ODEON Cinema, Cologne ****

ODEON Cinema, Severinstrasse 81, Cologne

Often, small, non-franchise theaters are grungy, with uncomfortable seats, a small screen and horrible sound. Not so at the ODEON. The seats are very comfortable and seem relatively new. The screen is - for the size of the theater (I was in theater 2, there is also a theater 1) - excellent: it doesn't seem any smaller than in one of the huge theaters from somewhere in the middle of the room.
The sound is excellent; I'm not sure which system they use - it probably isn't 1.000 channel surround, but for the film I saw it was more than adequate.

The nice thing about the Odeon is: they show movies you'll likely not see in the big places, either because they are not mainstream or because they're independent pictures. Often, international films will be shown with the original soundtrack and subtitles, so your chances of seeing an English-language film here is quite high.

Another nicety is the café that is right inside the main foyer: it is comfortable and the prices are excellent. Speaking of prices: the theater ticket itself was cheaper than at one of the multiplexes. Unfortunately, they seem to have lost their liquor license, so you'll only get alcohol-free beer (which is good quality).

The only annoyance is that they don't have numbered seats; i.e.: you can pick any place to sit you like. This may be an issue if you're visiting a popular film in a group that wants to sit together (if you're late).

The area (Severinstrasse) is also a great place to visit, especially in the summer. It is one of the few areas in Cologne that has its own subculture. You'll find plenty of restaurants of every type within just a few minutes' walk from the Odeon.

Kingdom Center, Saudi Arabia *****

There are only two high-rise building in Riyadh, capital of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: The Al-Faisaliya Tower and Kingdom Center. The latter is the absolutely most beautiful building I’ve ever seen! You can also take an elevator to the top and enjoy an incredible view of Riyadh.

The building is plain awesome. You can’t help staring at it when you drive by. If you’re walking, your eyes keep getting diverted from whatever else you’re looking at to the organic shape set in concrete and glass...

Too poetic for you? If you ever get a chance to visit this building “live”, I guarantee it will have the same effect on you.

Some facts: the “Sky Bridge” (that’s the “handle bar” at the top) rises 297 meters above ground - it is 64 meters in length. The parabolic opening below it covers an area of 3,400 square meters. 200,000 people visit the Sky Bridge each year. The building looks just as spectacular at night; I’ll post a picture of it during my next visit to The Kingdom.