch, 2006


The first CoD game not by Infinite Ward was also the first console-exclusive game in the series. For a game that only took 8 months to make, it garnered further success for the franchise, although the Wii version developed by Exact Entertainment had more criticisms.

Modern Warfare – Infinity Ward, 2007


This was a landmark release in CoD’s evolution. Doing away with the WWII theme, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare thrust players into a revisionist history. It features all new locales, like the Middle East, United Kingdom, Russia and Ukraine. The game was a technical achievement, utilizing motion-capture technology from real marines and sophisticated A.I. for NPCs. It also introduced the new experience point system for online play.

World at War – Treyarch, 2008


A return to the WWII setting (namely the pacific theatre), World at War has become a fan favorite. It utilized an enhanced engine from Modern Warfare, which added many new elements, like the ability to set objects ablaze with a flamethrower. It also featured the “zombie mode,” which has since become one of the most popular multiplayer modes in the franchise.

Modern Warfare 2


Selling 4.7 million copies in just 24 hours, this title exemplified CoD’s claim as perhaps the most popular franchise in video gaming. The game is praised for its in-depth multiplayer component, of which you’ll still find an avid online community playing today.

Black Ops – Treyarch, 2010


Of course, the first Black Ops would end up crushing this record, selling over 5.6 million copies in its first day of release. It also introduced a further slew of new weapons, placing players in the shoes of special forces operatives that can wield crossbows, ballistic knives and even reconnaissance aircraft.

Modern Warfare III – Infinity Ward, 2011


The final installment in the Modern Warfare saga, it sold a staggering 6.5 million copies in the US and UK alone. For all its hype, critics were disappointed with the single-player campaign, citing the final installment of the Modern Warfare storyline as “forgettable,” although most praised the hugely popular multiplayer component.

Black Ops II Treyarch, 2012


Besides being yet another huge commercial success, Black Ops II introduced futuristic weaponry into the CoD realm, including drones and combat robots. The campaign also showed some new innovations, like player choice, multiple endings, side missions and being able to choose weapon loadouts before playing a level. The updated zombie mode also featured new modes in addition to the original survival mode. The multiplayer was also significantly tweaked, making in-game rewards more achievement-based and giving players the option to utilize a match-making system to pit them against players with similar skill levels.

Strike Team – The Blast Furnace, 2013


Developed for iOS and Android devices, Strike Team made significant changes to the CoD gameplay, allowing players to switch out of their first-person viewpoint to an arial, third-person viewpoint akin to a drone perspective. The game makes clever use of the touch-screen mechanics inherent on those devices, giving players the ability to command their troops with just a few simple swipes and gestures on the screen, while the left and right sides act as virtual analog sticks.

Ghosts – Infinity Ward, 2013


Ghosts introduced a new alternate timeline, where the Middle East has been wiped out by nuclear warfare and a new global superpower has begun swiping through South America. The campaign received a lackluster response from critics, but many players consider the multiplayer to be one of the finest CoD packages to date. The new extinction mode has four players working to gether to fight aliens in base-defending, survival-style gameplay. The online multiplayer was overhauled, with a litany of new game types and revisions.

Advanced Warfare – Sledgehammer Games, 2014


A far more futuristic rendition of the CoD verse, Advanced Warfare’s campaign mode featured a highly cinematic storyline, which included veteran actors like Kevin Spacey and Troy Baker. This was met with praise from citics, who were also impressed by the new multiplayer features. Players can try out various weapon variations and take part in daily challenges. Completing these challenges earns them supply drops, which offer random prizes and extra experience points.

The Next Call of Duty


Speculation is a fickle thing. With a franchise as far-reaching as CoD, a Black Ops III or a just another sequel to World at War, Ghosts or Advanced Warfare are likely. With the recent release of Advanced Warfare though, it’s still a little early to search for clues as to what’s next.

 
 

Belo Horizonte - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon in English) is the capital city of Minas Gerais, a Brazilian state situated in the southeastern region of the South American country. With a population of 2,479,175 as of 2013, Belo is not only Gerais’ most populous city, but is also the 6th most populous city in Brazil. The city was inaugurated on December 12th, 1897, when it was known as the Minas City (Cidade de Minas). The current name was definitively adopted in 1901.

 

All-round city

 

Surrounded by the Serra do Curral mountain range, Belo Horizonte is nicknamed “Garden City” for its status as one of Brazil’s most arboreal cities. The city is a stage for major cultural spectacles and its calendar is always filled with excellent events offering programming for different tastes. There are 3 universities, numerous libraries, and a historical museum. It is also a reference in both business & health tourism and according to the International Congress and Conference Association’s (ICCA), ranks 7th among the Brazilian cities that receive the most international events.

 

Belo Horizonte serves as the distribution & processing center of an endowed agricultural and mining region as well as the nucleus of a fast growing industrial complex. The chief manufactures here are steel, steel products and textiles, but gem stones, gold and manganese mined from the surrounding regions are processed in Belo. When it comes to tourism, this Brazilian city attracts people both from Brazil and around the world. Moreover, the climate is cool and refreshing since it sits at 850m above sea level.

 

Food options

 

Belo preserves the traditional mineira culinary tradition that features simple ingredients and great creativity with some historical aspect in it. One can find typical food options, regional drinks and excellent international cuisine ranging from Italian, Japanese, and French to Spanish Cuisine. All these are available in the diverse restaurants that maintain high standards in customer service. For those who prefer the local gastronomy, they can pick from tasty coffee, artisanal beers, a sugarcane alcohol called cachga or Minas cheese known as queijo minas. In fact, Belo is known as pao de queijo (The Land of Cheese Bread).

 

Things to do in Belo Horizonte

 

While the city is mainly associated with sports (in particular soccer), it has more to offer visitors in terms of nightlife, sightseeing and outdoor activities. Below are some of the top things to do in Belo.Visit the Sao Francisco de Assis Church (Igreja Sao Francisco de Assis). For a small fee, visitors can get to see this unique church which boasts of a bold and authentic design. Its beauty is further enhanced by the stunning paintings on the external & internal panels by Portinari as well as the surrounding gardens that were designed by Burle Max.

 

Visit the Zoo-Botanical Foundation of Belo Horizon (Zoologico – Fundagao Zoobotanica de Belo Horizonte).

 

One of Latin America’s most extensive zoos, the Zoo-Botanical Foundation is home to the first ever butterfly sanctuary in the region. There’s also a center in the zoo that’s dedicated toward the conservation & preservation of species under threat of extinction.

 

Go shopping at Shazam

 

For comic fans or those looking for a souvenir to take back home, Shazam offers a unique and shopping experience and is a must visit! It’s a shop located at the Maleta building and has several vintage book shops in addition to its bars.

 

Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto (Mineirao).

 

Mineirao - 2014 World Cup

By Copa2014.gov.br (Brazilian Government) (Copa2014.gov.br Link da imagem [1]) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

With about 72,000-seater capacity, Mineirao is one of the largest stadiums in Brazil and is mostly used for soccer matches. The full name of the stadium is Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto which originates from Jose de Magalhes Pinto, the Governor of Minas Gerais between 1961 & 1966 when the stadium was built. It will play host to 6 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, including a semi-final match. At its opening, Mineirao had almost double its current capacity and in fact it recorded a 132,834 attendance during a 1997 match between local club Cruzeiro and Villa Nova. Its capacity has been gradually cut down for safety reasons.

 

Venue for concerts

 

Since its construction, Mineirao has hosted several music events albeit just a few of them. They include the performances by Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath and Alex Brasil.

 

Getting to Mineirao

 

The stadium is just 6.5-miles from the center of Belo Horizonte which will provide the proper match day feel. There are buses or taxis that provide transport to the stadium, although these may sometimes be congested!

 

What to eat

 

Minas Gerais offers both locals and visitors a rich cuisine to choose from. Mineiros really love their food and it’s therefore little wonder that traditional dishes are a main feature in most of the excellent restaurants. They include cheese bread (pao de queijo), roasted young lamb (Leitao a pururuca), a combination of beans and vegetables (feijao a tropeira) and tutu a mineira, but you can also choose from a variety of foreign cuisine.

 

 

Chile - 2014 World Cup

Chile Defeats Australia

Chile found the back of the net early and never trailed. They scored their first 12 minutes into the match and then their second only 70 seconds later.

 

Australia scored their first in the 35th minute, and used the momentum they built to keep pressure on the Chileans well into the second half.

 

Chile finally put it out of reach with another goal in injury time.

 

 

Greece: Ten Things To Know Before You Go

Greece is a beautiful city located in the southeastern Europe. It has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and is the world’s 11th longest coastline. It’s good news for hikers that 80% of Greece is mountainous, of which Mount Olympus is the highest. The cultural and technological achievements of Greece have greatly influenced the world. Incredibly true, visiting Greece is like going to Disneyland for the first time! It’s beautiful, magical, and romantic with great places to visit with tasty cuisines and much more.
 
Before you pack your bags for Greece, it’s important to know a few helpful facts. These 10 things will make your first trip enjoyable and easy.
 

  1. Packing

1-Greece-Packing 

What you take along with you is really important. Just be basic. Some of the essentials you should carry are:

  • Light clothing
  • Walking shoes
  • Tickets
  • Passport
  • Copy of your visa (if applicable)
  • Enough cash / debit cards
  • Medicine
  • Sunglasses
  • Contact lenses (if your vision requires).

 
Note that your clothing will vary depending on what time of the year you plan to travel. The climate of Greece is primarily Mediterranean that features mild, wet winters, and hot, dry summers.
 

  1. Layovers

2-Greece-Layover 

It’s good to keep in mind that there is no traveling with layovers. So, ensure that you have got all the things sorted out for a short and long layover at the airport. If you are traveling with children, make sure that you carry their toys or portable games. However, you as an adult can equally enjoy your time as shopping at the airport is one of the activities you can look out for.
 

  1. Keep Track of The Flight Delays

3-Greece-Delays 

Keep a eye on your flight, which gate you should board at, and several other details. Though delays in flights and fluctuations of flight timings have become a routine in most countries, various airlines provide you with alternatives as well. Make sure you explore about these alternatives sooner rather the later.
 

  1. Pay With Cash

5-Greece-Cash 

Payment is one very important thing to keep in mind for a safe and happy trip. First it’s important to know which currency in being used in Greece, which is Euros. Hotels will usually accept credit/debit cards, but most other places may not. Thus, keep some cash on hand. If you don’t feel comfortable with keeping cash on you while traveling, go to the nearest ATM machine to withdraw cash in Greece. It will appear on your bank statement as the US Dollar equivalent of your Euro withdrawals – just be careful of extra service charges when you do so.
 

  1. Hotel Rooms

6-Greece-Hotels 

The hotel rooms are much smaller when compared to the rooms in the U.S. This is because every country has its own culture and living style. Greece share a great pride when it comes charm, uniqueness, and cleanliness.
 

  1. Bathrooms

7-Greece-Bathrooms 

99% of the bathrooms here don’t allow the flushing of toilet paper. So the main hassle is to learn what and how to flush. One reason to explain this issue is that Greece is an old, old country, and their sewage and septic systems are highly challenged.
 

  1. Churches and Beaches

8-Greece-Beaches 

It’s usually a good idea to dress somewhat conservatively if you’re planning on visiting churches and chapels. On the other hand, going to the beach is a totally different story. The majority of people, including females, usually go topless as clothing is optional at the beach. So bring your sunblock, but don’t forget to bring beach shoes because the beach is not sandy so that means you can definitely pick up some pebbles as a souvenir.
 

  1. Animal Population

9-Greece-Animals 

In Greece, you’ll find plenty of street cats and dogs. But not to worry, they’ll be taken care of by the Local Dog Refuge and other similar organizations.
 

  1. Smoking

10-Greece-Smoking 

At least 65% of Greece’s population smokes. If you’re a smoker, you will have almost every place to smoke and still enjoy the beauty of Greece.
 

  1. And finally…

11-Greece-Food 

One thing you aren’t supposed to worry about is food. You’ll get a great combination of breads, salads, and dips.
 
So, what are you waiting? Pack your bags and make Greece your next destination to visit and spend some quality time with your loved ones!

 

 

Rio de Janeiro - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is probably the most popular tourist destination in Brazil. It’s the capital city of a state by the same name and one of the largest cities in The Americas. It has a population of more than six million. More than that, it’s got a variety of popular destinations including the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana and the modern world wonder, Christ the Redeemer. There are a lot of amazing things to see here, making it a favored place to see the World Cup 2014 games live.

 

Christ the Redeemer - 2014 World Cup

 

 

Fun fact: Brazil lost the first World Cup in 1950 on its home turf in a 2-1 upset against Uruguay in a match known ever since as “The Maracanazo.”

 

Rio de Janeiro - 2014 World CupYou’ll be able to see Christ the Redeemer from various spots throughout the city. If you have a chance, though, you should really hike up the mountain and see its impressive majesty up close. You’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the city below when you reach the top. Christ the Redeemer is located on Corcovado Mountain in Tijuca National Park. The park is also home to Cascatinha Waterfall, the Mayrink Chapel with beautiful mural artwork and several other attractions. However, if you just want to get great views of the city with less of a workout then head over to Sugarloaf Mountain where you can ride a cable car up to the small village of Morro da Urca at the top.

 

Acai Berry Drink - 2014 World CupSome of the other attractions that you’ll want to hit on your Rio de Janeiro trip include the many museums (especially the modern art museum), the zoo and botanical gardens, and the Ilha Fiscal castle. Samba is the local dance and there are plenty of opportunities to take lessons or see shows. You can get around by taxi, bus, subway and scooter. Rental cars aren’t generally recommended unless you plan to take day trips out of the city. You can also take a ferry out to the island of Paqueta in Guanabara Bay to enjoy some relaxing sunshine away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

 

A nice treat to enjoy on a hot day in Rio de Janeiro is a frozen acai berry drink topped with guarana syrup. You can find this at various stands throughout the city, especially at the beaches. Chilled coconut water is another good alternative. As for food, you’ll be able to get a range of different meals at restaurants for all budgets here in this large city. Go to at least one churrasco to enjoy the grilled meat that Brazil and Argentina are both famous for!

 

Brazil’s stadium, Estádio do Maracanã, is a famous World Cup stadium since it was the first to host the inaugural games in 1950. Back then, the stadium accommodated almost 200,000 people, making it the world’s largest stadium. Since then it’s been revamped, though, and brought down to a more modern size. Renovations began after the 50th anniversary and new renovations took place more recently before the World Cup.

 

Maracana Stadium - 2014 World Cup

 

Nevertheless, it still seats more than 78,000 people, making it the largest stadium in Brazil and the largest host stadium for World Cup 2014. The stadium will also host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The historic façade of the building remains intact but the inside is all brand new with a massive array of LED lights, 360 cameras for video display and a new fiberglass roof with water sustainability features.

 

The Maracanã stadium, which is officially named Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, but is always called by its nickname, is located within walking distance of the Rio de Janeiro Zoo and the National Museum of Brazil. The stadium itself is considered a major tourist attraction of the city as well.

 

 

Jennifer Lopez - 2014 World Cup

Will Jennifer Lopez Perform In Brazil?

At first, it was reported that Jennifer Lopez had to cancel her appearance at the opening ceremonies at the 2014 World Cup due to unspecified production issues.

A rep later reached out to PEOPLE and stated that these reports were premature.

With the World Cup only 2 days away, we hope that she can work out any scheduling conflicts. She will perform alongside Pitbull and Claudia Leitte.