Category Archives: International Travel

Do you want to see the greater world? Do you dream of going to beautiful places you see on TV and in movies or read in books? International travel is taking your travel life to whole new level. It costs more money and time and it involves prior planning, visa, deciding whether you want to go solo or with friends or family. There is a lot and rightfully, the payoff is also many times more. More fun, more exposure, experiencing new cultures and seeing a whole different landscape, people and much more.

8 Destinations That Will Make You Spend Christmas Away From Home

Winter is on its way and Santa is ready to fulfill your wishes. If you are thinking of traveling and if you want to spend Christmas away from home, then read on.

Christmas season delights all. Around the world, this time of the year brings happiness and joy. They say it is best to celebrate Christmas at home. But away from your comfortable home, there are places where you will love spending the Christmas holidays. Below are some gorgeous pictures of Christmassy destinations. Merry Christmas!

MALTA tree-christmas-balls-decoration PD

The wonderful exhibit of cute cribs in the Maltese islands will make you want to see baby Jesus soon. A colorful display of festivities accompanied by melodious carol singing will fill your heart with joy. You can visit the St John’s Cathedral, where you will come across the carollers. Not only do the carols echo through the city, the light decorations on Republic street make this city look like a bride ready for her groom.

BARCELONA

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You should, at least once in your life, watch the Three Kings parade through the city of Barcelona, Spain. It is a Christmas custom that the city has followed for many years. The Kings walk up to the Mayor of the City, who offers them the keys to the city. Be a part of the enthusiastic ceremony and cheer while the canons fire. But like any other Christmas destination, all museums and shops will have holidays on Christmas. Don’t worry about starving; the restaurants will stay open.

BATH, ENGLAND

Coventry Street, London – Aberdeen Steak Houses – Christmas decorations By Elliott Brown CC BY 2.0

While many people chose to stay home and others fly to cities to have a blast during Christmas, you can go to the quaint town of Bath, England. It is an enchanting getaway from busy city streets. Oh, it will get busy here too. Just wait till the wooden chalets open, and you see the exquisite items on display. Under the shadow of Bath Abbey, the shops lit with lanterns sell Christmas goods. It does not end with shopping here; you can also see the “Light Switching festival.”

NUREMBERG, GERMANY

Maybe you want to eat delicious Bratwurst or go shopping in Nuremberg Christkind market to gift your loved ones something special. The candlelight on the Georgian setting of the town will take you back to medieval times. If luck favors you, then you will witness the stagecoach that rides through the market.

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND

We move away from the traditional atmosphere of cities and go back to a rustic environment because this is where you can feel the true essence of Christmas. When you see the pretty little huts dotted along the streets of Reykjavik in Iceland, you’ll want to know stories that each hut hides. But you cannot barge into someone’s house. So we recommend you visit the Christmas market. It sells local handicrafts and food as well.

VALKENBURG, NETHERLANDS

Do you want to see a real sleigh? Forget about going to a club in a limo for Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

What about a sleigh and room full of presents? Valkenburg in Holland is the most Christmassy that a town can ever get. The Velvet Cave changes to a Christmas market. It is nothing like your typical mall. The walls display impressive mural paintings which act as a background for the beautiful stalls. There is also a chapel where you can offer your prayers.

SANTA CLAUS

In Indiana, every day is Christmas. Kiddos who want Santa to fill up their stocking send their wish list to Santa Claus. With only 3000 residents, this little town in Indiana is the perfect setting to enjoy a cozy Christmas.

LAPLAND, FINLAND 

Christmas is incomplete without gingerbread cookies. Take your family with you to this Christmas capital in the north. You can write your wishes down with a traditional quill. And your kiddos can take admission exams for elf school. Nothing quite compares with the bells jingling in the freezing northern capital while you celebrate with your family!

 

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10 Destination Ideas for a Christmas Vacation in Europe

Europe is a popular travel destination and has a lot to offer.

However, if you are already fed up with the crowds in big European tourist centers, such as Paris, Berlin, Rome, Venice or Amsterdam, try going there in winter for a change, during the low season. Or just choose less popular, but still magnificent cities of

Or just choose less popular, but still magnificent cities of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe. In fact, Christmas is a great time to try something new, don’t you think? Here are ten less famous European destinations, which become just magical during the Christmas time.

Prague, Czech Republic

If you are not afraid of Prague’s chilly winters, you have a great chance to enjoy its famous Christmas markets, concerts, castles and underground restaurants. Even the most jaded travelers won’t be able to resist the charms of the city.

Prague is famous for its magnificent gothic architecture and unique folkloric traditions. You’ll also be glad to know that the prices in the capital of Czech Republic are very reasonable. So if you are a traveler on a budget, you shouldn’t be afraid to spend too much in this medieval city.

Innsbruck, Austria

While Innsbruck is undeservedly avoided by travelers during the summer season, in winter, this town on the Inn River becomes crowded with skiers and other winter sports lovers. Innsbruck is crowned with the Austrian Alps, offers numerous ski resorts, winter attractions and all-inclusive packages for the best Christmas vacation in the Old World.

Vienna, Austria

In Vienna, you’ll have a delightful old-fashioned Christmas, with the smell of mulled wine and hot chocolate. There will be magnificent holiday decorations on imperial architecture, ice skating rinks, and outdoor Christmas markets.

Don’t miss the Vienna Boy’s Choir performance. Or visit one the world’s most famous Viennese Christmas Balls. The capital of Austria really gives you an opportunity to make yourself feel like a 19th-century aristocrat, waltzing to the famous works of Johan Straus in a real imperial ballroom.

Budapest, Hungary

Couples skating hand-in-hand, families having fun, clouds of breath in the frosty air, you won’t find a more picture-perfect Christmas holiday anywhere other thanBudapest. The capital of Hungary boasts an enormous outdoor skating rink in the picturesque park Városligeti Műjégpálya.

And if you get cold, the numerous thermal baths of Budapest are at your service!

The city is also number one in the best affordable destinations in Europe list. This is another compelling reason to visit this beautiful city.

 

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Valkenburg, Netherlands

Christmas Shop in Amsterdam near the Flower Market By Tobias Niepel CC BY 2.0

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

However, if you are looking for new impressions and one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts, Valkenburg is a place for you.

The city is home to the oldest and the largest subterranean Christmas market in Europe. It is located in a labyrinth of underground caves. Underneath the town, you will find sculptures, an 18th-century chapel, mural drawings of Roman times and even Santa himself. The market works from mid-November until just before Christmas. During these weeks, the whole town transforms into a glittering winter wonderland.

Riga, Latvia

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The popular Riga Christmas market in the Town Hall Square offers not just souvenirs, Christmas gifts, and locally crafted items, but also numerous interesting events for both children and adults.

In the heart of Latvia’s capital, you will find a carousel of wooden figures, riding ponies, and horse-drawn carriages. Children will also enjoy the animal corner, with live sheep and rabbits, and the cat house with habitats of local animal shelter. Of course, you shouldn’t miss an organ concert in the famous Riga Cathedral (Rīgas Doms), as it is a truly fabulous performance!

Tallinn, Estonia

The capital of Estonia is known for its Christmas spirit and the medieval Old Town, whuch is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The world’s first Christmas tree was set up in Tallinn in 1441. Nowadays, on Town Hall Square, you will find not only the famous tree but also numerous little huts selling their goods, handcrafters at work, snow sculptures, national foods and drinks and a mini-zoo.

Copenhagen, Denmark

For a fairytale European Christmas, you can’t choose a destination more magical than the hometown of Hans Christian Andersen.

Of course, you can visit the famous and always crowded monument of the Little Mermaid.

But forget about it for the rest of Christmas vacation and just enjoy your time in the capital of Denmark. Enjoy the fairy streets and houses of old Copenhagen. Enjoy the warm, cozy cafes with big windows and flurrying snow outside. 

And in the heart of the city, there is a Tivoli amusement park, which transforms into a really magical place around Christmas, with illuminations warming the heart and hot mulled wine warming the body.

Lapland, Finland

What is a Christmas without Santa? And where to look for Santa, if not at his house? You will probably be surprised to find that there is a place in the world where Santa Claus lives.

It is a small town of Rovaniemi in Finland, the official hometown of Santa. It is a wonderful place, and not only for children. For the new experience, you can choose to sleep in an igloo hotel or try fly fishing. If your budget is not limited, you can even go on a husky safari. A 2-hour ride will cost you around 150 euro, but it is definitely worth it. At the same time, your children can make cookies with Mrs. Claus or enroll in Elf School. Rovaniemi is a perfect destination for family Christmas vacation!

Reykjavik, Iceland

Although Reykjavik may be too cold and dark in winter, it is still worth visiting during Christmas time. The capital of Iceland offers its winter visitors not just the Yule Town Christmas market, filled with holiday decorations, treats, and gifts, but also unique holiday traditions, such as the 13 Yuletide Lads. And, of course, it’s your chance to see the northern lights, a marvelous natural phenomenon which you will not soon forget.

 

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Top 10 Free Things to Do in Paris City

Paris is considered to be one of the most expensive tourist cities in the world. However, even when you are in Paris on a budget, there are a lot of free things to do and places you can visit.

Walk Along the Banks of the Seine

The Seine is like the soul of Paris. It was immortalized in a variety of poems, novels, and paintings.

Even now, if the weather is nice, you can meet plenty of artists on Pont des Arts Bridge, near the Louvre, who come there to capture the beautiful scenery of the river.

Take a slow walk and admire the view of many architectural and historical sites, situated along the banks of Seine.

Visit Montmartre

Montmartre is like a whole different world inside Paris. It is a favorite of artistic people. You can have your portrait painted, buy a retro postcard with the view of Paris, enjoy the beauty of Sacré Coeur Basilica or enjoy the view of Paris from the bird’s eye.

If you stroll in one of the side streets, you might be lucky enough to find a unique monument, sign or place, which Montmartre is famous for.

Go On A Free Tour

In many famous tourist cities, there are local enthusiasts, ready to show their city to visitors for free. Paris is no exception and, if you are a tourist on a budget, you should not miss this opportunity.

Note: Tours meet at the fountain on Place St. Michel at 11 am and 1 pm daily.

Explore the Parks

Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris by David McSpadden CC BY 2.0

Paris is famous for its parks and gardens, and not only Versailles. Jardin de Luxembourg is probably the most famous garden in Paris, and it also hosts the beautiful Palais du Luxembourg, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.

Just in front of the Louvre, you will find Jardin du Tuileries. Right underneath the famous Eiffel Tower, you can walk along the Parc du Champ de Mars.

Also, don’t forget about the Promenade Plantee, a truly unique elevated park, which used to be a railway line many years ago. Now it is a beautiful garden, which also gives you a fabulous view of the neighborhoods, thanks to its height.

Visit the Marvelous Notre Dame de Paris

If you are a budget tourist, you will be very pleased to know that a famous Notre Dame Cathedral is free to enter. Immortalized by Victor Hugo, it is known as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world.

The Gothic look of the Cathedral gives you a stunning view from the outside. And while inside, don’t forget to check out a collection of sculptures and the magnificent stained windows.

The Sparkling Eiffel Tower

The most recognized sight of Paris attracts millions of tourists every year. You can get a fabulous look at the city from the upper levels of the tower. However, you will have to wait in a 3-4 hour line and pay a minimum of 15 euros.

So, we suggest to save your time and money and look at the tower from the ground. 324 meters high, it looks impressive enough even during the daytime.

While at night, when it sparkles with millions of lights, it is simply breathtaking and looks like a big openwork piece of jewelry. You can also enjoy a magnificent light show, which lasts for five minutes and starts every hour, until 1 pm.

Make the Most of the FREE First Sundays

If you are a traveler on a budget, but you still want to get into famous museums, such as the Louvre or Musee d’Orsee, try coming to Paris during the first Sunday of the month.

This day, the most popular museums in the city are free to enter. However, you may want to come early in the morning, if you want to get in before evening. These free days attract even more visitors than the regular days, and you can wait in line for several hours.

Listen to the Organ in St. Eustache Church

If you are into music, visit a free organ concert at Saint-Eustache Church. It starts every Sunday at 5.30 pm.

Note: As a bonus, the organ in this church is one of the biggest in the world; it has eight thousand pipes.

Visit a Fashion Show at Galeries Lafayette

Galeries Lafayette, the most famous shopping center of Paris and probably one of the most famous in the world, can be beyond your means if you are on a small budget.

However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a fashion show, which is held in-store every Friday afternoon. Isn’t this a great way to get a taste of la mode in the world’s fashion capital?

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Top 7 Free Things to Do in Bangkok

Although Thailand is not a very expensive country for travelers, it’s still a pleasure for a budget tourist to find free things to do in Bangkok. Here is our list of the top 7 free things you can only do in Bangkok.

Visit Lumpini Park

Suan Lumpini By Nik Cyclist CC BY 2.0

Lumpini Park also called the Green Lungs of Bangkok is a place for all ages and social statuses. While walking through the park, you can meet couples in love resting near the lake, nine-to-five office workers coming to get some fresh air and physical activity, parents having fun with their kids, seniors practicing tai chi, and many other people.

You should check out the park’s indigenous flora and the water monitor lizards. You can also engage in some recreational activities which the park offers, such as rowing, paddleboats or using the outdoor gym.

Watch Traditional Puppet Show

Flickr By Abhisit Vejjajiva CC BY 2.0

200 years ago wooden houses along the canal, such as the Artist’s House, were a common thing. Today, they are relatively rare. In addition, the Baan Silapin (Artist’s House) is rather difficult to find. However, it is worth searching for, as you are in for a unique experience.

Every day, except Wednesday, at 2 pm the traditional Thai puppet show starts there. During the show, the intricately-made puppets are being manipulated by several artists, dressed in black. Every time a show takes place there are no empty chairs.

Plus, people even sit on the floor around the stage. Each day artists tell a different story based on Thai folklore and mythology.

Learn How to Meditate

Bangkok is widely famous for its temples, which attract both religious visitors and architecture lovers. Popular temples of Bangkok, such as Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho require an admission fee to enter.

However, Wat Mahathat is free. It is one of the oldest temples in the city and hosts Thailand’s largest monastic order. It also offers free meditation classes in English starting at 7 am, 1 pm, and 6 pm daily.

Attend a Muay Thai Fight

Thailand is very proud of its Thai boxing culture heritage, and it is a very popular sport nowadays. At Lumpini Stadium watching Muay Thai may cost you around a thousand baht. But if you are a tourist on a small budget, head towards MBK Shopping Centre where it’s free. MBK Fight Nights are held from 6 pm until 8.30 pm every Wednesday.

Thai Dancing at Erawan Shrine

Dance offering at Erawan Shrine, Bangkok By Ninara CC BY 2.0

The Erawan Shrine is located in the corner of the Erawan Shopping Mall. The mall is right in the middle of Siam, Bangkok’s famous shopping district. It has a little gold statue surrounded by yellow flowers. People come here to make offerings and pay their respects.

However, the main attraction of Erawan Shrine is surely its performances which are held several times a day. Thai classical dancers make graceful moves, which represent people’s thanks to the gods. If you get lucky, you can even see the Chinese Lion Dance alive.

Visit Museums for FREE

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Bangkok offers its visitors a wide variety of different museums, and some of them are free to enter! Some of the most famous free museums are the Royal Elephant Museum, Corrections Museum, which was once a prison, and the Bangkokian Museum.

The Bangkokian Museum is entirely obligatory to visit if you want to understand the meaning of being Thai displayed in numerous colorful exhibitions.

Visit Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Male Golden Birdwing By Troides aeacus CC BY-SA 2.0

It is an entirely magnificent place, located in the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden in Rot Fai Park. The park is home to five hundred different species of butterflies and other insects. You should keep your eyes open and cameras on so you do not miss an incredible photo opportunity!

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Top 5 Free Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is a colorful modern city, with huge shopping malls, museums, parks, skyscrapers and an active nightlife. It may seem that you will need a lot of money to enjoy Kuala Lumpur, but that’s not true.

Tourists with a smaller budget can still enjoy the pleasures of this glittering metropolis because there are many free things to do in Kuala Lumpur.

ENJOY THE FREE WALKING TOUR

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As many other touristic cities of the world, the capital of Malaysia offers its visitors free walking tours, guided by locals. So put on comfortable shoes and explore the city for free. Usual trails include Merdeka Square, Kampung Baru, Malay village and Brickfields, the Indian district.

There are, however, two different types of tours. The first one, the Dataran Merdeka Heritage Tour, meets at Kuala Lumpur City Gallery every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 9 am. The second one, Kampong Bharu Cultural Tour, starts at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 4.30 pm. A tour usually takes 2.5 hours, and it is recommended to book in advance.

Related: How to Get Around in Kuala Lumpur

TAKE A BUS

There are four free bus lines in Kuala Lumpur, running around Central Business District and covering 60 stops. The buses have air-conditioning, Wi-Fi on board and run more frequently than the regular buses. Hop aboard to have a bus excursion around Kuala Lumpur for free!

CLIMB ROCKS AT BATU CAVES

Batu Caves is a hill with numerous caves and cave temples, which is located in Gombak district, 12 km north of Kuala Lumpur. The Temple Cave and the Cathedral Cave are the most famous. To get to the Temple Cave, you need to climb 272 rock stairs. And remember to watch out for monkeys!

Batu Caves, KL By Simon_sees CC BY 2.0

Also, for the last ten years, Batu Caves have become the center of rock climbing in Kuala Lumpur. The hill is 150 meters high and offers 160 climbing routes for different levels of age and experience. Climbing is free of charge, but you’ll have to bring your gear. And also, come early in the morning to pick the best area for climbing, as later the place will be crowded.

ADMIRE THE BEAUTY OF PETRONAS TOWERS

Petronas Towers have become the tallest twin towers in the world after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. They are 452 meters high, and they are the most famous landmark of Kuala Lumpur.

Unfortunately, access to the observation deck on the 41st floor is no longer free. It costs around three dollars to visit the deck. However, you have to arrive early in the morning, wait in line, get one of the limited entrance tickets and get assigned a visiting time later that day.

Also, you can only stay on the deck for 10 minutes. If you don’t want to go through these troubles, you can just admire the towers from outside, which is also great. The towers look like two shiny silver spears, reaching the clouds. When they are illuminated during the night, they look even more marvelous. Their multi-faceted star-like design is truly unique.

WALK THROUGH THE LAKE GARDEN PARK

Feeding time By Thomas Quine CC BY 2.0

Just 10 minutes from Merdeka Square, you will find a unique oasis of green in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Taman Tasik Perdana also called the Lake Garden Park, is a natural haven in the city. The park offers its visitors a wide variety of giant tropical trees, fragrant flowering bushes, landscaped gardens, waterfalls and many other attractions.

There is everything you need for an excellent day: exercise equipment, children’s playground, walking paths and even a low-cost food market. The bird park and museums have rather high admission fees, but all the other activities are free of charge. You can even spend a whole day in the park!

 

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What are Your Biggest Travel Problems and Questions?

This is a special and unique post that we will be a LIVE thread for answering your biggest travel problems and questions. Please comment your travel related questions here and we’ll answer them in the comments below.

That said, we have compiled a list of most commonly asked travel questions (around travel visa, safety, hacks and tips, miles, etc.). Please read our massive Travel FAQ page for answers to many of your Common Travel Questions.

Your Biggest Travel Problems & Questions

The Art of Travel is a community for hardcore travelers. We are a group of everyday folks who love to travel and experience the freedom that comes from traveling. However, travel (Internation Travel in particular) is a time and money consuming luxury that most of us can’t afford.

Sure we talk about and share our tips on Saving Money for Travel and Budget Travel but when you have three kids and a minimum wage job, none of the travel hacks quite work for everyone. It gets tricky.

If you have money but less time, we have plenty of travel hacks for you.

If you have plenty of time and little money, well, congratulations, we have you covered as well.

But what to do when you so desperately want to travel but don’t have either money or time. You work very hard to provide for yourself or your family and after paying all the bills and debts, you are left with pretty much nothing except some gas money for carpooling with your friends on a highly crowded weekend.

We want to address these and similar questions and would like to hear from you. What do you struggle with most when it comes to travel? What questions do you need to be answered? What are your biggest travel problems and questions?

Comment below and I will address each one of them in separate blog posts. I’ll do my best to be as thorough and detailed as possible.

We want to know you and we want to help you!

Tell us your travel problems

You can also contact us on Facebook or tweet to us. You can leave a comment on our YouTube videos or on our Instagram posts. If you wish, you can email us as well. If you want to send us mail us, our address is:

Art of Travel, Inc

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Quincy, Massachusetts USA 02171

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7 Things to Learn from Spaniards

Spaniards are to be admired. Spain has lots of traditions which can be passed on to the world. It’s a country full of love and time. Spaniards have culture inculcated in them which they can’t shun. The world can learn these seven things from Spaniards.

“LIFE” BEFORE “WORK”

In many cosmopolitan cities of the world, we can see everyone hurrying to reach their workplace. They become so engaged in work that they forget how it felt just to live. Spaniards give preference to living their lives rather than working too much for success. They give importance to amigos (friends) and family. According to them if you have money then you should spend it on enjoyment.

Spaniards are excellent at maintaining relationships. That is why even after a hectic schedule they rather than resting go to bars or restaurant to hang out with friends. Maybe that is the reason you see busy streets and crowded restaurants every time you visit Spain.

CONTROLLED DAY DRINKING

Spaniards can down a bottle of red wine in the peak of the day and are in their sense. We are amazed by how they manage it. But they have mastered the skill of day drinking. Mostly they sip a little during lunch break. That helps in taking the stress off their minds. Drinking is something they often do, but they don’t lose it. Spaniards are gentlemen drunk or not.they know drinking too much is disastrous.so they don’t cross the limit.

SIESTA

You can walk through the streets in the tranquility of the quiet afternoon.The rolled shutters will be down in windows of every street. Spaniards rest during this period. They need to find the energy to keep up with their long day. So this tradition is something that rests both the body and mind.

People around the world are rushing 24/7, but Spaniards have developed this healthy routine. Maybe we should borrow this habit of theirs. It sounds quite appealing, doesn’t it?

San Gimignano, Siesta (Toskana) by Roland Arhelger CC BY-SA 4.0

SPANIARDS STAND TOGETHER

No matter what problems the nation undergoes everyone stands together. They are one big family. They stick close. During the March 11 terror attack, everyone stayed together. In Fuenteovejuna all the people unitedly killed their oppressor.

Maybe it is the good times or bad times Spaniards will never abandon their nation. In Prestige oil spill disaster many people voluntarily rendered help. Spain is the country to look up to. You can’t help but admire them. All for one; one for all.

PUENTE (LONG WEEKEND)

Whenever you get few days off work you would want to be inside your apartment. Resting your tired eyes from work. But it is all different with the Spaniards. If they get a Thursday off, they extend it to a long weekend.

You can find many Spaniards hitting the road. Traveling around is something they prefer during weekends rather than resting around. We got inspired by them. We hope you also walk in their footsteps.

COOK HEALTHY EAT HEALTHY

People in Spain are not so health conscious, but their eating habits are healthy. They prefer olive oil over butter. It may be frying the bread, or simple drizzling olive oil is the king here. Use of butter is so overrated that we forget the healthier options. A tablespoon of olive oil helps to bring down cholesterol.

The Spanish are ahead of us in the health department. They even use potato in making a tortilla. Both egg and potato are kinds of staple food for Americans as well as British, but Spaniards have efficiently brought both of them together. They even prefer smashed tomato on bread rather than butter-pan con tomato. Knowingly or not the Spanish have healthy ways that too in spades.

ZEAL TO MOVE ON

Spaniards never cling to things that bring them down. But they are hell bent on burning it. Yes, literally. On June twenty-third people all throughout Spain celebrate St John’s night. It is the night they let go of bad memories. They burn down every single item that brings negativity to their lives.

They start anew by burning away evil in their lives. While many of us think we are moving on but we still have photos or items even written records of things we would have forgotten ages ago. Let us learn from Spaniards not to be afraid of letting go.

 

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7 Safest Destinations for Solo Female Travelers

Female travelers choose to journey solo more and more frequently. With times changing, this is not a surprise.

Women opt to travel alone due to many reasons; to enjoy their freedom or to have a quiet time in solitude for peace of mind. Traveling alone has many perks; it is something we all love to do from time to time.

However, there are also several things to keep in mind before traveling alone. The number of assaults on female travelers keeps increasing. In addition, theft is a significant problem related to tourism. Women are often perceived as easy targets and therefore they can be more vulnerable to such attacks.

How can a woman avoid these threats? If you want your trip to be without headaches, then you ought to choose a safe destination. Here is a list of a few places which are voted safe for women.

OTTAWA, CANADA

Canada is voted the safest country in the world. How can you not feel safe in a place where people are so friendly? The atmosphere is metropolitan in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.

English and French are the main languages spoken here. So if you are fluent in one of those, you’ll have no problem communicating.

If you want to go on a shopping spree, you should start with ByWard market. Here, you will find different kinds of goods such as handmade clothes, funky jewelry, and all kinds of cheeses. No shopping spree is complete without food. When your arms begin to tire from holding all the shopping bags, head to one of the many great restaurants. Have a happy and secure stay in Ottawa.

HILO, HAWAII

Who does not love beaches? If you want to bathe in the sun or take a dip in the sea, Hilo is for you. The USA has a variety of safe cities for women, but none can beat Hilo. This city is also known as the “Big Island.” Even though it is called the big island, the population here is small. Thus, you are sure to find peace and quiet here.

The Akaka Falls state park is worth a visit. Plus, the beautiful landscape which surrounds a 400 ft high waterfall is a must-see. If you have a sweet tooth, then head over to Macadamia Nut Corporation to sample some mouth-watering chocolate and macadamia nuts. This is a safe, tasty and tranquil destination for female travelers.

OSLO, NORWAY

Norway is a feminist country through and through. It has always ranked in the top ten for equal treatment of women throughout the world. How can a woman not be safe here?

The lively city of Oslo is the capital of Norway. A trip to Oslo should always begin with a visit to the Vigeland sculpture park. If you are artsy, you are going to fall in love with this place. Gustav Vigeland made 200 pieces of art from granite, iron, and bronze. He is a very fine and accomplished artist. The trip will definitely open your creative mind. Oslo also has some crazy nightclubs, if you are more of a night owl. You can have the vacay of your life here.

 

MALMO, SWEDEN

Not only does Sweden have a wonderful culture, but the citizens are also welcoming and warm. 

Malmo is the third largest city in the country and it is a perfect shopping hub. Whether you are looking for just a few chic and classy outfits or a total makeover, Malmo is the city for you. 

Some women love a shot of adrenaline. If that is you, then you may want to explore the hiking or boating options. The scenery in Sweden is perfect for adventure sports. Plus, Malmo is very environmentally friendly. It shows in their food choices as well as their clothing. Thus, you can enjoy guilt-free eating and shopping in Malmo.

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COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

New girl in the city? Don’t be afraid, you’ll enjoy your experience here. Copenhagen has a population of around two million people. You’ll be lost in the crowd. The bustling streets and Norse architecture are a joy to see.

Plus, you can shop here at dream prices. So gear up and make your wish lists. When you visit Copenhagen you must stop by the fountain of Goddess Gefjun, which tells the tale of how Denmark was established.

At night you can watch how the water lights up in a blue hue. The contrast between the past and present in this city is striking.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

If a woman wants to pamper herself, then what better place can she go than a spa?

You guessed right, Auckland is spa heaven. It is the largest city in New Zealand and a safe place for a woman to travel alone. The white beaches are sunny and breezy.

You can walk along the three kilometers of white sand and revel in the beauty of nature. The sunbathing alone is enough to give you a lovely golden tan. After that, you can go and have a spa session at Waiwera Thermal Resort.

Sounds like a relaxing day, doesn’t it?

SETÚBAL, PORTUGAL

Many want a secluded vacation, away from the crowds. Setubal is a small city with a population of only 80,000. Nature will soothe your soul here. Plus, your stay will be filled with delicious seafood and warm wine.

If you want to just enjoy nature, go to Serra da Arrabida National Park. This park is where the land meets the sea. From the park, you can observe the still waters, which are simply stunning. But a holiday without a beach day is not complete. To get your allotment of sand and sun, visit Portinho da Arrabida Beach, which is a perfect getaway.Fuerte de San Felipe, Setúbal, Portugal by Diego Delso CC BY-SA 3.0

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5 Unusual Places in the Netherlands

Netherlands is not only about windmills. There is so much more to it. You will find many quirky spots here. There are many places in Netherlands which are not popular. But they are worth a visit. Enjoy the Dutch landscape.

BOURTANGE

It lies next to Castle Muiden. Age-old moats surround this village. The grass grows over making a protective layer. The structure of moats was built to safeguard the village from the Germans.

Luchtfoto bourtange by Gebruiker  CC BY-SA 3.0

Now, Bourtange has classy shops, warm cafes, museums. Don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of “I dos” here. It is a popular spot for weddings.

Summer is the best time to visit Bourtange. As a bonus, there are always some sort of costume shows going on at that time of the year.

THE HUNEBEDDEN

It is an ancient natural structure. Geography buffs, here is a place you must visit. It can be called the Stonehenge of the Holland”. They were created by peasants many years ago. The rocks here date back to 5000 years.

They are from the megalithic age. One of the oldest existing rock structure. Hunebedden was used as the grave chamber. You may be afraid to encounter a corpse. But don’t worry are removed from here. Enjoy the frozen history of Drenthe province.

BOEKHANDEL DOMINICANEN

The history that surrounds this gothic castle is pretty impressive. Built in 1294, St. Dominic founded it. No religious activity is conducted here since the Napoleon army seized the church.

It is considered one of the beautiful bookstores in the world. Yes, this place was converted into a bookhouse. The vaulted ceilings and 13th century architecture are a contrast to the metal stacks of books. Book lovers must travel to Maastricht in Netherland.

KEUKENHOF GARDENS

Be ready to be engulfed in flowery scent. Keukenhof is the largest flower garden in Netherlands as well as the world. Springtime is the best time to visit this garden. All the buds bloom in their full glory.

You can take a bicycle ride around this garden. Seven million flower buds are planted here every year. The variety of flowers will overwhelm you. There are plantations of tulips, orchids, roses, hyacinths, and many other flowers.

HOGE VELUWE NATIONAL PARK

You will think that it might be a normal national park. What is the big deal with it? But trust us this park is unlike any other you will ever go. The bike lovers will love it here. There are 1700 white bikes for you to ride around the park. And they are free!

It is the largest natural reserve in Netherlands. You can visit the Kroller Muller museum and learn a bit of Dutch history. The biggest private Van Gogh collection is present here. Have a look at the sculpture garden. Try to evoke your muse with the art.

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6 Quick Things to Know Before Traveling to Maldives

Maldives is a treasure trove of around two thousand islands. The coral reefs and tropical atmosphere in the country are what dreams are made of it seems. Exotic marine life and local cuisines are to die for. Maldives can be a wow trip. The blue lagoons, the sandy beaches and the baby sharks you can find everything here. But there are some things you ought to know about it.

FOOD IS HEALTHY IN MALDIVES

Usually, when we travel, we are afraid of overeating. The fact that we are vacationing might lead to us having a happy meal. Then we end up gaining extra pounds. In Maldives, you do not have to worry about it.The meal is made from fresh fish and omega-3 fish oil. There are no artificial ingredients added. Dairy products are avoided. Creamy sauces are cooked to replace milk. You can wolf down your plate without gaining an ounce.

BAREFOOT PARADISE

When you are in Maldives, you won’t require any footwear. The reason is you will either be provided flip flops in hotels. The rest of your time will be spent diving in the deep blue sea. Don’t bother packing a huge collection of matching heels. Be comfortable and take a pair which will suit with your outfits. Pack smart. 

HIGH TAXES

A trip to Maldives is not an affordable trip. You are going to spend an obnoxious amount of money on this vacay. Keep in mind that the taxes in this country are also high. The resorts have nearly the same price. May it be a three, four or five stars.  You will have to pay an extra of eight percent for goods and service tax. It is because the ingredients in your meal have to be shipped from abroad to Male. You know that Maldives is made of islands. Goods are transported from Male to the resorts. Again you have to pay a tip of ten percent.

FORGET ABOUT PORK

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If you didn’t know, let us inform you that Maldives is a Muslim country. The majority of citizens are Muslims which is the reason no pork is allowed inside the country. When you surf through the menu in this nation, don’t be surprised to find it pork-free. They are strict regarding their no-pork rule. Don’t try to sneak it even. You might land yourself in trouble.

VAIN SEARCHING FOR WHALE SHARKS?

Dharavandhoo Thila – Whale Shark by Shiyam ElkCloner  CC BY-SA 3.0

Don’t be too excited when you are cruising. This island country has gained popularity for its whales and manta rays. But it is not a guarantee that you will see them on your trip. No amount of stretching your time in the water is going to tempt these creatures to come out. If you are in luck, you can view a whale or two. Who knows you might even see a manta ray?

BAN ON PDA, BATHING SUITS AND ALCOHOL

We know Muslim countries follow their customs devotedly. When you are in a foreign country, you ought to learn to respect their traditions. Bathing suits are far away, you cannot even wear anything that shows off knees, shoulders, and elbows. That officially means you need to be covered up. No citizen of Maldives consumes the alcoholic product. It is against their religion. If you are touring with your hubby, forget about the kiss on the beach. Public display of emotion is not allowed. Keep these few things in mind. They will be helpful during your stay.

 

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5 Must See Places in Bulgaria

Bulgaria can be an affordable place to travel. You don’t have to worry about the pricey hotels and good food. Everything will cost you a reasonable amount. The gorgeous coastline of the Black Sea and affordability has made Bulgaria a lovely destination. It houses some beautiful places. It has more than the beaches. You will be enchanted with the quiet countryside atmosphere of this nation.

SOZOPOL

The ancient name of Sozopol is Apollonia. It was the temple of Greek God Apollo in the sixth century BC. With a history so rich, you will think this town has incredible architecture. But let us warn you, it is not that way.  You can find pretty wooden houses which line the streets.

The small town is also a fishermen’s village. The coastline of Black Sea has made it appropriate for fishing. The daily activity of fishing will buzz your senses. The loading and unloading of quays with varieties of fish is great to watch. You can walk around the town soaking up its feel, or you can take a dip in the sea.

SEVEN LAKES

Things we do for love! Seven lakes in Bulgaria is also related to a tale of love. A Giant female cried for her lover. And that led to a myriad of seven lakes which are embedded in the Rila mountain. It is an enchanting scene of green landscape and colorful wildflowers leading you to transparent blue water.

The lakes are located on the mountain. Streams and rivers connect the lake. Reaching the lakes is not an easy task. You can use skiing to motor across the snowy slopes. Be careful. Make sure you visit during March – May. Because it can be frozen during the rest of the year.

MELNIK

Bulgaria is all about small town charm. But the list will not be complete if we don’t mention the smallest town. Melnik is a cute countryside town surrounded by rocky mountain. When you are here, you can get high on the Melnik rocks or High on the red wine.

The Melnik Konak by Klearchos Kapoutsis CC BY 2.0

This town is popular for its wineries. Don’t miss to taste some delicious country wine. When your head buzzes, you can walk up to your hotel Elli Greco, which can offer you a spa. If you can muster up yourself, you can stroll along the narrow alleyways or visit the Rozhen monastery.

NESSEBAR

Menebria sports a fantastic coastline. Did you get confused? We are talking about Nessebar. Menebria is the ancient name given to it be the Greeks, Ottomans, Byzantines, Bulgarians, Romans. It is a World Heritage site. Because of the strategic location of the town, it has been coveted by rulers over the history.

The place holds many memories of past. There are around forty churches which you can visit. Only ruins of them remain after so many years. But you will find it arrestingly beautiful.

BELOGRADCHIK

Are you still a little girl at heart? Do you want to put on your glass slippers and walk in the fortress? Then Belogradchik will give you that chance. It can be a quirky spot to let your childhood dreams come alive. This rock fortress is made up of many rock structures.

Belogradchik fortress by Klearchos Kapoutsis CC BY 2.0

With yellow flowers blooming on fringes of the rocks, the fortress looks picturesque. It was nominated by Bulgaria for Seven Wonders of the world.

 

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6 Things to Know About Germans Before Visiting Germany

War is what Germany is all about. Don’t say that in front of  Germans; you might get punched! So be careful in dealing with the issue. Germany is not just beer and sausages too. If you want to know about it, travel to Germany. That is the best way to have a look at their culture and history. Before you go, we have listed some things you show know.

ALWAYS CLOSE THE WINDOWS

If you are claustrophobic, it is going to be such a pain to travel in the cab without some air. But do not think of opening the window. Germans can be a bit control freaks when it comes to their health. They believe that a breeze is not a fresh wave of nature, but it can bring flu and diseases with it. Keep in mind while traveling on a public transport not to keep your windows open. If you even open it, somebody might close it for you.

OPT FOR SPARKLING WATER

Germans like things clean as we said earlier. So whenever you are at a restaurant do not think of tap water. And never offer anyone tap water also.

Fiuggi Sparkling Water by Dav518 CC BY-SA 3.0

It is considered ill -mannered to do so. They even have a habit of mixing sparkling water with everything they drink. May it be juice or wine. While you are here, please order seltzer. Forget about tap water.

GERMANS ARE VERY FORMAL

They have a perfect upbringing. You cannot expect them to walk into a room and ignore everyone. A handshake and introductions are a must. Do not go on the first name basis with anyone.

Go with surname till you are friendly enough to get a good name. If you want to turn down an offer, say thanks. If you want to say yes to it, say please. That is the way Germans work.

LIBERAL MINDED COUNTRY

They might be formal, but they are not strict. While you travel to Germany, you will find some spots which follow FKK. FKK is the short form of Freikorperkultur in Germany. It means free body culture. That are places where you can slam body shaming.

Stop TTIP Martin Schulz by Jakob Huber CC BY 2.0

People are free to go naked at this places. You will see all types of people in these spots. Naked doesn’t only mean hot naked chicks. It also means the old, the fat, and the physically challenged. Prepare yourself for a variety of treats.

SUNDAYS ARE FOR FAMILY

We know that Sundays are days to get over your hangover in many countries. But Germans spend their Sundays with family. Don’t expect a busy street on Sunday. The people usually go out on a trip with family. They might even stay back home enjoying a nice cooked meal with family. You will find very few shops that are open. Everybody takes the day off to gain rest. It is called as the quiet day of the week.

AN ORGANISED BUNCH

Germans don’t live a haphazard way. Their lives are well planned. They don’t like taking risks. You will see that they always stick to their schedule. That is why they don’t like surprises. Everything is pre-planned in their calendars. Their effective planning is something that has led to their development after the war. Ohh! And yes. Last but not the least, don’t talk about the war or Hitler or Nazis. Think of a safer subject.

 

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Top 6 Shopping Cities in the World

Many people travel for food. Others for adventure. But, some of us love to shop. To the people who travel to shop, this blog is for you.

Maybe it is boutiques or flower shops that bring you the pleasure of shopping, or, perhaps it is antiques or some good old wine. But the point is the joy we get from shopping is immeasurable.

There are some cities which are undoubtedly the best shopping destinations in the whole world. Here we’ll feature 6 of them we think are the best in the world!

LONDON

London has a collection of shops to choose from. If you want to go to luxury shops, it has got Harrods. Oxford Street has got around 300 shops you can choose from.

If you are on a budget, you can take a look at Westfield.

Burlington Arcade, shops by Andrew Dunn CC BY-SA 2.0

There are tons of retail outlets at Dover Street Market. Have your pick. Impress your man by trying on sexy lingerie at Bravissimo.

For improving your wardrobe head to New look marble arch. London has got some departmental stores You can choose from Debenhams and Peter Jones.

MOSCOW

If you are traveling to the Russian capital, Moscow, you can’t help but wonder where to go. The shopping options will overwhelm you. You can make some happy purchases in the ultra-modern city.

The price here can be dauntingly high. It is a city of fashion-conscious people who are not afraid to spend.

Moscow GUM Middle Line view from 2nd floor by A.Savin  CC BY-SA 3.0

If you want to shop like a regular Russian, head to Flacon. The luxury shops like GUM offer you a fancy lunch at an affordable price.

Don’t miss the bustling streets of the Izmailovsky flea market. Maozoo is another place where you can find cool outfits at reasonable prices.

PARIS

Paris is the capital of the fashion industry. Anything that Parisians wear is in vogue. You could do a lot of shopping in Paris. It has got some of the best stores to chic you up.

There are shopping streets as well as elegant boutiques. It is up to you which one you shop in. You can buy perfumed candles as wells as pretty hats in Paris.

Galerie Lafayette Haussmann Dome by Benh LIEU SONG CC BY-SA 3.0

If you want something within your budget Canal St Martin is your place. It has styles of every age.

Your antique collection can be enhanced if you go to St Germain des Pres. It has got a wide variety of art galleries and antique shops.

TOKYO

Tokyo city is always in a rush with tens of thousands of shoppers. From shiny jewelry to colorful mementos you can get absolutely anything in Tokyo. Shopping for gadgets? You will be amazed by varieties of it!

Ginza boasts huge department stores and gorgeous boutiques. Takumi is a secluded place for the artsy people.

For taking gifts back home try the Nakamise Dori. Shibuya is heaven for hippie teenagers.

You will be wowed by the dream prices in which you get the funky outfits. Top your look with accessories from Tokyu Hands.

NEW YORK

New York City is known as the global shopping capital. From classy apparel to books you can find anything here. You can fit anything in your budget.

For luxury, you have got stores like Bloomingdale and Barneys. All big brands in NYC come with B. From Armani suits to Alexander Wang dresses; everything luxury can be found here.

If you are fond of the designer label, this is your place. Madison Avenue is made for celebrity clothing. But window shopping is the best way to have a look at Calvin Klein designs.

For something fashionable yet cheap H & M is the apt place to go. You can find the latest designs at too good to be true prices.

Soho has some fantastic art galleries. Be ready to fight the crowd on your way through it.

Dubai

Things have changed in the past three decades. Dubai city has emerged as a global shopping and entertainment destination for people of all budgets.

Dubai Shopping Festival is an annual month-long event put together by Dubai’s department of tourism.

During the festival, shops offer discounts on their merchandise, daily car raffles, and prize drawings are held to win items such as gold and cars, and there is a fireworks display.

The other thing to highlight here is the Dubai Mall. It is the second-largest shopping mall by total land area. There is also a range of family activities and live shows that take place throughout Dubai.

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Visit these 6 Great Monuments in the World

Monuments are an evidence of history. They speak of bygone times. It is our ancestors who built this impressive structures. We should be proud to see this structures still standing in front of us. Monuments are the legacy which we should preserve. 

So much information and knowledge are gleaned from them. It is not only the structures which they make; it is the atmosphere they create. You should not miss any of these wonders.

STONEHENGE

You would think what is so great about a stack of stones? But there is so much which needs to be seen. Stonehenge was built around three thousand BC. Don’t think that these rocks were just put up here. Rocks were carried all the way from Wales.

Many Neolithic sites are surrounding the area. You can feel the past coming to greet you. Around the globe, people come to visit Stonehenge. Just to see sun rays playing hide and seek during sunset and sunrise.

THE KAABA

It is a sacred place for Muslims. They believe that this structure was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. What makes it special is it is culturally important for Muslims. Around six million pilgrims come and visit Kaaba during Hajj. It is compulsory for every Muslim to travel to Mecca once in their life.

Kabaa by “Al-Fassam” CC BY 2.0

There is a custom of moving clockwise around the cuboid shaped Kaaba. They do it seven times. Later you can visit the mosque which surrounds the area. Masjid al-Haram was built later.

THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

The Chinese empire was huge. It was a mammoth task to protect it from the enemies. From the seventh century BC, the Chinese started building fortifications to safeguard their country. It was to keep way foreign tribes and warlike people.

Such an old structure made of just tamped earth, wood, stone still stands. It is formidable in size. The wall is being maintained and restored through generations. As long as the Chinese live this wall stands.

THE TAJ MAHAL

You might have heard of this beautiful monument. It is listed in the seven wonders of the world. Located in Uttar Pradesh, India. This mausoleum was built in Sultanate period. It was in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.

The gorgeous architecture proclaims the glory of Sultanate period in India. The minarets surrounding Taj Mahal tower the landscape. The pool in front reflects the image of it. It is one of the masterpieces of architecture. A universally respected historical monument.

THE STATUE OF LIBERTY

From the name itself you can recognize that we are talking about a priceless monument. The statue of liberty has a story behind it. America did not build it. But France presented the statue to United states. In 1886 the statue gained national importance. From then on it has attracted many tourists. It symbolizes democracy and freedom.

THE COLOSSEUM

A symbol of the power of Roman architecture. At such an early period in history, they built an enormous monument. The Colosseum was used as an amphitheater. It is the place where gladiators fought to be alive. The place could hold eighty thousand people.

It is the capacity modern stadiums have. To make something like that in 70 AD is nothing short of genius. Once upon a time, people used to cheer here and cry here. It holds many stories. That is what is exciting about monuments. They are a treasure trove of stories.

 

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6 Things to Know about Portuguese

Portuguese were colonial rulers like British.Portugal is not just about Christiano Ronaldo or port wine. This country has many aspects to it. It is known because of its football team throughout the world. They are the champions of UEFA EURO 2016.

Still, there are many things you need to learn about Portugal. When you know those, you will either be surprised or want to visit the nation. It is located between the Atlantic Ocean and Spain. The country is popular for its food and football. But here are some things about Portugal you didn’t know.

THEY DO NOT SPEAK SPANISH

The border might be shared with Spain. But language is their own. Portunol is an official language of the country. This language can be heard in Brazil too. Yes, Brazil has its official language. But Portunol is spoken there as well. Because once it was ruled by Portugal. Their language is very popular. It is the fifth most spoken language.

Fans of the Portuguese national football team in Cologne by Raimond Spekking CC BY-SA 4.0

START OF LIFE

Do you know what conditions are apt for life to begin? The conditions are so in Mars also, Which might lead to the start of life there. The same conditions are found in a small village in Portugal. It is believed by NASA that life begun in Cabeco de Vide. Because the thermal waters and unique environment are possible to birth life here.

A COUNTRY OF RECORDS

You might think that the number of fan following of Portuguese football team is the only thing that they have. Time to think again! Did you know that the largest artificial lake in Europe is here? They were the first to fly over the South Atlantic.

Portugal football team – Croatia vs. Portugal, 10th June 2013 by Fanny Schertzer CC BY-SA 3.0

Portugal has the longest bridge in Europe. World’s first region which was demarcated is present in this very country. You have many things to look at if you visit Portugal. It is definitely a country of records.

NATION OF BOOK LOVERS

Lost in reading by Pedro Ribeiro Simões CC BY 2.0

Have you heard of Bertrand Bookshop? If you are a book lover, you might have heard it. It was made in 1732 and is the oldest bookshop which is still open. There is the great poem “ Os Lusiadas” which was written in 1572. It is known as one of the epics. Lello is titled as the most beautiful bookshop in the world. You can find so many libraries here because this is a country of book lovers.

PORTUGUESE ARE GREEN ENTHUSIASTS

Portugal believes in keeping the environment clean. That is the reason they don’t misuse the products of nature. They are strictly against pollution. Fifty percent of their energy comes from renewable sources. They use water waves for hydroelectricity. The sunny areas of south use Solar energy. Whereas the hilly regions use windmills to produce electricity. You can even visit many national parks in Portugal. It is green through and through.

CENTRE OF GLOBALIZATION

In the fifteenth century, Portuguese started discovering new sea routes. They went to places which were yet to be discovered. That made them one step ahead of the rest of the world. That is the reason Mestizos were born. That is a thing of past when people of mixed heritage were born. Portugal made modern inventions.  They were the first to start using ATMS. The mobile cards(prepaid) you are using now is a contribution of Portuguese.

 

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5 Must See Natural Beauties in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is an African country with Guinea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest. This country was under the rule of British for many years. Examples of it can be seen throughout the country. Slavery of Africa started from this point. Still, the beauty of nation was not hampered. Sierra Leone is a country which retains its primitive beauty like many African countries.

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BANANA ISLAND

If you want to have some water sports, Banana Island is a perfect option in Sierra Leone. You can do diving and snorkeling on the shores of the island. It is located in the southwest part of the country. Its coastal location adds to the adventures. You can explore the dense forests in the islands.

When we say islands, it is the group of three islands we are talking about. Ricketts, Dublin and Mes Meheux. These three make up the Banana islands which are popular for being HQ of Etisalat Telecom. You can lose yourself among many caves here. They house thousands of bats. Visit the medieval churches. You can find remnants of past slavery in the slave docks here.

TACUGAMA CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY

Want a view of forests? Head to Freetown. A rough ride of forty minutes will take you to Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. It has become a tourist attraction in the recent years. The ride along the sandy road on a motor will take you through the beauty of forests.

West African Chimpanzee by BigMikeSndTech CC BY 2.0

Hear the gushing waterfalls and feel the fresh air on your face. You can sight many Chimpanzees in the sanctuary. This hundred acres of land will offer you the natural beauty of Sierra Leone.

TURTLE ISLANDS

Were we in Freetown? How about boating away from it. Three hours from Freetown you will find a group of eight islands. Together they are commonly named as Turtle Islands. It is so because Turtles make the shores their breeding ground.

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You can do fishing here. If you are new to it, ask a local. Fishing community flourishes here. A peaceful time can be spent here. You can sit and enjoy the blue fresh water. You will also taste some amazing seafood in Turtle Islands.

MOUNT BINTUMANI

Welcome to the highest mountain of Sierra Leone. Bintumani towers at a height of 1945 meters. It has a rich flora and fauna which will stun you on your way up.

Mount Bintumani by Jared & Melanie & Huxley  CC BY 2.0

Many riders, climbers, and trekkers come here seeking adventure. Another name for this epic mountain is Loma Mansa. If you don’t want to climb, on the foothills, you will find dense forests which are rich in wildlife.

TOKEH BEACH

A favorite spot of French supermodels. This beach is popular since the 1970s. People flock here to have a day off. They can lounge in the sun and relax. It is near to Freetown. So you can get back if you have based your trip there. Or you can stay here for a night. It has got a guest house, which is very comfortable. You can spend your night listening local tales. One of the famous tales is that of Crocodile lady. It is said that she lures crocodile out of waters.

Have an incredible time enjoying scenic charms of Sierra Leone!

 

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Where to Find the Best Food in Mexico City

Mexico is heaven for food junkies. Mexican food has undergone a gastronomic renaissance. Recently chefs have buckled up to blend the typical Mexican flavors with new techniques. You will find the world’s finest restaurants here.

Not only that but you will find the treasure house of mouth-watering street food from Tortillas to Salsa. Mexico offers you one of the best culinary experience. We will help you find a few places which you must visit if you are here to eat some delicious Mexican food. These are some of the best places to eat in Mexico City.

PUJOL

Address: Francisco Petrarca 254 | Polanco, Mexico City 11570, Mexico

Contact Number: (55)55453507

The atmosphere of Pujol is perfect for a romantic dinner. Enrique Olvera is one of the leading food names in Mexico City. It is one of the topmost restaurants, so don’t expect anything less. They serve a six-course meal. Go with an empty stomach. You will be invited in by a charming hostess. The menu is inside a wax sealed file. It gives an old fashioned feel to it. The six-course meal is sure to fill you with delight.

The star of the menu is the Mole Madre. It is made of one old and a new mole. Fresh tortillas are served with it. You will love the sauce paired with a carb. The another perk of dining here in Pujol is The excellent collection of wine. You will be awed by the vast range of Mexican flavors are displayed there.

Your tongue will love the taste of this decadent restaurant. Just one advice, if you don’t like your consommé thick, then this place will not serve it that way. You will love the warm service of Pujol. If you are ready to book a table ahead of two months then only can you have this divine experience?

8- Mixiote de rabo de res, adobo de hoja de aguacate by City Foodsters CC BY 2.0

STREET FOODS

You will be amazed to see the vibrant food trucks lined up in the streets of Mexico. Vendors will keep shouting tacos, tortillas, salsa. The noise of the knives hitting the vegetables, the whizz of smoke from the pans, the grills all of is a sight which will boost your appetite.

So whether you are hungry or not, you will taste the street food of Mexico. El Caguamo is a place you can’t miss. It serves some best shrimp in Mexico with Tostada. It does not scream classy or “come here I taste good.”

But the crowd in the area will tell you it is one of local food hub for oldies as well as youngsters. A place where the ceviche is so addictive that you are going to come back for it again and again, perfect dressing!

Taqueria Los Parados is your place for yummy tacos oozing with cheese. Malinalco street is king in blue corn Tlacoyo.Grab some. You will find cheap food in the streets, no doubt.  The traditional dishes are a spot on. But if you have to try something adventurous and new, Opt for a fancy restaurant.

Street food vendors mexico by Tomascastelazo CC BY-SA 3.0

NICOS

Address: Blvd. Bernardo Quintana A. #506, 76140 Queretaro

Phone: +524422122133

Nicos is a place where a little is more. This place is not at all flashy. It doesn’t try to speak out loud by just its decoration. Chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo is the owner of the Nicos. He is a chef who is renowned for making complex dishes out of small. They will use ginger, onions, and mushroom for a simple dish. Here at Nico, you will find simple ingredients are used to cook something spectacular.

Your taste buds might revolt at the idea of Escamoles, to be more precise caviar of ant larvae. But if there is any place to taste it, Nicos is it. They ooze with butter. You can’t help but moan at the taste of it. Chef Vazquez has a way with local ingredients. Just the traditional methods but put together creatively with new ingredients. You will be impressed by the simple excellence of this place which has stood in Mexico since 1957.

MGSA2018 – Escamoles by MCGau CC BY-SA 4.0

MAXIMO BISTROT

Address: Tonala 133 | Colonia Roma, Mexico City, Mexico

Contact Number: 01-55-5264-4291

Maximo Bistrot might be a new baby in the town, but it is no less good. It is run by couple Eduardo Garcia and Gabriela. Gabriela has worked under Chef Olvera of Pujol. She and her husband both are always trying to cook something innovative. They are masters as organic food. Butter might not be their preference, but they have a good replacement for it. Yes, you guessed it right. It is goats cheese.

The ingredients used by this couple are unconventional. Eggplant ash and goats cheese such things are brilliantly cooked into an exquisite dish. We had said earlier that El Caguamo is the best place to taste seafood, but if you are not interested in standing in a queue for shrimps, you can enjoy tuna or marlin here.

J&G Grill

Address: Paseo de la Reforma 439 HOTEL ST REGIS, Mexico City, Mexico

Contact number: 5552281935

The name itself is intimidating enough for you to check your balance, whether you have enough or not to enter it. J&G is the shortened version of Jean and George. It drips of shiny opulence. The service is impeccable. You will have a stunning view of Mexico City from the patio seats.

J&G is popular for its menu which revolves around locally sourced meat. Whether you are a fan of Hamachi Sashimi or Salmon Sashimi both of them are delivered expertly. You can’t fault anything here. You shouldn’t expect anything less also. The luxurious bar lounge at the J&G is just a cherry on top. Enjoy your drinks too.

Whether you are a fan of Hamachi Sashimi or Salmon Sashimi both of them are delivered expertly. You can’t fault anything here. You shouldn’t expect anything less also. The luxurious bar lounge at the J&G is just a cherry on top. Enjoy your drinks too.

Hamachi Crudo by BalsanWA CC BY-SA 3.0

Mexico is the central hub for foodies all around the world. Here you will never eat bad food. Everything carries a traditional flavor that will tease your palate. The electric atmosphere of food lovers shoveling tasty tortillas and juicy tacos into their mouth will also make you hungry. Book a flight and rampage the food trucks and hotels.

 

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7 Best Cities To Visit During Winter

Winter is a season to rejoice.Who doesn’t love the snow -capped mountains?  The misty forests are a joy to behold. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Winter is not only for cuddling up inside your comforter but for traveling as well. Snow- flakes are dancing before you. Don’t they tempt you to go outside and explore? A winter landscape is a joy for the soul. Here are a few cities for winter travelers to visit.

TROMSO, NORWAY

The best place to watch northern lights. Every man on this earth wants to witness this unique phenomenon at least once. The shooting lights on Arctic region will be a sight to behold. You will see an aurora of colors in front of your eyes, surrounded by snow-laden landscape. A once in a lifetime experience.

Tromso has many things you can do except watching the northern lights. You can visit the Polar Museum. The guides will explain to you about the expeditions people do here. Perspektivet in Storgata is a museum which will give you information on the Norwegian art. The best restaurant here is Arcantandria. Its shellfish is always on demand.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

Your best option is here. Prague is not very popular among tourists. It is mostly free during winter months. Hence it will be great to tour around in the winter months. The old style town is something out of a fairytale. Snow covers the Romanesque architecture. Making it look mysterious.

Cobblestone paths lined with snow and gas lights on the streets give a touch of middle age to it. In the evening the city comes alive with rays from gas lamps. It bathes the city in a beautiful tinge of golden. The cold can be harsh. But the Choco Café is a savior. You can visit it in Old Town.

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Sip a tall glass of hot chocolate. It is rich and will keep you warm. This little place has a five-star hotel The Alchymist. There is a spa present here as well. The Lokal Dlouha is the best place to down a plate of beef tenderloin and cream sauce. Sounds yummy…

NAGANO, JAPAN

The best thing you can do here is skiing. It was the host of winter Olympics. So it is an excellent opportunity for doing winter sports. The wooden temples here are ages old. History buffs can have their day inZenko-Ji temple. After hiking, you can visit the natural hot springs. They are a relief during winter.

The Togakushi Minzoku-Kan Museum tells the folklore of Nagano. The history of Ninjas is interesting to know. When you crave a pizza head to Qui E la. It is located inside a home in the woods. It offers some of the best pizzas in Japan. Enjoy the winter charm in woods with a hot pizza in your mouth.

OTTAWA, CANADA

Winter is a festive season. You cannot spend it without celebrating a festival. While you are in Ottawa, don’t miss the Winterlude festival. It is one of the largest winter festivals around the world. The ice sculptures and concerts are a joy to watch. They take place at the end of January to February 17.

Another must watch the Christmas lights scheme in Canada. You will be amazed to see beautiful monuments decorated with Christmas lights all across the city. Rideau Canal is the largest ice rink in the world. You can skate away in this canal. The Arc Hotel is a cozy restaurant which will provide you a fireplace. What more can you ask for during winter?

Horseshoe Falls in Winter By Stilfehler  CC BY-SA 1.0

BERLIN, GERMANY

Die Berliner Republik is a restaurant where you will enjoy not only your drink but also your beer. The currywurst is its specialty. You can even get the drinks at low prices if you order it way ahead of time. Berlin is popular for its Christmas shopping destinations. You can feel the excitement of festival in this city. From kids to oldies everyone enjoys their winter shopping here.

Rote Rathaus at Mitte is a fun spot for shopping for children. If you want, intricately handcrafted goods then go to Gendarmenmarkt. The market complex Kathe Wohlfahrt is open throughout the year. It provides all kinds of goods from cute candles to chic dresses for Christmas. You will have to choose from 546 ice cream parlors if you want a tasty ice cream. Berlin is a yes-yes when its comes to winter.

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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

Edinburgh oozes class. Everything about it is refined and perfect. The old style buildings and cobbled streets make it look like something out of middle age. You can stroll on Arthur’s seat. The view from the top is breathtaking. There is Virgin Atlantic service here, So it is no more a problem to travel to Edinburgh.

The Prince Street garden is lovely to watch during winter. The large shadow of the castle looms above the garden. The snow covered garden with a giant Ferris wheel seems like a movie. You can skate around the huge Christmas tree in Prince Street garden. It is appropriate for those who want a quiet winter vacation to themselves.

Edinburgh Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland by Magnus Hagdorn CC BY-SA 2.0

AMSTERDAM

The museums tend to be less crowded during winter. You can visit the Rijksmuseum. It is the popular one in Amsterdam. 717 boutique hotel is a place where you can while you are In Amsterdam. It is a five-star hotel. Nothing compares to the treatment of this hotel. But if you crave some Dutch food you can head to Restaurant Greetje.

Amsterdam winter panorama by Rafael Puerto CC BY-SA 4.0

Royal Carre Theater is a place where artists from around China, Korea, and Russia perform. Your kids will have much fun here. It is a circus. Which kid doesn’t love a circus? If you are looking for some Christmas shopping options Spiegelkwartier, Haarlemmerstraat, and Megan Straatjes are the places to go. A family trip to Amsterdam during winter sounds excellent.

 

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6 Things You Should Know Before Visiting South Africa

South Africa is a multilingual nation. It is known as a rainbow nation because of the different cultures. You can travel here to best beaches. The wildlife safaris will take you with awe.When you visit South Africa, you should keep a few things in mind.

NO GOOD PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM

If you are thinking of traveling from one location to other, think of some other convenience. The buses are not efficient. Trains are the same way. You can rent a vehicle. Make sure it is with GPS so that you can get around easily. Many places of South Africa are accessible with the help of road.

We recommend you don’t travel after dark. It is not safe. The number of highway robberies has increased. Another important thing to keep in mind is that drive on the left side of the road. You need to tip the attendant in fuel stations. Drive smart behind the wheel.

Big Sky Coaches Yutong coach by Bob Adams CC BY-SA 2.0

CURRENCY OF SOUTH AFRICA IS RAND

When you travel abroad you are worried about the currency rates. Make sure before you visit South Africa where does Rand stand. It can be as low as nine even.Many banks in South Africa close at around 4. On weekend banks have half working days(till 1:00 pm). Take that into account before you draw your cash. If you are big cities like Johannesburg, don’t worry about paying with credit card. When you go to the local area, keep in mind to have extra cash. You cannot find ATMs there.

YOU CAN COMMUNICATE IN ENGLISH

South Africa has 11 official languages. English is primarily used as a medium for business. People here are multilingual. You will face no problem in talking to them. You can ask around if you want help with directions. Don’t talk to strangers who appear shady. You need to keep in mind not to be friendly with them. It might land you in trouble. If you know English, you can travel around fine. If you can learn isiZulu the better. It is the home language of South Africa.

YOU HAVE TO TIP THE CAR GUARDS

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Tipping is a huge chore for tourists. We don’t know the rates. That is why it is hard for us to tell what is a good tip. In South Africa, you have to tip 10% in a restaurant. It is the standard custom here. You have to pay the porter as well. You can give them around R10, which is approximate $1.

You will come across car guards if you are self-driving. Guards will watch your car in parking place if you go to mall or beaches. It is not necessary to tip the guards. But they can be very persistent. So it is better to tip them. Hand them R5-R10 and it’s a good tip.

DRINKING AGE IS JUST 18

Travel requires some partying. In South Africa, you can do that very well. It has got clubs in Joburg and Durban. There are plenty of clubs and restaurants in other big cities as well. You can drink here without fear. The drinking age is just 18.

Flaming cocktails by Nik Frey (niksan) CC BY 2.5

You will have to curb your smoking, though. Smoking in public places is an offense. It is better you get yourself a room. Drugs are plenty in night clubs. You can look for clubs which specialize in this forte. Be aware that Marijuana is illegal here. Stay safe.

MOBILE PHONE NETWORK IS EASY TO ACCESS

If you are here for a month we advise you hire a phone. Phones can be bought at low costs at the airport also. If you are a social media addict, you can have good 3G sims cards.

The cost will be reasonable. You don’t have to worry about the expensive roaming rates. Just ask your tour guide to help you buy one. The network is extensive. It won’t be sluggish. You can instantly upload pictures and make your friends jealous.

 

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5 Best Places to Visit in Ethiopia

“Ethiopia” the name itself sounds like a Utopia. It is an African country which has struggled a lot. Recently it is coming out of a crisis. You can stay here safe and happy. There is less fear of being mugged. Ethiopia is not only about feeding Hyenas it is so much more than that. Here are some things you can do in Ethiopia.

The Bath of the Queen of Sheba, Axum, Ethiopia by A. Davey CC BY 2.0

AXUM

The ancient history of Aksumite empire is to be respected. It is old in respect of culture as well as language. Imagine the Ark of Covenant!That is what Axum is. It is the location of the Ark of the covenant. You will find the ruins in Ethiopia.

At The Bus, Axum, Ethiopia by A. Davey CC BY 2.0

The relics of past are the center of attraction in Axum.There are a lot of historical sites you can visit.You can go for a shortened tour if you are not so interested in it.If mountains interest you more then hike the mountains to visit the mountains.

ADDIS ABABA

This is a famous African city.It is the location where the meetings of African Union take place.It is cheap in Africa.So you should not worry about the prices.The markets here ae well known.So, have fun with your shopping. It has architectural epics.Addis Ababa has lovely churches, and beautiful mosques to see.You cannot help but feel pumped when you see the active nightlife here.Like any city in Africa, it is safe and cheap here.So have a fun stay at Addis Ababa in Africa.

Lion of Judah, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by Rjruiziii CC BY-SA 3.0

HARAR

It is the well-known tourist destination in Ethiopia. The place has so many alleyways that you can walk through it for a year. It’s Like something you will find in The Horn. There is something you ought to do when you are here. Feeding the Hyenas is a thing which tourists will hesitate to do. But if you are adventurous enough, go for it. The place is not a big party destination. It is one of the holy cities for Muslims. You will find magnificent architecture in the mosques. It is on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.

Street in Harar by Ahron de Leeuw CC BY 2.0

GONDAR

Gondar is a city which is full of history.The old castles seem to be a token of past.It has developed to be a modern town.The history is not the only thing in Gondar.The beauty of Ethiopia is in the Simien Mountains. The mountain tops reflect the beauty of castles around it.This city has history and natural beauty.You will love the stunning scenery here.You can hike up the ranges too.There is a monastery at the end of the city is called Gorgora.

RIFT VALLEY LAKE

You can ride on the route of Addis to Harar.The 70 km road leads you to the south of Ethiopia.The tiny shade houses are impressive to watch.There are shops which have flowers and vegetables.The lake Ziway on the countryside is gorgeous to watch. The multi-colored Oromo tombs seem like a dream around the lake.Enjoy your trip to Ethiopia.The history, cathedrals, tombs, scenic beauty will give you a peaceful break.

 

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