Tag Archives: Europe

All Blogs, Destination Travel Guides, Travel Videos, and other content related to Europe.

Understanding the Basics of an International Driving License

An international driving license is a document that allows a driver to drive a motor vehicle in a foreign country legally. It is available as a supplement to the driver’s home country license and is valid for a certain period of time. It is issued by an authorized body in the driver’s home country and is accepted in most countries around the world.

History of International Driving License

The international driving license was first introduced in 1949 when the United Nations created the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic.

This convention provided uniform regulations for the recognition of driving licenses between different countries. Since then, the international driving license has become a requirement for many countries to be able to drive a motor vehicle legally in that country.

Advantages of Having an International Driving License

The main advantage of having an international drivers permit is that it allows drivers to drive in a foreign country legally. This can be especially useful for those traveling abroad for business or pleasure.

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Furthermore, an international driving license can serve as a form of identification as many countries recognize it and can also help to prove a driver’s identity in case of a traffic violation.

Disadvantages of Having an International Driving License

Although there are many advantages to having an international driving license, there are some disadvantages as well. For example, an international driving license can be expensive, and the process of obtaining one can be lengthy.

Additionally, it is important to note that an international driving license is only valid for the period of time stated on the license and in the country it was issued.

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Countries that Require an International Driving License

An international driving license is required in many countries. Some of these countries include:

It is important to check the laws and regulations of the country you intend to visit before traveling, as some countries may require an international driving license even if you are only visiting for a short period of time.

Eligibility Criteria for Obtaining an International Driving License

In order to obtain an international driving license, a driver must first be eligible. The eligibility criteria can vary depending on the country; however, in most cases, the driver must be at least 18 years of age, have a valid home country license, and have had no serious traffic offenses in the last three years.

Documents Required for Applying for an International Driving License

When applying for an international driving license, certain documents must be provided. These documents may include a valid passport, a valid home country license, proof of residence, and a certificate of insurance. Ensuring that all the documents provided are valid and up-to-date is important.

Steps to Obtaining an International Driving License

The process of obtaining an international driving license can vary depending on the country. Generally, the first step is to gather all the necessary documents and submit them to the relevant authorities. After the documents are approved, the applicant must then pass a written and practical driving test. Once the tests are completed, the applicant will be issued an international driving license.

Costs Associated With Obtaining an International Driving License

The costs associated with obtaining an international driving license can vary depending on the country. Generally, the costs include the application fee, the testing fee, and the fee for the actual license. It is important to note that the applicant may also be required to pay for medical examinations and insurance in some countries.

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Conclusion

An international driving license is a document that allows a driver to drive a motor vehicle in a foreign country legally. It is available as a supplement to the driver’s home country license and is valid for a certain period of time.

In order to obtain an international driving license, the applicant must meet certain eligibility criteria and provide certain documents. The process of obtaining an international driving license can vary from country to country, and its costs can also vary.

The 8 Best National Parks to Visit in France

France is not just about its world-famous cities and elegant wine regions. Its rich tapestry is also complemented by the incredible diversity of natural landscapes found in its national parks.

There are 11 designated national parks located throughout France. Each park is a treasure trove of nature’s marvels and is steeped in French history and culture. Of those, we’ll explore the top 8 national parks that everyone must visit and explore.

If you’re a lover of nature, hiking, and breathtaking vistas, you’ve come to the right place. So, put on your hiking boots, grab a map, and get ready to embark on a journey through 8 of the best national parks in France.

Note: If you’re planning a trip to one of these parks in the near future, be aware that the France ETIAS Visa Waiver will be mandatory for visa-exempt foreigners from 2024.

Armorique Natural Regional Park

Nestled in Brittany in Northern France, Armorique offers an eclectic blend of maritime, cultural, and pastoral landscapes. From the ancient, rugged Arrée Mountains to the stunning coastal lines of the Crozon peninsula, every turn provides a visual feast.

Photo by Herby under CCBYSA4.0 on Wikipedia

But his park isn’t just about landscapes; it’s also steeped in Breton culture. Small, picturesque towns dot the region, making it perfect for adventurers and culture seekers.

Calanques National Park

Located between Marseille and Cassis, Calanques National Park boasts a unique coastal landscape of rocky inlets and azure coves. The contrast of the dramatic white limestone cliffs against the deep turquoise waters of the Mediterranean creates a stunning visual spectacle.

 

Photo by Petra Zehner under CC BY-SA 3.0 on Wikipedia

Accessible by land and sea, you can hike the rugged trails to discover secluded beaches or embark on a boat trip to appreciate the water’s beauty fully. Beyond its landscapes, Calanques is also a biodiversity hotspot.

From the Peregrine falcon to the rare underwater Posidonia meadows, nature thrives in this sun-kissed paradise. For a mix of Mediterranean charm and rugged beauty, Calanques National Park is the perfect destination.

Cévennes National Park

The rugged Cévennes National Park is a UNESCO biosphere reserve situated in the south of France near Montpellier. Its maze of deep valleys, winding rivers, and towering mountain peaks makes it a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.

The park’s diverse landscape supports a variety of wildlife, from birds like harriers and kestrels to the unique Przewalski horse breed. Ancient stone villages, often described as the soul of the region, also provide a glimpse into French history.

Ecrins National Park

In the heart of the French Alps, south of Grenoble, lies Ecrins National Park, a mesmerizing tapestry of glaciers, valleys, and towering peaks. With mountains that rise up to 4,000 meters, it’s a mountaineer’s dream.

For those keen on flora and fauna, Ecrins also doesn’t disappoint. From the delicate Alpine pasque flower to the majestic golden eagle, biodiversity thrives in this high-altitude wonderland.

Like the iconic GR54, numerous trails snake through its landscapes, offering hikers unparalleled vistas at every turn. Ecrins National Park is a must-visit whether you’re a seasoned climber aiming for the peak of Barre des Écrins or a nature lover wanting to bask in Alpine beauty.

Le Perche Natural Regional Park

A haven of tranquility, Le Perche is located in Normandy in the north-west of France, close to Paris. Characterized by its gently rolling hills, forests, and traditional farmland, it offers a delightfully rustic setting.

The park is famed for its Percheron horses and apple orchards, making it an essential visit for equestrian lovers and cider aficionados. What’s more, exploring its many old manors and traditional farms will transport you to a bygone era.

Parc National des Pyrénées

Spanning the border between France and Spain, the Pyrénées National Park showcases some of Europe’s most spectacular mountain landscapes. Whether you’re basking in the splendor of the Cirque de Gavarnie or hiking to the peak of Vignemale, the beauty of this park is undeniable.

 

Beyond its landscapes, it’s home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, including the brown bear and the bearded vulture. Winter or summer, it remains a must-visit.

Mercantour National Park

Only an hour’s drive from the French Riviera, Mercantour is where the mountains meet the Mediterranean. From its pristine Alpine lakes to the Valley of Wonders with its prehistoric engravings, the park is teeming with surprises.

Mercantour’s biodiversity is awe-inspiring; marmots, ibexes, and even wolves can be spotted here. Adventure seekers can indulge in snow sports in winter or embark on the park’s numerous hiking trails during summer.

Vanoise National Park

Vanoise, France’s first national park, sits in the heart of the Alps and offers an unrivaled alpine experience. With over 500 km of marked trails, it caters to both the casual stroller and the seasoned mountaineer.

Its high-altitude terrain nurtures a myriad of flora and fauna, like edelweiss flowers and chamois. The park, which borders Italian Gran Paradiso National Park, also exemplifies nature conservation across borders.

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Dog Travel Tips: Everything You Need to Know

Traveling can be one of life’s most enriching experiences, and sharing those journeys with our furry companions can make them even more memorable. Plus, with a few ‘Dog Travel Tips,’ it will become easier too.

Moreover, as we plan meticulously for ourselves, ensuring our pets’ comfort and safety during these travels is essential.

Hence, this article aims to delve deep into the factors every pet owner should consider, depending on the means of transportation, because these factors determine your dog’s traveling experience.

So, if you also wish to know how you and your furbaby can have a stress-free and fun trip together, keep reading!

Assessing Your Dog’s Readiness for Travel

Before embarking, it’s vital to consider if your dog is fit for travel. Schedule a check-up with your vet to ensure your pet is healthy.

Additionally, reflect on their behavior: does your dog easily adjust to new settings? Also, factor in their age. Puppies and older dogs might have different needs.

Factors to Consider When Traveling With A Dog

Traveling with your dog can be a wonderful bonding experience, but choosing the right mode of transportation is vital for ensuring your and your dog’s comfort.

Whether heading out on a road trip or flying to a faraway destination, it’s crucial to consider the following factors in each travel method and how to prepare best.

1. Traveling By Car

  • Safety First: Just as seat belts are crucial for human passengers, proper restraints are essential for your dog. Invest in a well-fitted harness or a dog-specific seat belt to keep them safe and secure. Avoid letting them stick their head out of the window, as debris can harm their eyes or ears.
  • Avoid Car Sickness: If your dog isn’t used to car rides, start with short trips around the block to acclimatize them. Refrain from feeding them 2-3 hours before the journey to minimize the chances of motion sickness.
  • Take Breaks: Regularly stop for bathroom and exercise breaks, especially on longer trips. It allows your dog to stretch their legs and hydrate.

2. Flying with Your Dog

  • Understand Airline Policies: Each airline has its regulations regarding traveling with pets. Familiarize yourself with these rules well in advance. Some might allow small dogs to enter the cabin. Whereas many require them to be in the cargo hold.
  • Crate Training: If your dog needs to be created, ensure the crate is airline-approved and that your dog is comfortable staying in it for the duration of the flight.
  • Health Check: Many airlines require a recent health certificate from your vet. Additionally, discuss calming techniques or medications if your dog is an anxious flyer.

3. Train or Bus Journeys

  • Know the Policies: Public transportation policies vary widely concerning pets. While some trains or buses might be pet-friendly, others have strict restrictions.
  • Crate or Carrier: Like flying, a secure crate or carrier is often necessary on trains or buses. Ensure it’s comfortable and familiar for your dog.
  • Duration: Unlike car trips, where you can decide when to take breaks, trains or buses have fixed schedules. Ensure your dog can handle the duration without needing bathroom breaks.

4. Packing Essentials for Your Dog

Packing for your dog is similar to packing for a child. Bring along their regular food, water, medications, and health records. Don’t forget toys to keep them entertained with a few fun games to play with your dog, proper identification, and cleaning supplies for potential messes.

5. Finding Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Not all lodgings welcome pets. Do your research to identify dog-friendly places. Once you find a place, understand their pet rules and associated fees.

To help your dog adjust, bring along familiar items like their bedding.

6. Etiquette and Behavior in New Environments

As you introduce your dog to new places, ensure they are well-behaved. Always have them on a leash in public areas and introduce them slowly to new animals or people. It’s also crucial to familiarize yourself with local pet-related rules.

7. Emergency Preparedness

Be ready for the unexpected. Recognize when your dog might be stressed or unwell. Carry a first-aid kit tailored for dogs. Also, identify nearby vets or emergency services wherever you’re staying.

Additionally, don’t forget to get your dog a GPS-tracking collar to keep tabs on them when out on a trip.

8. Adjusting Post-Travel

Once your trip concludes, give your dog ample time to return to their routine. Monitor their health and behavior with the help of an activity tracker like Fi collar and halo collar to detect any unusual signs.

Plus, as always, provide plenty of love and comfort to assure them.

Conclusion

By considering the Dog Travel Tips, you can ensure that your dog doesn’t just go on the journey but genuinely enjoys it.

Plus, remember, our pets look up to us for their well-being. It’s our responsibility to make informed choices for them, considering their comfort, safety, and happiness.

As a pet parent, I would recommend, as you embark on future trips with your dog; let the bond be strengthened by the care you invest in.

FAQs: Dog Travel Tips

How Do I Prepare My Dog for Travel?

First, visit the vet to ensure your dog is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. Secondly, obtain documents like health certificates, microchip information, and any required permits.

Where Can My Dog Stay During Travel?

You can stay in Pet-friendly hotels, motels, or vacation rentals and Research accommodations in advance and confirm their pet policies.

What Safety Precautions Should I Take?

You should ensure your dog wears a secure collar with identification tags, Microchip your dog, and update your contact information. Plus, never leave your dog alone in a hot car.

The Cathedral of Barcelona: A Marvel of Gothic Architecture

Welcome to our guide on the Cathedral of Barcelona, one of the most impressive examples of Gothic architecture in the world. Located in the heart of the city’s Gothic Quarter, this magnificent cathedral is a true masterpiece of architectural design, art, and history.

The Cathedral of Barcelona is a stunning example of Gothic architecture and an iconic landmark in the city. To visit this magnificent cathedral, it’s important to purchase Cathedral of Barcelona tickets in advance.

With your ticket, you can explore the intricate details of the cathedral’s interior and learn about its rich history.

The history of Barcelona Cathedral dates back to the 13th century when construction began on the site of a former Romanesque cathedral. Over the centuries, the cathedral has undergone several transformations and renovations, resulting in a unique blend of architectural styles. Today, it stands as a symbol of Barcelona’s rich cultural and religious heritage.

History

The Cathedral of Barcelona, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, is dedicated to the patron saint of the city.

The construction of the cathedral began in the 13th century, and it took over 150 years to complete. During this time, several architects, including Jaume Fabre and Guillem Sagrera, contributed to the design of the cathedral, resulting in a unique blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.

Architecture

The Cathedral of Barcelona is renowned for its stunning Gothic architecture, which features intricate details and towering spires. The most striking feature of the cathedral is its façade, which includes a series of ornate portals, each with a unique design.

The central portal, known as the Portal of Saint Ivo, is particularly impressive, with its intricate carvings and sculptures.

Inside the cathedral, visitors can marvel at the stunning nave, which stretches over 90 meters and is illuminated by beautiful stained-glass windows. The choir stalls, located in the center of the nave, are a masterpiece of woodworking and feature intricate carvings of biblical scenes.

One of the highlights of the Cathedral of Barcelona is the cloister, which is located on the east side of the cathedral. The cloister features a tranquil garden and a series of chapels, each with its own unique design and artwork.

Artwork

The Cathedral of Barcelona is home to a vast collection of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and tapestries. One of the most impressive works of art in the cathedral is the altarpiece of Saint Eulalia, which features a series of intricate carvings and paintings depicting the life of the saint.

Another notable work of art in the cathedral is the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, which is located behind the high altar. The chapel features a stunning altarpiece, as well as a series of paintings and sculptures.

Visitors to the Cathedral of Barcelona can also admire the impressive collection of tapestries, which date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. These tapestries, which are made from wool and silk, feature intricate designs and were used to decorate the cathedral during religious festivals.

Visiting the Cathedral of Barcelona

The Cathedral of Barcelona is open to visitors every day, and admission is free. However, visitors are encouraged to make a donation to support the maintenance and upkeep of the cathedral.

Guided tours of the cathedral are available in several languages, and visitors can also rent audio guides to learn more about the history and architecture of the cathedral.

Conclusion

The Cathedral of Barcelona is a true marvel of Gothic architecture and a must-see destination for anyone visiting the city.

With its intricate design, stunning artwork, and rich history, the cathedral is a testament to the enduring legacy of the Gothic period and the enduring power of human creativity and innovation.

St. Vitus Cathedral Prague: A Symbol of Architectural Brilliance

Welcome to our article about St. Vitus Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture that represents one of the most significant landmarks in the heart of Prague, Czech Republic.

St. Vitus Cathedral is a magnificent building that houses a rich history and an incredible amount of architectural detail.

In this article, we will provide you with comprehensive information about the cathedral, its history, architecture, and significance, as well as tips on how to best experience this incredible monument.

St. George’s Basilica is a beautiful and historic church located within the walls of Prague Castle, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

Founded in the 10th century, it has been an important religious and cultural center for over a millennium. With its stunning Romanesque and Baroque architecture, the rich collection of art, and fascinating history, St. George’s Basilica is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Prague.

A Brief History of St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral is the largest and the most important church in Prague. The construction of the cathedral started in 1344 during the reign of Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, and it took almost six centuries to complete.

The cathedral has been built in several architectural styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque, which is evident in its diverse details and decorations.

Architecture and Design of St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral is a perfect example of Gothic architecture. The exterior of the cathedral is characterized by its tall spires, intricate carvings, and flying buttresses. The cathedral’s main facade is dominated by the monumental west window, which is the largest in Europe. The window features intricate tracery and stunning stained glass, depicting scenes from the Bible and the life of St. Vitus.

The interior of the cathedral is equally impressive, with its tall nave and vaulted ceilings, adorned with intricate ribbing and decorations. The nave features a stunning rose window, which is one of the most impressive pieces of stained glass in the world. The cathedral’s choir is home to the stunning St. Wenceslas Chapel, which features a beautiful mosaic depicting the life of the patron saint of the Czech Republic.

Significance of St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral is not only a symbol of architectural brilliance but also an important cultural and religious landmark. The cathedral has been the site of numerous important events throughout its history, including the coronation of Czech kings and queens.

It also houses the tombs of several Bohemian kings, including Charles IV and Wenceslas IV. St. Vitus Cathedral is also an important pilgrimage site for Catholics and a must-visit destination for tourists.

Tips on Visiting St. Vitus Cathedral

If you are planning to visit St. Vitus Cathedral, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, the cathedral is open every day, but the opening hours vary depending on the season. Secondly, the cathedral can get very busy, especially during peak tourist season, so it’s advisable to arrive early to avoid long queues.

Lastly, the cathedral has a strict dress code, and visitors are expected to dress modestly and cover their shoulders and knees.

Conclusion

St. Vitus Cathedral is an iconic landmark that represents the rich history and culture of Prague. Its incredible architecture and design, as well as its religious and cultural significance, make it a must-visit destination for tourists and a significant site for Catholics.

With this comprehensive guide, we hope we have provided you with valuable insights into St. Vitus Cathedral and how to best experience it.

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Ponte Sant’Angelo: The Stunning Bridge of Angels in Rome

Ponte Sant Angelo, also known as the Bridge of Angels, is a historic landmark in Rome, Italy. The bridge features stunning angel sculptures and offers beautiful views of the Tiber River and nearby attractions such as Castel Sant’Angelo. Don’t miss out on visiting this iconic bridge during your trip to Rome.

If you are planning to visit Rome, Ponte Sant’Angelo is a must-see landmark. The bridge is not only a great example of Baroque architecture, but also carries an interesting history that dates back to the Roman era.

Castel Sant Angelo, also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian (pictured above), is a famous landmark in Rome, Italy. There are many attractions near Castel Sant Angelo that are worth visiting, such as the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica (pictured below), and the Ponte Sant Angelo Bridge.

Additionally, the historic city center is just a short walk away, offering visitors a wide range of cultural and culinary experiences.

Overview of Ponte Sant’Angelo

Ponte Sant’Angelo is a pedestrian bridge that spans the Tiber River, connecting the historic center of Rome with Vatican City. The bridge is famous for its 10 stunning angel statues, which were created by Bernini and his students in the 17th century.

 

History of Ponte Sant’Angelo

The bridge was originally built by Emperor Hadrian in 134 AD as a way to reach his mausoleum, which is now known as the Castel Sant’Angelo. Over time, the bridge underwent several transformations and restorations, including the addition of the angel statues in the 17th century.

The bridge played an important role in the history of Rome, as it was the only bridge connecting the city with the Vatican City. During the Renaissance, the bridge was also used as a parade route for the Popes and their entourage.

Architecture of Ponte Sant’Angelo

The bridge is a great example of Baroque architecture, which was popular in the 17th century. The bridge is decorated with several statues, including the 10 angel statues created by Bernini and his students. The angels are depicted in different poses, representing different aspects of the Passion of Christ.

The bridge is also adorned with several decorative features, including the coat of arms of Pope Clement IX, who commissioned the angel statues.

Visiting Ponte Sant’Angelo

Ponte Sant’Angelo is easily accessible by foot from the historic center of Rome. The bridge offers stunning views of the Tiber River and the Castel Sant’Angelo. Visitors can also take a stroll along the bridge and admire the intricate details of the angel statues.

At night, the bridge is beautifully lit up, making it a great spot for a romantic stroll or a peaceful evening walk.

Conclusion

Ponte Sant’Angelo is a must-see landmark in Rome, with its stunning Baroque architecture and rich history. The bridge offers breathtaking views of the Tiber River and the Castel Sant’Angelo, making it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

If you are planning a trip to Rome, make sure to add Ponte Sant’Angelo to your itinerary. It is a great way to experience the rich history and beauty of Rome, while also enjoying a leisurely stroll along the Tiber River.

Top 8 Florence Attractions: Exploring the Gems of Tuscany

Florence attractions tickets are a must-have for any visitor to this charming Italian city. With your tickets, you can explore the iconic Uffizi Gallery, home to masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci.

You can also marvel at the stunning architecture of the Florence Cathedral or climb the famous Duomo for panoramic views of the city.

The best time to visit Florence is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and the crowds are thinner.

However, if you want to experience the city’s vibrant energy, summer (July to August) is the peak season, but expect long lines and high temperatures. Winter (December to February) is the low season but still offers a cozy atmosphere and fewer tourists.

Welcome to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance and a city that takes pride in its cultural heritage. Located in the heart of Tuscany, Florence offers a rich tapestry of historical attractions, artistic treasures, and culinary delights that attract millions of visitors every year.

In this guide, we will take you on a journey through some of the must-see Florence attractions that will leave you spellbound.

The Magnificent Duomo: Florence’s Iconic Cathedral

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, commonly known as the Duomo, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and one of the most recognizable landmarks of Florence.

Built-in the 15th century, the cathedral’s massive dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, is an engineering marvel that dominates the city’s skyline. Visitors can climb to the top of the dome and enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of Florence.

The Renaissance Marvel: Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is a treasure trove of Renaissance art, housing an impressive collection of masterpieces from the likes of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael.

The gallery is a must-visit for art lovers and history buffs who want to explore the cultural heritage of Florence. Visitors can take a guided tour of the gallery to learn about the history and significance of the artworks on display.

The Renaissance’s Cradle: Galleria dell’Accademia

The Galleria dell’Accademia is another must-visit Florence attraction that is home to Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture, the David.

The gallery also features a collection of other works of art, including sculptures, paintings, and musical instruments. Visitors can take a guided tour of the gallery to learn about the artistic and cultural significance of the works on display.

The Bridge of Gold: Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio is a historic bridge that spans the Arno River and is one of the most iconic landmarks of Florence. The bridge is famous for its shops that sell jewelry, artwork, and souvenirs, and visitors can take a leisurely stroll across the bridge and soak in the stunning views of the river and the city.

The Opulent Palace: Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti is a grand palace that was once the residence of the powerful Medici family. Today, the palace houses several museums and galleries, including the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, and the Museum of Costume and Fashion.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the palace and explore the opulent interiors and impressive art collections.

The Splendid Square: Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria is a bustling square in the heart of Florence that is home to several iconic sculptures and architectural marvels.

The square features the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, a medieval fortress that now serves as the town hall of Florence, and the Fountain of Neptune, a stunning work of art that dates back to the 16th century.

The Romantic Gardens: Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens is a sprawling park that covers more than 45,000 square meters and is one of the most picturesque attractions in Florence.

The gardens are home to several sculptures, fountains, and landscaped gardens that offer a serene retreat from the bustling city. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and enjoy the beautiful views of Florence and the surrounding hills.

The Historic Basilica: Basilica di Santa Croce

The Basilica di Santa Croce is a historic church that is the final resting place of several famous figures, including Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli.

The church’s stunning façade and interior are adorned with frescoes, sculptures, and tombs that offer a glimpse into the city’s rich.

Enjoy your visit! There is a lot to explore in the beautiful city of Florence!

Discover the Beauty of Keukenhof Garden

Welcome to Keukenhof Garden, one of the world’s largest flower gardens located in Lisse, Netherlands. Keukenhof is known for its stunning displays of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, and other spring flowers.

If you are planning to visit Keukenhof Garden, we have compiled everything you need to know in this comprehensive guide.

Keukenhof Garden Tickets offer access to one of the world’s most famous flower gardens, located in the Netherlands. Visitors can enjoy over seven million bulbs in bloom, including tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. The park is open from late March to mid-May and tickets can be purchased online or at the entrance.

There are plenty of things to do in Keukenhof Garden, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Netherlands.

Visitors can stroll through the beautiful gardens and admire the vibrant flowers, take a guided tour, enjoy a picnic, or even rent a bike and explore the surrounding tulip fields.

Getting to Keukenhof Garden

Keukenhof Garden is easily accessible by public transportation or car. If you are taking public transportation, take a train to Schiphol Airport, and from there, take a direct bus to Keukenhof Garden.

The bus ride takes around 30 minutes, and you can purchase your bus tickets online or at the airport. If you are driving, Keukenhof Garden offers free parking.

When to Visit Keukenhof Garden

Keukenhof Garden is open annually from mid-March to mid-May, and the best time to visit is mid-April when the tulips are in full bloom. However, keep in mind that Keukenhof Garden is a popular tourist destination, and it can get crowded during peak seasons. To avoid crowds, try to visit early in the morning or on a weekday.

Exploring Keukenhof Garden

Once you arrive at Keukenhof Garden, you will be amazed by the vibrant colors and fragrances of the flowers. The garden is spread over 32 hectares and features over 7 million flowers. Take a stroll through the winding paths and discover the different themed gardens, such as the Japanese garden, English landscape garden, and historical garden.

If you want to learn more about the flowers, join a guided tour or visit the flower shows, where experts showcase their designs and creations. Keukenhof Garden also offers activities for children, such as a petting zoo and a playground.

Dining at Keukenhof Garden

Keukenhof Garden offers a wide range of dining options, from casual to fine dining. Enjoy a snack or a hot beverage at one of the garden’s cafes or indulge in a three-course meal at the restaurant. You can also bring your own food and have a picnic in one of the designated picnic areas.

Shopping at Keukenhof Garden

If you want to take home a piece of Keukenhof Garden, visit the souvenir shops, where you can find flower bulbs, seeds, and other souvenirs. The garden also has a flower market, where you can purchase fresh flowers and plants.

Final Thoughts

Keukenhof Garden is a must-visit destination for flower lovers and nature enthusiasts. Plan your visit in advance and make the most of your trip. We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to know about Keukenhof Garden.

Enjoy your visit!

Unique Places: Iceland’s Pridrangar Lighthouse

Iceland’s Pridrangar lighthouse is often described as the most isolated lighthouse in the world. It is a historical and iconic landmark that has stood guard over the country’s rugged coastline for over a century.

Located on the western coast of Iceland, the Pridrangar lighthouse is an essential navigational aid for ships sailing in the treacherous waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Cover Photo by Richard Tanguy CCBY3.0

Located on Iceland’s rugged and beautiful coast, it is a must-see destination for anyone visiting this unique and fascinating country. Here are a few fun facts about this fascinating and beautiful lighthouse:

  1. The Pridrangar lighthouse was built in 1906 to help guide ships safely through the narrow and rocky waters off the coast of Iceland. It was the first lighthouse to be built in the country and was an important step in developing Iceland’s modern maritime infrastructure.
  2. The Thridrangar lighthouse is only accessible by helicopter. Also, it is actually uninhabitable. No one lives here.
  3. The Pridrangar lighthouse is located on a small island called Vigur, which is located off the coast of the town of Isafjordur. The island is home to a small population of birds, including puffins and other seabirds, and is a popular destination for birdwatchers.
  4. The Pridrangar lighthouse is powered by renewable energy sources, including solar panels and wind turbines. It is one of the first lighthouses in the world to be powered entirely by renewable energy and serves as a model for other lighthouses around the world.
  5. The Pridrangar lighthouse is known for its beautiful and distinctive design, which features a white stone tower with a red roof and a black-and-white striped pattern on the lower portion of the tower. The lighthouse is visible for many miles out to sea and is a well-known landmark for sailors navigating the treacherous waters of the North Atlantic.
  6. The Pridrangar lighthouse has played an important role in Iceland’s history and has been the site of many important events. In World War II, the lighthouse was used as a lookout station by the Icelandic Coast Guard and was also used as a radio station for ships sailing in the North Atlantic.
  7. Today, the Pridrangar lighthouse is a popular tourist attraction and is open to visitors during the summer months. Visitors can tour the lighthouse, learn about its history, and enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding coastline.

Overall, the Pridrangar lighthouse is a fascinating and historic landmark that is rich in history and beauty.

Top 10 Best Things To Do In Tenerife

To have the best time of your life on Tenerife Island, here are our suggestions for the top 10 best things to do in Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands in Spain.

Pro Tip: Book your accommodation in a central location that is close to popular attractions, restaurants, and bars. We booked our hotel/resort in Santiago del Teide.

Overview of the 9 days trip

Day 1 check in to your hotel and/or resort and get rested for your upcoming epic trip. To find the best place to stay, check out vacation rentals in Tenerife with cozycozy.

Day 2 Explore Teide National Park

  • Mirador de los Poleos
  • Teide National Park
  • Mount Teide
  • Mirador de El Corral del Nino
  • Teide Observatory
  • Cascada Barranco del Rio
  • Piasaje Lunar
  • Boca Tauce

Day 3 Hike Masca Valley, Charco Los Chochos, & explore North-Western beaches

  • Charcos Los Chochos
  • Rural de Teno park
  • Hike Masca Valley
  • Playa de Juan Lopez
  • Playa del Carrizal
  • Masca Beach

Day 4 Playa Guios, Los Gigantes, and Playa Arena

  • Playa de los Guios
  • Los Gigantes
  • Playa de la Arena

Day 5 Loro Park, La Laguna, Astro Observatory, & Santa Cruz

  • Loro Park
  • La Laguna town, a UNESCO Heritage
  • Institute of Astrophysics\
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Day 6 Explore South-Western Beaches, do Dolphins and Whale watching, & visit Los Cristianos

  • Playa San Juan
  • Abama beach
  • Playa de las Americas
  • Los Cristianos
  • Playa de la Tejita

Day 7 Anaga Rural Park & Mirador Aguaide

Day 8 Playa de Las Teresitas & Benijo

Day-by-Day Tenerife Trip Plan

1. Visit the famous Teide National Park and hike to the top of Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. There are several scenic pit spots on the way.

2. Enjoy the beautiful beaches of north-western Tenerife. Go swimming, surfing, or snorkeling in crystal clear waters. Visit the Tenerife Cliffs also locally known as the Los Gigantes.

The Los Gigantes Cliffs are aptly named, as they are one of Tenerife’s most spectacular landscapes. Located on Tenerife’s western coast, the sheer, rocky walls of Los Gigantes (giants) rise majestically above the sea, with heights reaching up to 600 meters.

3. Visit the historic town of La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and explore its beautiful architecture and museums.

4. Experience the nightlife of Tenerife and visit some of the popular clubs and bars in Playa de las Americas or Los Cristianos.

Los Cristianos Coast in Tenerife

5. Go on a boat tour and see the dolphins and whales in their natural habitat.

6. Visit the Loro Parque, a famous zoo and amusement park, and see the exotic animals and thrilling rides.

7. Try some of the local cuisine, such as papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) and mojo (spicy sauce), and taste some of the famous wines of Tenerife.

8. Visit the Mount Teide Observatory and see the stars and planets through the telescopes.

9. Take a trip to the neighboring island of La Gomera and explore its beautiful forests and nature reserves.

10. Relax and unwind in one of the many spas and wellness centers in Tenerife and rejuvenate your mind and body.

You can also try out water sports such as surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean. But most importantly, take time to relax and unwind at the end of your trip, enjoying the island’s peaceful atmosphere and beautiful sunsets.

Wilderness Backpacking Tips for Beginners

Backpacking comes with tons of benefits to it, both mentally and physically. You’ll recharge your batteries, become relaxed, and you’ll regret not going for an outdoor adventure sooner. But, later is better than never, and you need to know a few basics beforehand. Going into the wild without any previous knowledge can easily turn into a disaster, but lucky for you, we’ll walk you through the basics of wilderness backpacking.

“Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.” — Antonio Machado

There are two generally distinct kinds of backpacking:

  • Wilderness backpacking — hiking in areas away from civilization, sleeping in tents or cabins
  • Urban backpacking — traveling from city to city, sleeping in hostels or other lodgings

In the rest of the blog, we’ll cover wilderness backpacking tips as a form of self-reliant travel that affords opportunities to see off-road sights available no other way.

Wilderness Backpacking Tips

We’ll remain beginner-friendly, tell you all about the equipment you’ll need and what and how to pack, and share some of the best backpacking meals and ideas with you to have enough energy to enjoy a great adventure!

The importance of having the right equipment

Once you decide to pursue your outdoor adventures, you need to be prepared to invest in some high-quality gear that will have multiple purposes and will also last you for at least several years. It’s no joke; gear can be pretty expensive. You’ll need a tent, sleeping bag, and comfy backpack if you’re looking for adventure. 

Your backpack should be big enough to fit all of your things inside. It would be best if you purchase one with foamy cushions on the shoulders and the back. That way, there will be fewer pressure points, and you’ll carry it around with ease.

Ideally, the backpack should have multiple compartments for better organization. You don’t want to look for the matches at the bottom of your backpack, right? 

If you plan to share your tent with people, you should definitely look for a bigger one, but if privacy is your priority, then a small tent will serve its purpose. You also get to pick your favorite color!

The sleeping bag also comes in different shapes and sizes, but what matters most is the filling product. There are sleeping bags with synthetic fill and ones with natural filling. Thanks to advanced tech, the later ones can be safely purchased by people with allergies!

Do not underestimate the trail

Sometimes, the trail can be closer to your home, and you’ll think that it’s going to be a quick journey.  You’ll pack lightly, grab a water bottle and one sweater, and be on your way. Well, that’s the biggest mistake you can make.

No matter how small the trail is, and no matter how close to civilization you are, you should always prepare beforehand. That’s the golden rule of all backpackers out there- never underestimate the trail.

Look for online testimonies, read about the trail, and ask people who’ve been there already. That is the best way you can learn all about it. Also, make sure to check if the trail is marked if there is a drinkable water source, and preferably, sleeping huts in case it gets cold during the night.

It would be best if you could take a quick look at it by driving around the area, especially if there is a road nearby.

Pack and dress accordingly

Depending on the season, and the kind of trail you choose, you need to pack accordingly. If it’s summer, you’ll have no need for an extra warm sweater, but you can forget all about that tank top you planned on wearing if it’s winter.

Depending on the terrain, you can opt for comfortable walking shoes or boots with thick soles that will protect your feet and ankles. Either way, you can ditch those oxfords that you find super cute. 

When you’re packing, put the tent, the sleeping bag, and the extra clothes at the very bottom or on top of the backpack. Secure them if necessary. In the smaller compartments of your backpack, you can store a power bank, flashlight, matches, or lighter, and a basic first aid kit.

Put your pocket knife in the smallest compartment; you never know when you might need it.

Food and water

It is one of the most important things to bring with you on your hike. Your backpack should have enough space to store water bottles and snacks. If you’re a whole group, you can split your stashes amongst each other to relieve some of the weight on your shoulders. You can even bring meat with you, set up a campfire, and have a friendly night filled with chat and laughter.

But if not, premade food is your friend here. Always look for food that is high in calories and full of nutrients. Forget all about the calorie count. You’ll be moving a lot, carrying a lot of weight, so you’ll be burning those calories in no time. You might even drop a pound or two in a matter of days.

The food that you’ll bring should contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fibers. Also, just when you think that you have enough water, put one extra bottle inside your backpack; you never know when you might need it.

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Hidden Gems in Rome: Off the Beaten Track

Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy and the entire world, with around 9 million people visiting from around the globe each year.

Most people stay for just a few days and try to check off the biggest sights – the things you can’t afford to miss, like the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Pantheon.

The Pantheon

But if you’re looking for something beyond the obvious to give your holiday a little something extra, check out these sights and really make the most out of your time in La Città Eterna.

The viewpoint at Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi

If you want a great view of the city, walking up to the top of the Janiculum Hill is essential. It can be a bit of a tough walk if you’re already tired from a day of sightseeing, but the views are well worth the effort.

Arrive in the large, open square to see a huge statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a key figure in the unification of Italy, astride his horse, looking out across the capital of the country he helped to create.

From here, you can see the whole city – the Colosseum and Roman Forum included – and if you cross over the square, you can watch the sun go down behind the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican.

Get there in the early evening to snag a spot on the wall, grab a takeaway cocktail from one of the kiosks, and settle in.

The Fountain of the Acqua Paola

Just around the corner from the Janiculum Hill’s viewpoint is a huge monumental fountain. Built in 1612, it marks the end of an underground aqueduct originally built by the emperor Trajan.

In the seventeenth century, the aqueduct brought essential drinking water to the Trastevere area of Rome and culminated in this elaborate fountain.

If it looks familiar, it might be because it actually served as the inspiration for the better-known Trevi Fountain, built over 100 years later.

There’s another gorgeous view of the city here, and it tends to be a little quieter than the viewpoint at Piazza Garibaldi as there are no kiosks serving drinks, so you might be in with a better chance of snagging a place to sit.

The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

Yes, that’s right, a cat sanctuary. If you’re a cat person, you probably won’t need much more convincing, but this sight is worth a visit regardless of your feelings towards our furry friends.

It’s situated among the ruins of four ancient temples, dating from 400–300 BC, and it’s also the site of Julius Caesar’s infamous murder on the Ides of March.

While it’s not possible to walk around the ruins themselves, you can get a good view of them from the street level, so peer over the railings to marvel at the well-preserved columns and slabs of ancient tufa.

Throughout the year, you’ll see the stray cats of Rome who have been taken in by the sanctuary basking in the sunshine or lying in the shade of these once-vast temples.

The sanctuary itself welcomes visitors, so if you need a sightseeing break or are looking to cuddle up with some cats, look no further!

The Borghese Gallery and Museum

If art is more up your street, take a trip to the Galleria Borghese, home to some of Bernini’s most famous sculptures.

Housed within the Villa Borghese and the surrounding park (one of the largest in Rome), the gallery’s upper floor contains paintings by Raphael, Titian, Correggio, and Rubens.

The lower floor displays two of the most jaw-dropping sculptures of the Baroque period: Bernini’s Rape of Persephone and Apollo and Daphne.

Bernini’s Rape of Persephone

Wonder at these marble masterpieces, including neoclassical works by Canova, and gaze at ancient mosaics before taking a stroll around the expansive park – a perfect place for an evening passeggiata (promenade), an Italian tradition.

Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls

This huge basilica is one of four ancient papal basilicas in Rome and is the largest church in the city other than Saint Peter’s in the Vatican.

Situated outside the Aurelian Walls, which traditionally contained the city’s fabled seven hills, it’s often overlooked by tourists, but its rich history and elaborate façade make it a worthwhile visit.

St Paul’s outside the walls

Home to the bones of Saint Paul himself, the church has been repeatedly pillaged throughout history, eventually leading to the construction of a fortified town, Johannispolis, the ruins of which you can still visit today.

Inside the church itself, as well as thirteenth-century mosaics and a fourteenth-century crucifix, look out for the series of mosaic portraits of all the popes.

Legend has it that when there are no spaces left for portraits of new popes, the world will end – there are now only six spaces left, so visit while you still can!

The Isola Tiberina

This island in the middle of the River Tiber is a marvel. To reach the island, just walk across the city’s only intact ancient Roman bridge, the Ponte Fabricio (look out for the four-headed stone gatekeepers as you start to cross).

View from Ponte Fabricio

Once on the island, you’ll find a tenth-century basilica built on the site of an ancient temple, and a restaurant that wafts out gorgeous smells at all times of the day.

The four-headed gatekeeper

Wander around the circumference of the island and sit down at the eastern end to gaze up at another Roman bridge, the Ponte Rotto (‘Broken Bridge’) – the oldest in the city.

This is a wonderful place to sit down and take a breather, and you’ll often spot locals coming to the island to relax with a bottle of beer and something to read. Take a leaf out of their book and wind down.

Enjoy your holiday

There are so many wonderful things to do and see in Rome, whether you want to see the ‘biggies’ or not.

If the ever-present hordes of tourists in the eternal city are off-putting for you, consider visiting these smaller sites instead. While still busy at times (Rome is a capital city, after all), you’ll find that you have more time and space to reflect, relax, and enjoy your trip.

Author Bio

Chloe is a freelance proofreader, copy editor, and writer from the UK who has spent the last year living, working, and traveling through Italy. She’s picked up great tips and tricks to help make your Italian adventure the best it can be. See more of her writing at chloelaywrites.wordpress.com.

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2020’s Year in Pictures: Past Year Review

What a year it has been! No words can fully describe all the chaos and interesting chain-of-events that took place in 2020. Many of these changes will continue to transform the world forever.

Remote work, telemedicine, political dysfunction, money printing, pandemic control, vaccine production, home schooling (just to name a few massive trends) — 2020 was one of those years where a decade has happened.

From climate change, to systemic racism, to rising wealth inequality to combating a raging pandemic which no one could effectively control in most of the world has taught us many critical lessons. Hopefully, some of these lessons will make our world a better, safer, and fairer place for all.

Okay with that said and as we are all preparing to wrap up the year, we bring you 2020 year-in-pictures.

Australia Forest Fire

Taal Volcano

Taal volcano erupts in the Philippines. From a green oasis to red death. The volcano has had several violent eruptions in the past, causing loss of life on the island and the populated areas surrounding the lake, with the death toll over 6000 as of date.

Covid Outbreak in China

Within months, the virus outbreak went loose and spread across the entire planet. Travel started to slow down and nations-states started to close their borders.

Initially, as the testing rate was low and death rate were high, panic and an impending sense of doom was all over the news. Everyone was taking extra precautions and by March, WHO declared Coronavirus a Pandemic.

Covid Testing

With time covid testing and tracing became humanity’s only chance of hope.

George Floyd

The unfortunate event that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a series of protests around the country and later across the globe around systemic racism, gender inequality, government corruption, police brutality, and other social injustices.

The protests against the police brutality and issues around the police reform led to more cases getting surfaced with either police forces using excessive force or not taking actions at all. This led to month long protests, riots, death, damage, and chaos.

California & West Coast Forest Fires

2020 US Election

This was the most important election in the recent US history. On the one side, it was pro-Trump nationalists with America-First at all cost camp vs the progressive democrats who wanted America take back the global leadership role.

Covid Lockdowns

Once the covid19 cases surpassed a million and continued rising at an alarming rate, the governments around the world had no choice but to start locking down businesses, transportation, and other human activities.

The national lockdowns around the world resulted in millions of small businesses going out of business, millions of people losing their jobs, and causing both a severe economic depression and mental health epidemic. The “real economy” is far from normal no matter what the stock markets might be telling you.

5G Launched

The long awaited 5G (fifth generation) technology finally started getting rolled out and new phone models were launched which are now 5G compatible. 5G will bring Gigabit speed for its users. Furthermore, 5G networks are predicted to reach almost 2 billion subscribers worldwide by 2025.

SpaceX, NASA & ISS

NASA astronauts were launched in a historic test flight to International Space Station (ISS) in SpaceX Dragon. This was a huge deal not just in the field of reusable-Rocket Science, but also because it made America finally independent. Up until now, all commercial launches used to be done by Russia.

Bitcoin as Digital Gold

The year 2017 put Bitcoin into the mainstream news but it was not until this year’s rise in Bitcoin price which validated Bitcoin’s true potential as a digital store of value. With the new all time high price and market cap, Bitcoin continues to lead the digital financial revolution.

Locust Swarm

As if Coronavirus was not already bad enough, the 2020 locust infestation wrecked havoc and threatened the food supply across East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Indian subcontinent. The locust outbreak this year was the worst in 70 years in Kenya, and the worst in 25 years in Ethiopia, Somalia, and India.

Murder Hornets

Speaking of Biblical level plagues, infestation, and disease, 2020 gave us three new species of murder hornets in the Pacific Northwest in North America. These are Asian giant hornets, a species that recently invaded North America.

The bigger problem is that they are a threat to bees and without bees everything else goes down in the food chain beginning with the trees. This is a huge problem that we don’t know how to solve it yet. Only time will tell.

Brexit Finalized

Brexit officially happened on January 31, 2020 and the UK has been in a transition period until the end of 2020. There are plenty of both the doom warnings and good days, but no body knows for sure how this will impact the UK in 10 years. The way things are going in the world, this doesn’t look like a happy ending for the British people.

Healthcare Workers Celebrated as True Heroes

Finally, to end this year end review on a positive note, we would like to thank our healthcare workers and all essential workers who make this world run. Covid19 made us realize that the true heroes are the people who lift up other people’s burden and take care of our sick. They were indeed the angels we needed to survive this pandemic!

If you think we are missing some key events from this year, please comment below and we will make sure to add it to our photo story.

Thanks for reading and we wish you a Happy 2021! This time is different 😉

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Don’t Make These Common Travel Mistakes

Booked your first air ticket? Congratulations, you are soon going to fly at 32,000 ft above the clouds.

Flying for the first time can be both fun and exciting. However, if you have any flying anxiety, before boarding a flight, seek professional help or enroll in an online flying course to ensure a seamless experience.

Mistakes happen and many first-time flyers make blunders that can affect their journey and overall travel experience.

Let’s find out what are the most common travel mistakes and how you can avoid them!

Forgetting to check passport Expiration

There is nothing quite like the stress that comes from booking a flight and learning your passport is expired.

Many first-time flyers often make a mistake of not checking their passport expiration date. Some countries like China and Brazil require 6 months of passport validity. This means such countries will deny you entry if your passport isn’t valid for at least 6 months after your last day of travel.

It’s better to check your passport’s expiration date and, if needed, update it to avoid any problems.

Overpacking

As a first-time flyer, it may be tempting to pack a lot of stuff to make the trip more pleasant.

However, this can make your journey difficult and can boost the chances of you getting charged with potential baggage fines.

It is advised to go through the baggage allowance policies of your airline.

Reaching late at the airport

At the airport, it is a common sight to see people arriving late and many of them end up missing their flight.

For instance, if your plane departs at 2:00 pm, that doesn’t mean you have to reach the airport 20 or 30 minutes before just to find a closed boarding gate or to watch your plane flying away from the terminal.

Procedures like getting the boarding pass, security checks, and reaching terminals can all take much longer than you believe.

So, if you’re a first-time flyer, reach the airport at least 2 to 3 hours before the scheduled departure so that you have spare time to board the flight.

Not opting for web check-in

Whether you are a rookie flyer or an experienced jet setter, web check-in should be your top priority.

By web check-in, you can:

  • avoid standing in a long queue
  • save your precious time
  • choose the desired seat on the plane
  • immediately go through the security checks and then to the boarding

Forgetting to carry in-flight entertainment

This is the most common mistake that first-time flyers make.

Whether it’s a long-haul journey or not, carrying in-flight entertainment like headphones, iPad, e-reader, or smartphone can be a lifesaver on your flight.

Some of the benefits are:

  • Makes the journey enjoyable and fun
  • Calm your flying jitters
  • Time passes quickly
  • Keep you distracted
  • Block unwanted noises

Let’s wrap up

In-advance planning, double-checking your luggage, arriving on time, and avoiding these potential mistakes can make your first flight comfortable.

Above all, don’t’ forget to communicate with your co-passengers and seek help from the crew if you feel uncomfortable.

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186-Mile Hike on the Welsh Pembrokeshire Coastline

A strange yelping noise echoed up the cliffs to meet me. The noise rose and fell on the wind and sounded much like a crying baby.

I quickened my pace along the dusty path eager to see down into the coves. Another gust of wind brought more plaintive cries to my ears.

I reached the headland and stopped short on a grassy bluff and peered over the crumbling edge. Far below me was a shingle beach that teemed with activity.

Large figures moved in and out of the turquoise waters, their grey bodies dipping into the surf and diving amongst the waves.

Farther up the beach one of these creatures advanced past the tide line and slid ungracefully across the sand into the foaming sea. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A colony of Atlantic grey seals, right here in the UK.

This incredible evening occurred in mid-September whilst I was walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – a 186-mile National Trails hike located in the south of Wales.

Pembrokeshire Coastline

Pembrokeshire (Wales) map by NordNordWest CCBYSA3.0

The route crosses 35,000 feet of ascents and descents which is equivalent to the height of Mount Everest!

The path is populated by 14 harbors and some bigger fishing villages such as Tenby, Pembroke, and Fishguard.

It is renowned for its rugged heathland and windswept landscape due to the harsh weather that blows off the Irish Sea. It has 58 beaches and is, for the most part, a relatively untouched area of coastline.

It was this level of wilderness that attracted me to walk the path in its entirety. Following a series of travel restrictions and lockdowns in the UK, I felt an urge to spend some time exploring the local National Parks in my home country rather than planning to jet abroad only for the trip to get canceled.

Prior to this, I’d walked the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path in northern England. This hike stretched from the east to the west coast which amusingly gave me the right to say I’d walked across the UK.

Despite this, I still wanted to step it up. I felt I had more in me and yearned to do something even more adventurous.

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path seemed like the perfect challenge I’d been looking for. It gave me that added element of raw nature whilst also allowing me to explore an area of the country I’d never visited before.

Gwlad Hud a Lledrith

In fact, the path is known as “Gwlad Hud a Lledrith” in Welsh, which means “The Land of Mystery and Enchantment”, and it’s this remoteness that makes it the perfect home for a breeding seal population.

During the autumn, adult seals flock to the secluded beaches and hidden coves of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to raise their pups.

Throughout the rest of the year, there’s only a small population in the area and it’s unlikely you’ll see any – let alone up close on the beaches. However, during the 3-4 weeks where their pups can’t swim, the colony remains close to the shore at all times.

Despite knowing this, I still felt strangely aloof about the whole thing. As if it was some myth that could never actually happen. The idea of being on an empty, sweeping beach in the UK watching a colony of seals teach their pups how to swim seemed too good to be true.

Yet there I was, witnessing exactly that. The more I stared, the more the animals seemed to appear from their camouflaged hiding spots amongst the rocks.

I began to recognize small white shapes, about the size of a house cat, flapping at the base of the crumbling cliffs. Those strange noises suddenly had their source.

The fluffy pups lay on their backs in the sun creating quite a racket, clamoring for attention. They moaned and cried out, calling for their mother’s milk.

I dropped my heavy backpack on the floor and sat beside a patch of ferns to watch the amazing natural dynamic unfold below me.

Occasionally the pups would fall asleep and go quiet, or sometimes a tired-looking mother would shuffle over and flop beside her pup for it to have a drink.

I was blessed with crisp blue skies and the cliffs were lit orange by the low Autumnal sun.

Rays of light illuminated the water so clear that I could see the adults diving down and foraging amongst the seaweed, catching fish and collecting crustaceans to eat.

They looked so sleek gliding under the water which only made it more comical seeing them try to move clumsily overland.

Some of the bigger seals rested out to sea glancing about with their whiskered heads bobbing up and down in the water.

From this distance, they looked much like dogs and I had to squint sometimes to convince myself otherwise.

As the sun lowered in the sky the calls and movements of the animals began to dwindle. Growing tired, I pitched my tent right there overlooking the cove.

I set up my cooking equipment and sat staring at the seals, almost in a trance. The wind gently swept through the grass and rippled the canvas of my tent. The blue flame from my stove hissed and the water clicked and rolled in the pan.

I ate a pouch of spicy tomato pasta and sipped at a steaming mug of tea as the sky ran red and the animals fell silent. The shadows lengthened on the beach and the sea turned slate grey as darkness descended.

I put on my hat and gloves and watched my breath rise into the starlit sky. The moon drifted above the ocean and cast a white glimmer onto the tops of the cliffs.

I could see no glow of urban settlements on the horizon nor hear the sound of any human noise. Only the swash of waves and the occasional scuffle of blubber against stone.

I lay in my sleeping bag that night thinking about what I’d set out to achieve on this walk. To have an adventure. To explore my home country. To find some of its untouched pockets of nature, and most of all, to have an experience I’d never forget.

As I drifted to sleep listening to the sound of waves lapping against the beach and a groaning seal roll over in the sand, I felt I’d accomplished exactly that.

Author Bio

My name is Matt (Twitter @MattWalkWild). I’m a 24-year-old Biologist and adventure traveler. I’ve visited 42 countries around the world and particularly love wild and natural landscapes. I write about all things hiking, camping, and walking. I want to encourage others to experience the amazing outdoors and inform them about how to explore it just like I do! Check out my website: mattwalkwild.com

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11 Days Hiking the Kerry Way in Ireland

I’d dreamed about the Ring of Kerry since I first saw it. I was 19. I’d never been out of the country before, and my first trip was to Ireland.

On that trip, I took a bus ride through the Ring of Kerry. It was the most beautiful place I’d seen thus far in my short life. I promised I’d be back soon.

Hiking the Kerry Way Ireland

Four years later, at 23, I finally kept that promise. But this time, I didn’t take a bus. I walked— 130 miles, for 11 days, with a 30-pound backpack on my back. Alone.

This is the story of how I took my first long-distance solo hike.

Hiking Kerry Way (Ring of Kerry), Ireland

The Beginning

I started out in the city of Killarney. I walked around an entire peninsula before ending back where I started—a full loop, a revolution, a cycle.

The hike started great. I felt empowered, ready to experience nature’s peace, and excited to visit charming towns along the way. I had a lot of thinking to do and I was ready to buckle down and do it.

But there were more challenges than I’d anticipated. I prepared extensively—purchased the right shoes, the perfect pack, researched and plotted everything I would need.

But the fact is that no amount of planning—and I had planned this for years—can prepare you for what you might face along the way. Especially when the toughest obstacle tends to be your own mind.

Killarney National Park

Day 1-3: My Body and Mind Adjust

Let’s go back to the start.

I stepped out of my hostel in Killarney apprehensively. It felt strange, walking through the city like a normal person, albeit with 30 pounds of extra weight on my back.

People were already out and about at 9 am, families laughing, people sipping coffees in cafes. For a moment, I felt like just another tourist visiting Killarney.

Between the Mountains and the Sea

Killarney National Park

I reached Killarney National Park after about an hour of walking along the road. Here, I passed waterfalls and streams and walked amidst massive mountains.

I adjusted to being alone, not having anyone to tell me where to go—only my GPS and the trail markers at every kilometer.

At one point, I nearly got lost in a field of boulders, with no trail marker in sight. But I kept myself calm and continued straight, eventually reaching the next part of the trail.

Lake Killarney

By the time I got to my first hostel, in an area called Black Valley, I’d lost track of time. My feet hurt bad I’d been limping for a mile, my thighs ached, and my shoulders felt like I’d done a million push-ups. I dropped the bag to the floor and slept like a baby.

According to the map, the next day’s hike was “difficult”. The day before had been labeled “easy,” and I could barely walk by the end. Still, I kept my mood high.

Yesterday’s intense foot pain had mostly subsided, though I felt bruises on my hips from where the pack was strapped tightly to my waist.

Landscape, Kerry Way

I enjoyed the dramatic scenery of the valley covered in towering clouds. Eventually, those clouds released a flurry of rain. I stuffed my hair in my raincoat and hummed to myself and the sheep over the sound of the raindrops.

I stepped through muddy gates in strangers’ farmland and a forest darkened by a lack of sun. When the rain finally stopped, hours later, I was in the most dramatic valley I’d ever seen.

The valley was rolling with green, sheep-dotted farmland. Massive mountains framed me on all sides.

I could see why the trail was marked difficult—it led me up and over one of the distant mountains. As I neared the base, I tightened my straps and steeled my nerves.

The climb was tough. The air thinned with each step up to the next rock, and the weight of my pack tugged me backward. I focused on where my feet would go next and controlled my breath until I got to the top and, panting, was rewarded with a breathtaking view of the valley I’d just walked through.

I felt immense pride when I reached my guest room, in a house on a beautiful lake called Lough Acoose. It was a relaxing place to spend the night and I slept peacefully.

The next day, though, I felt anxiety as I set out. I think the excitement was wearing off and exhaustion was finally hitting me. The terrain was full of small hills that would’ve been much easier if I didn’t have 30 pounds on my back and sore feet.

I counted the hours until I finally limped into Glenbeigh, found the hostel where I’d stay, and threw my pack down. This was the first real town I’d stayed in so far, and I delighted in buying actual shampoo from a general store.

After a hot shower, I rewarded myself with a Guinness at a nearby pub and befriended several of the regulars as I recounted my journey so far.

I felt exhausted but proud I’d completed the first few days of my hike.

Day 4-7: The Real Challenges Begin

On the hike scenery

As I walked out of Glenbeigh on day four, the mountains evened out and I realized I was nearing the coast.

Eventually, I found myself walking along a cliff overlooking the entire bay. It was stunning, and I stopped many times to absorb the view—and to allow my aching feet to rest.

Soon I reached the B&B I’d rented for the night, a farmhouse on the water called Taobh Coille. The owner greeted me energetically and immediately sat me down for homemade soup, tea, and biscuits.

I was starving, as I was subsiding on granola bars and fruit during my hikes (it was lighter). I ate gratefully in a sunroom overlooking the water as she told me about her family, who were grown now and having kids of their own. Her kindness made me feel awake and rejuvenated.

That evening, I took a slow walk down to the shore and watched the sunset over the water, ending a nearly perfect day.

I started the next day in a great mood, and walked along the coast for a while, enjoying the views of the turquoise bay and distant faded mountains. But soon the trail veered inland, cutting across the peninsula to reach the other side.

The views and peaceful sea disappeared as I walked through the dullest terrain yet—plain grass fields. No grand vistas or even uphill climbs to distract me now.

This was when the days started to blur. The terrain was mild, but the pain wouldn’t let me relax. It should’ve been the easiest section, and every step was a challenge.

I focused on anything but the pain to distract myself, finding solace in the sun, sheep, distant mountains, the big blinking eyes of cows. Mostly I thought of reaching my hostel, taking off my shoes, and getting a hot meal.

Day 6: Midpoint of my journey

The 6th day started the same. But while I was expecting that same boring terrain, I had another thing coming.

Soon the trail started ascending uphill. I thought it would only be one hill, and made the walk slowly, taking baby steps. My back and thighs ached.

When I stood at the top feeling victorious, the feeling was short-lived as I saw an entire range of mountaintops ahead of me. One after another, I walked over them, feeling as though they’d never end.

I focused only on the step right in front of me. The weather turned harsh. Freezing rain pelted my face, and the wind blew sideways into my ears. I could barely hear or see, and felt like screaming, crying, stopping.

But I kept going and going and suddenly, there were no more mountains. Only a silent winding valley that took me to my hostel, where I collapsed after the hardest day yet.

The next day, the valley looked new. The sun broke through as I walked and I felt as though nothing could faze me anymore. The day’s hike seemed to go fast. By late afternoon, I’d reached the coast again, and the charming seaside town of Waterville.

Once I checked into my B&B, I forced my feet to make the walk into town for a hot meal and a Guinness. I ate at a cozy pub on the water, staring out the window.

My view—the sea, the dark clouds, the crashing waves—looked like peace in its purest form.

Day 8-11: Learning Who I Am Now

On the hike scenery

It was a treat to start my walk along the coast again. My feet still hurt, but I was better at blocking the pain out now.

I was also becoming adept at entertaining myself with my own mind. Spending 8 hours a day completely alone with nothing to do but walk will do that to you.

After a relaxed and short walk, I ended in Caherdaniel. I had expected a town but found nothing but a small pub and a general store that doubled as a gas station that tripled as somebody’s home.

They didn’t even have an ATM—and I didn’t have cash. I ate dinner in the hostel, making due with what I had left and what I could find in the shared kitchen.

As I set out the next day, it quickly occurred to me I’d finished off the rest of my food the night before. I had nothing to tide me over during the 8-hour hike ahead of me.

My GPS said that there was a general store along the road where I’d be walking. But I was walking through rolling hills and farmland, dirt roads that looked like nobody had used them for months.

I could hear the hum of distant cars but never saw this road, never saw the general store. I ate my last apple as slowly as I could manage. I wondered if I’d ever felt so hungry. My body resisted every movement—my energy was spent.

When I hobbled into the busy, charming town of Sneem I felt plunged into bliss. The main street was nothing but restaurants—I smelled roasted chicken and barbecue, grilling burgers, and fresh bread. I nearly cried tears of joy when I quickly checked into my hostel and finally sat down at a restaurant.

I ordered several things off the menu and a big Guinness to wash it down, and felt more satisfied than I could remember ever feeling.

I was sad to leave Sneem the next day, but I bid farewell to its colorful shops and lovely restaurants and set about the second-to-last day of my hike.

I felt calm and relaxed, resolved like I was every day to ignore whatever pain I felt. No stopping now. There were no surprises in the trail description, just a bit of rain and clouds today which made me feel even more alone than I had before.

Ring of Kerry, Kenmare

I ended up in a town called Kenmare, and went about my usual routine of stopping in a pub for a beer. But I felt too tired to socialize. I slept like a baby, prepared for the final day of my journey.

Today’s final leg of the hike was to be long, but easy. I set about feeling strange—I had gotten so used to the routine of waking up early, eating breakfast, having a coffee and packing my bag for the day’s walk. The idea that it all ended today felt surreal.

After a few hours walking through those same massive mountains, I’d seen the first few days, I reached the part of the trail that led to Killarney.

Landscape Killarney

It was the same as the first day—the booming valley full of waterfalls and streams. I didn’t panic when I reached the boulders. It was the same place I started, but I felt like a different person.

The feeling stayed with me, heady and surreal, as I walked into Killarney that afternoon. The tourists were still there, trotting about, completely oblivious to the limping girl with the giant backpack.

Killarney, Ireland

I wondered if I looked as different as I felt. I thought I did—windburn-reddened cheeks, hair bleached from the sun. I could even see the muscles that had grown slightly in my legs.

But, I was still me. The same me who started the hike, the same me who first laid eyes on the Ring of Kerry and vowed to return. Except I had proven to myself that I can keep a promise to myself, that I can follow through.

I hoped that this well-earned knowledge would stay with me for the rest of my life.

Author Bio

Pandora Domeyko is a Barcelona-based travel writer and blogger, and the creator of the travel blog Pandora Explores. On her blog, she covers solo travel and expat living in Barcelona and beyond. You can find her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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Top 10 Things You Need To Do In Malaga

Malaga in southern Spain is famous for its sunny weather and sandy beaches, but there’s more to Malaga than simply beach tourism.

Sitting on the Mediterranean coast in Andalusia, this multicultural city has everything: an incredible history, sumptuous cuisine, a thriving art scene, and deep cultural roots.

No matter what kind of traveler you are or what you look for in a holiday, you’ll find something that appeals to you in Malaga.

If you’re looking for some inspiration and suggestions, here are the top ten things you need to do in Malaga.

Malaga is famous for much more than the beach.

Explore Malaga’s History in Alcazaba

Alcazaba Fortress

Malaga is reportedly one of the oldest cities in Europe, with its history dating back to approximately 770 BC when it was founded by the Phoenicians.

Over the years, it was then inhabited by the Romans, Moors, and Christians, all of whom contributed to this city’s diverse, multifaceted history and monuments you can still see today.

Perhaps the best of these is Malaga’s Alcazaba fortress in the city centre. It backs onto a Roman Theatre and sits watch on a hill overlooking the sea.

Built in the 11th century by the Arabs inhabiting the city at the time, this beautiful fortress houses a series of stunning patios and gardens typical of Arab architecture. The building’s defensive nature combines with its palatial character in a visual wonder of marble columns, archways, fountains, and turrets.

You can notice the Moorish-Arabic influence in the architecture

A Roman Theatre dating back to the 1st century AD sits proudly next to this Arab building in a juxtaposition that perfectly reflects Malaga’s multicultural history and heritage.

Finally unearthed in 1951, it’s one of the last vestiges of Malaga’s Roman past and well worth a visit. Over half of its tiered seating remains today, along with its stage. Nowadays, it even occasionally hosts shows as it is so well preserved.

Dive into the City’s Art Scene & Visit Picasso Museum

Patio of the Buenavista Palace

Second only to Madrid in terms of the number of museums, Malaga has made quite the name for itself in the art world. In addition, Malaga is famous for being the birthplace of the widely celebrated painter and sculptor, Pablo Picasso.

The Picasso Museum in this Andalusian city is housed in the 16th-century Palacio de Buenavista, which in itself is a building worth a visit.

Picasso Museum

The work displayed in this museum spans 80 years of Picasso’s art, while its library and archives contain a vast number of titles on Picasso. The museum also has a bookshop selling various books related to Picasso and art in general, as well as a café in a quaint, leafy courtyard if you fancy a break from your day of tourism.

Or if you would like to learn even more about Picasso, you can also head to the Picasso Birthplace Museum (Museo Casa Natal). Take a tour through the rooms of the home where this great painter was born and learn about his family life and Malaga’s influence on his works.

Experience the Importance of Religion in Malaga

Christmas Lights in Malaga

Spanish people are passionate by nature, and their passion applies to religion too. Here in southern Spain, Catholicism is deep-rooted, playing an integral part in the city’s fabric.

The most iconic religious building in Malaga is undoubtedly its cathedral: the Catedral de la Encarnación.

Construction on this Renaissance-Baroque building commenced in the 16th century, on the site of what was previously the city’s great mosque. Today, it forms an unmistakeable part of Malaga’s skyline.

Affectionately referred to by locals as “La Manquita” (or “the one-armed lady”), it gained its nickname thanks to its unfinished south tower. Some historians believe funds to finish the tower were instead donated to America in its fight for independence against Great Britain; others believe the money went towards construction of a new road to Vélez, a town in the east.

A visit to this religious building will take your breath away, thanks to its finely made stained glass windows, its intricate vaulted ceilings, and its imperious columns.

And if you choose to visit Malaga at Easter, you’ll be able to enjoy all the religious fervour of Holy Week in Spain, and Andalusia in particular, when the scent of incense wafts through the streets.

Easter Holiday Celebration 

Religious brotherhoods and associations dressed in robes parade through the streets, carrying ornate religious sculptures and floats (tronas) on their shoulders. They’re usually accompanied by traditional bands that fill the streets with a cacophony of sound in this incredible religious celebration.

Try Local Cuisine

Charcoal smoked sardine espeto

When you visit Malaga, make sure you try the local food. The most famous dish in Malaga is the Sardine espeto (skewer).
You can order Malaga’s espeto speciality at any of the restaurants found along the beachfront.

The sardines are skewered with a stake and then cooked on an open fire in an old fishing boat kept on the sand beside the restaurant. The smoky aroma of these fires will tempt you inside as you walk along the beach promenade.

The Mediterranean diet is lauded worldwide, and Malaga’s location means it can offer up prime land and sea products in its dishes.

Seafood Paella

While in Malaga, you should also give the tapas culture a try. Tapas are small portions of food that are devised to be shared by diners.

So pick a restaurant or tavern, order a few different dishes, and indulge in Malaga’s wonderful cuisine.

Explore Malaga’s Old Town Like a Local

Malaga’s old town is the perfect place for a stroll at any time of day. Its narrow streets are brimming with typical cafés, bustling bars where you can have churros for breakfast, and charming independent shops among big-name brands.

Among its picturesque streets, you’ll find the city’s main market, Mercado de Atarazanas, which should be on your list of things to see and do in Malaga.

The original building sited here was an Arabian shipyard. There is one remnant of this history still standing: the market’s main entrance archway. It has since been incorporated into the rest of the market’s structure, which includes an amazing stained glass window at the rear.

Open in the mornings from Monday to Saturday, locals flock here to buy fresh bread, vegetables, meat, fish, and more at amazing prices.

In addition to shopping here for food, many locals take the time to sit in one of the market’s bars for a caña (small beer) and a bite to eat before going on their way.

Hit the Shops in Malaga

With Spain having contributed many of the world’s famous fashion houses, it’s only natural that there are many shopping options in Malaga.

In Malaga’s old town, Calle Marqués de Larios and its neighboring streets are some of the most popular places for shopping. You’ll find a varied selection of shops here to suit all budgets.

Venturing a little further outside of the old town, you’ll find El Corte Inglés. This Spanish department store is a shopping symbol in every city in the country.

Close by are the Larios and Vialia shopping centres, which also have several restaurants. The latter also has a cinema and it’s combined with Malaga’s main railway station, Malaga María Zambrano.

From here, you can hop on a suburban (cercanías) train to Plaza Mayor, a large shopping complex on the outskirts of the city. The journey won’t take longer than 15 minutes and is well worth it for shopping fans.

At this shopping complex you’ll find all kinds of brand names, especially as Plaza Mayor has recently been extended with the addition of the new McArthurGlen Designer Outlet that’s opened. Whether you shop at H&M, Zara, Adidas, or Ralph Lauren, you’ll find something to please you here.

Not only that, there are lots of restaurants to keep your taste buds happy too, and a cinema that often screens movies in the original English version.

Relax at some Arab Baths

Malaga is the perfect place for a spot of relaxation too. One way to explore its Arab heritage is with a visit to the Hammam Al Andalus in the city centre.

A visit to these Arab baths will allow you to enjoy a divine massage with oils, along with a range of herbal teas, a steam room, and various baths at different temperatures.

And that’s not to mention the stunning architecture of the place. Archways and vaulted ceilings leap over the baths and strategically placed candles throw warm, peaceful light along its corridors.

Try Something More Adventurous: El Caminito del Rey

When it comes to adding something more adventurous to your list of things to do in Malaga, you should consider checking out El Caminito del Rey – the King’s Pathway.

This is an 8 KM (5 miles), linear hiking route through mountains and gorges, and passing by reservoirs.

With its origins dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, this previously hazardous pathway has undergone several renovations to become one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions today. It was initially built so workers could reach the hydroelectric power plants at each end of the route, as well as to transport materials, among other tasks involved in these plants.

The pathway itself is built into the side of the mountain, hanging vertiginously 100 metres above the ground and only a metre wide.

Along the way, you can sneak a peek at the ground or river below through glass floors if you dare, and enjoy incredible views of the surrounding landscape, before finally crossing the hanging bridge at the end.

Go Hiking in Montes de Malaga Natural Park

Photo by Marcos Cortes Troman CC BY-SA 4.0

Further inland, five kilometres north of the city, you’ll find Malaga’s green lung, Montes de Malaga Natural Park. Covering almost 5,000 hectares, it features mountains (some of whose peaks stretch up to 1,000 metres above sea level), the basin of the Guadalmedina River, and rolling valleys.

During your holiday to Malaga, you should take the time to go for a hike here as this area is rich in flora and fauna, and it offers several signposted walking routes and cycling options.

There are also places of archaeological value within the park, including a rock painting, as well as a visitor center that also acts as a museum that explains wine culture, and how bread and oil are made.

Once you’ve finished your hike, make sure you finish with the area’s traditional dish, the Plato de los Montes. This calorific bomb is a hearty dish containing pork loin in lard, a fried egg, and several other fried foods, which usually include potatoes, blood sausage, chorizo, and peppers.

Discover the Surrounding Region with a Cultural Day Trip

Lastly, if you’re visiting Malaga over the last weekend in August, make sure you head to the neighboring town of Frigiliana to enjoy its Three Cultures Festival.

Located to the east of Malaga, Frigiliana is one of Andalusia’s famous White Villages. Its Three Cultures Festival celebrates the Christian, Muslim and Jewish populations that have inhabited this village over the years and helped to build its traditions. It does so in a spectacle filled with lively music, dancing, culinary delights, art, fireworks, and more.

Over the course of four days, the streets are packed with people there to enjoy street performers, workshops, and storytellers, in addition to the official concerts arranged for the event.

One of the most popular aspects of this festival is its ‘Ruta de la Tapa’ (Tapas Route). This tour will take you on a gastronomic adventure around the town to try different tapas in several local establishments.

Malaga’s Attractions are Varied

An old bridge

Ultimately, there are so many things to see and do in Malaga that you’ll be hard-pressed to find the time to manage them all in one trip. That way, you’ll have the perfect excuse to return to this Mediterranean city in the future.

Author Bio

Rhian MacGillivray is a content writer, translator, and blogger (www.malagamama.com). When she’s not busy helping companies to communicate their message with content and translations, she can be found at the beach by her home in sunny southern Spain.

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Camper Van: One of the Best Travel Investments

There are many ways to spice up your travels and ensure that you are getting everything out of them in terms of comfort and convenience. And with so many things to consider on the market, making the right choice can be admittedly a bit difficult.

In this blog, we will look at why we believe a Camper Van is one of the best travel investments you can make to improve the quality and comfort of your travels. If you haven’t thought about a van as an option yet, it’s definitely something worth looking at.

6 Benefits of Owning a Camper Van

If you are dreaming of hitting the open road, amid this coronavirus pandemic, then consider a camper van aka motorhome.

Balancing Comfort & Utility

Volkswagen Autosleeper Clubman GL

The best thing about a van is also the main reason for its existence – it combines comfort and utility, and balances them in a great way that gives you the best of both worlds. It’s hard to overstate how useful a van can be when you have a larger family to ride around with, or a lot of luggage to take with you.

And it can also be great for certain special situations, like when an emergency comes up that requires you to rest somewhere on short notice. All in all, a van can cover many of the important bases for traveling efficiently.

Note: Camper vans due ton their smaller size can be parked in your garage or driveway, which eliminates having any additional storage fee.

Affordable to Own

Photo (Dutch Camper Van) by Charles01 CCBYSA3.0

If you haven’t looked into camper vans yet, you may think that these beasts must cost a fortune. But you would be surprised to know that camper vans are affordable for most people who already owns cars, SUVs, or minivans.

Despite the extra space and additional features, the basic models aren’t much more expensive than a standard minivan. With gas prices at all time low and improved fuel utility, this means you’ll be able to hit the road without overspending on gas.

Note: Camper vans are more fuel efficient than larger RVs.

Easy Maintenance, Affordable Insurance

An Old Volkswagen Camper Van

On top of that, your typical van isn’t that difficult to maintain either. It doesn’t take a lot to keep it in a good condition compared to a regular car, and finding a good insurance quote should not be a problem if you look around.

For example, sites like Quotezone (UK) can provide you with a van insurance quote, but do make sure you’re looking for camper van insurance and not commercial vehicle insurance. While Quotezone is primarily aimed at car and van customers, it can be a great starting reference point for your future search.

Great for Couples and Friends

A Talbot AutoSleeper 1991 model

Imagine road-tripping with your significant other. Or, with your best friend. All without having to worry about having a fixed itinerary or hotel bookings. With a camper van or motorhome, you can make plans as you go. Not only this provides you the privacy and freedom, it is also adventurous.

Any Class B Camper Vans are completely self-contained, which means it makes them a popular choice for camp grounds. You  don’t have to worry about pitch a tent, use an outhouse, or cooking outdoors all while battling unpredictable weather or unfamiliar places.

Great for the Sociable Types

Photo (GMC Chevrolet G30) by Daniela Kloth under GNU1.2

Even if you don’t travel with a family, a van can still be a great investment into your trips that can make them much more comfortable and convenient. If you like getting together with new people, this is one of the best options you have, and you can even throw small parties in there from time to time.

Of course, it can be difficult to keep things clean with so many random people coming in and out, so consider that in advance as well. If you can handle that though, a van is definitely something that will be right up your alley.

Lastly, Safety

Photo (VW Classic Camper van) by Paul Palmer CCBY2.5

We can’t talk about anything that weighs over a ton and moves at such high speed with a metal body without considering safety. Safety is a huge priority for us and it should be all of us.

The good news is all newer models are built incredibly sturdy. Plus these days, you get powerful disc braking systems, parking sensors, backup cameras, etc. in almost all standard models, without paying anything in extra.

Conclusion

These factors and more should get you on the right track and should show you the benefits of investing in a good van.

If you’re still not convinced, just talk to some people who’re already using a van regularly, and get their input. You’ll definitely get many positive responses, and will learn a few more reasons for potentially giving this idea a go if you’re still on the fence about it.

Author Bio

Rosana Beechum is a freelance writer who loves to talk about all things lifestyle, including travel, fashion, money-saving hacks, and more. She’s traveled the world and contributes articles that offer practical advice and tried-and-tested tips.

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Return To Nature: Krka National Park in Croatia

Are you a nature lover who wants to experience something unique and beautiful? Do you love waterfalls, long walks, or cycling in nature? If your answer is Yes, then it is time for Krka National Park in Croatia which is known for its series of 7 waterfalls.

If you are planning to visit Croatia, one of the places you must see is this national park.

One of the waterfalls

How To Get Here

Krka National Park is located in central Dalmatia. It consists of almost the entire course of the famous River Krka and the lower course of the river Cikola.

The northern part of national park Krka is near the town of Knin and the Dinara mountain, where the river springs. The southern part of the park, near the town of Sibenik, is where the river flows into the sea.

River Krka

Nearby are the towns of Skradin and Lozovac. There are at-least eight entrances into the Krka National Park located around the park’s various attractions.

Bike & Hike Friendly

You can visit the park by car, hiking trails, or bicycle routes. The roads to the park are well marked and connected to the main highways. Since the tourist locations are far from each other, some of them you can only visit by excursion boats.

Things To Do In Krka National Park

With a large number of sunny hours, unusual beauty of the waterfall, plenty of green areas, Krka makes for a real natural phenomenon. The National Park includes a large number of attractions that tourists visit, such as:

  • Hiking trails
  • Bike routes
  • Roman military camp
  • Waterfalls
  • Ethno Village
  • Monasteries
  • Medieval fortifications
  • Caves

Skradinski Buk

The first stop from Skradin is Skradinski Buk. You can get there by footpath, bicycle or excursion boat. This ride is in the ticket price and lasts about half an hour. The ship departs every 20 minutes. It is possible to take a dog with you to the National Park if it has protection. Also, you can visit Skradinski Buk on foot from Lozovac, but there is also a bus.

Skradinski Buk is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in this national park. It got the name Buk because of the big noise, created by the water that descends through the rocks. Visitors are also allowed to swim, but only in marked places.

The characteristic of this part of the National Park is a pedestrian, one-way path almost 2 km long. The trail is circular and leads through beautiful landscapes of water and greenery.

On this trail, there are plenty of places to rest. Also, there are beautiful viewpoints that are great for photography. This road leads us over many wooden bridges. There are many mills in this part. You can also visit an ethnic village that presents old crafts.

A large number of souvenir shops and there are also restaurants. The whole footpath is well marked. There are also educational boards with useful information.

From Skradinski Buk you can go further towards the Island Visovac, or a little further Roški slap. The price of these boat trips is additionally charged.

Island Visovac

On this island, there is a monastery with the church of Our Lady of Mercy and a museum. An island rich in greenery and gardens. First of all, it is a place of prayer. You need to be decently dressed when visiting the island.

Roski Slap

Another magnificent waterfall! You can visit it by boat from the island of Visovac and Skradinski Buk, but also by car. This part of the park is known for the rocks that line one another, which is why they were named Necklaces.

From the waterfall, the road leads to a lookout point that gives a beautiful view of the Necklaces.

Krka Monastery

Photo by Sonjabgd CCBYSA3.0

A special place is known as the home of the monks. It is an Orthodox monastery. You can come here by car or boat from Roški slap. The boat ride takes about 1 hour and is extra cost (not included in your park ticket). You can visit the church and the museum.

Manojlovack Slap

Represents the most beautiful viewpoint of the National park. It is also the highest waterfall in the Krka National Park. You can visit this waterfall by car to the parking lot, and then on foot to the viewpoint.

Burnum

Photo by Carole Raddato CCBYSA2.0

A characteristic of this part of the national park is the ancient Roman amphitheatre. It can be reached by car and continue with a walking tour. You can visit alone or accompanied by a guide. This amphitheatre shows the military past of this part of
the country.

Explore Skradin Town

Skradin town, Croatia

One of the entrances to the national park, as mentioned above, is Skradin. The small Mediterranean town is a great starting to visit the national park. During the season, it is very crowded due to tourists, and out of season, you will find a quiet place and a peaceful life of the locals.

With its narrow and long streets, it conquers this place. The colored tall houses, olive trees, old bicycles in front of the door make us peek into every corner. In the main street, there are many wineries. This area is known for its excellent local wine.

Besides to wineries, there are also restaurants, souvenir shops with handmade products. The donkey is an animal that represents the symbol of this area. Old stone steps lead to the landscape with a beautiful view of the marina and the river.

After this part of the city, we come to the promenade along the river. A large number of cafes and the port of boats during the season are the reason why you should walk through this part. Luxury ships sailing through this part of Europe come to Skradin for a break. They provide an unusual sight.

If we go to the other side of the promenade, we will come to a playground for children. There is also a part of the river where many swans have found their place. During the summer there is a small market, where you can buy local products such
as honey, olive oil, figs.

Note: It takes several days to tour the entire National Park. If this is your plan, the ideal solution is to find accommodation in Skradin. We offer hotel and apartment accommodation of various categories.

Plant & Animal World

Due to its pure nature, the National Park is home to various plants and animals. During the visit, we can see animals like turtles, frogs, lizards. There are more than 30 species of fish and over 200 species of birds. When we talk about plants, the most famous is the pyramidal bell that grows in the rocks and is purple.

It takes a lot of time to visit the whole national park! And after the tour, walking, feeling the freshness of the water on your skin, you will be full of impressions and thoughts.

Everyday lifestyle leaves us little time for us. The best thing today is to know how to plan your time and not forget your needs. That is the secret of love for travel.

Krka National Park is an ideal example of this and should be on your “must-see” list!

Tickets & Prices

You can buy tickets at the entrance to the National Park, at various marked places. If you want to save time, you can also buy tickets online (on the National Park’s website).

Ticket price depends on:

  • the location where you buy tickets
  • how old are you, and
  • whether you visit the park individually or in a group

An important factor that affects the price of the ticket is the period during the year when you visit the park. Prices are lower in the months outside the summer tourist season. During the winter, a large part of the national park is not open for visits.

Note: Children up to the age of seven have FREE admission.

Have you already visited this National Park? If so, what are your impressions?

Author Bio

Dragana Šuša is an economist in tourism and a freelance writer. Currently, lives and works in London. Many years of education and work in tourism she has dedicated to works with small and medium businesses. She works on the promotion and advertising of companies in tourism and hospitality through digital marketing. Her main goal is good textual content, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Social Media Optimization (SMO). You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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How Do You Eat and Stay Vegan While Traveling

From Miami, Florida to the Pacific Northwest, down to the Caribbean, to all the way to the Baltics, and back down south in the good ole US, we have found amazing vegan eats.

Come on a plant-based journey across the world with us and let us inspire you!

A delicious vegan burger

Miami, Florida

To start, let’s say when you think of South Beach, Miami, and all of the food options there, you might not think of it as being a vegan-friendly destination. But, when we spent a weekend in Miami, we found it to be a vegan paradise. 🙂

We went to the hip, graffiti-covered neighborhood of Wynwood to find a couple of spots. We started off at Charley’s Vegan Taco’s CVT.

Charley’s Vegan Taco’s

This hip taco shop with a beautiful mural inside offers quite a big menu of vegan treats. The vibe was cozy as soon as you walked in the door.

It was originally started in Tulum, Mexico. Someday, we will have to make our way down to the original and report back as to which one is better!

We started off with the Mushroom Ceviche – Oyster mushrooms, sunflower seeds, avocado, garlic aioli, and cilantro sprouts.

We spent a whole summer in 2019 trying ceviche all around the states, and this version was the best we had. It was the most flavorful and creative out of any.

We then moved on to our entree portion of the meal. We decided we would share a burrito and an order of tacos.

We ordered the El Diablo burrito.

We had been craving burritos recently so this one hit the spot. It came with Abuelita’s rice, black beans, chorizo, chicharron prensado, fried plantain, jalapeños, shredded lettuce, onion, maldita sauce, garlic aioli, creamy green salsa.

The Plantains in it were a game-changer, as they always are, they added a beautiful sweetness to the spice of the Jalapenos. Such good flavor all through every bite.

For our Tacos we chose the Carne Sin Carne option. Which came with 3 tacos.

  • Chicharron Prensado Taco – porkles cracklings stewed in red morita pepper sauce, served with fresh mango chutney, garlic aioli, onion cilantro
  • Chicharron Verde Taco – porkless cracklings stewed in green tomatillo salsa, topped with vegan creme, onion, cilantro
  • Jackfruit pulled “Pork” Taco – jackfruit in ancho pepper adobo with shredded lettuce, cured red onion, vegan creme, and creamy green salsa.

These tacos were beyond incredible. I think my favorite was the Jackfruit pulled “pork”, such an incredible flavor profile.

Overall this experience was amazing. The vibe inside is fantastic and the staff is really wonderful.

We met the head chef Bryan, he introduced himself and gave some insight into the dishes and then went back to making delicious foods. After a few minutes, he came back out to check on us and our meals to make sure we were enjoying ourselves and our food.

Very cool! Highly recommend this spot.

L’Artisane Bakery

Our next food adventure took us to North Miami Beach and L’Artisane Bakery. This place is beyond incredible. With pastries and sandwich options there is something for everyone and every hunger level.

We ended up going here two mornings in a row, with a pop in on our way back to our hotel after the beach because it was so good.

Our personal favorite was the Guava & Cream Cheese danish. A must at the bakery, the sweet and savory flavor is impossible to resist. We definitely could not and are still craving it all this time later.

Our first visit to the bakery we shared the VTE ”Vegan Travel Eats” Croissant, a beautiful breakfast sandwich with hash brown, sausage patty, Just Egg patty, shiitake bacon & aji amarillo aioli. What an amazing treat. Everything you want from a sandwich to start off your day all in one.

On our second visit, we decided to get a couple of sandwiches along with our guava and cream cheese danish.

We went with… Wild Mushrooms Croissant: this came with sautéed wild mushrooms, fresh thyme, black truffles foam, vegan parmesan cheese, mushrooms crumble.

This is such a beautifully savory sandwich and we highly recommend it. We were sad to see the last bite go.

Croque Monsieur Croissant: this came with vegan deli ham and was so delectable and delicious. If you have ever had this kind of sandwich you will be blown away by how good this one is.

Overall L’Artisane Bakery is one of the best options we have found for vegan food and pastries. It is a smaller yet cozy shop so it can be hard to find a table. But as we did on our first visit it is well worth taking it to go and eat while enjoying North Miami Beach just a short walk away.

British Columbia

Let’s go out now to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, getting here was a beautiful journey by ferry from Seattle. I definitely did not plan on getting seasick on the ride over, I highly suggest bonine or the free motion sickness medication they offer before you leave. Just in case!

One might not think I was excited or ready to get food. But quite the opposite, I was so excited to hit land and walk to get our first meal in Victoria! We dropped our luggage off in our rental car and wandered over to…

The Very Good Butchers

The Very Good Butchers in a food hall/market right in downtown this is by far the best butcher I have been to. It is a fully functional butcher shop. They butcher beans, so you can get your deli needs taken care of and order from a small menu of hot dishes they have at the shop.

Using mostly beans in their patties and their dogs. The flavor and texture that they have created is unreal.

This ended up being our favorite of the trip and kind of ruling our trip eating and snacking game. In our time in Victoria, we tried out…

Jackfruit Poutine: This poutine was no joke the best poutine I have had… hands down. The bbq sauce on the pulled jackfruit was so good and smoky. Fries cooked to perfection and the curds were even better here!

Mac N’ Cheeze: This was an extra cheezy mac with bread crumbs and we added jackfruit to it. Everything you want in a mac n cheeze.

We also got these deli options to go…Bangers in a Blanket: One of their delicious British style bangers wrapped in their homemade dough and cooked to perfection!

Pizza Pocket: A square pocket of goodness, It is stuffed with their homemade marinara sauce and their homemade pepperoni. What an awesome treat.

Meatball Sub: What a tasty meatball sub! On homemade focaccia roll with their cheese strips. Good to grab for a delicious on the go meal.

The portions here are way bigger but I would not recommend sharing, it is too good to only get one option!

Nassau, Bahamas

Let us take you to a small cozy spot in Nassau Bahamas! As the locals say you have to go up and over the hill from the tourist spot to get here.

Locals might also think you are druggies wandering here but they are very friendly, just be careful and keep your wits about you, and maybe do not go at night.

Eat Right Delight

This small but cozy restaurant in King David Nassau, Bahamas is a hidden gem for sure. When you enter you come into the very small dining and take out area and the menu is on the wall.

They always have specials running, so make sure to ask what the special of the day is! It has a small bench for you to sit on while you await your delicious food. Then on the wall by the window, there are two stools set up with a small shelf/table to eat on.

Once you decide what you are going to order you peek your head in through a small hole in the glass that looks into the kitchen.

Everything is made as you order by Shanique so it takes a little while but it is well worth the wait. As we were hanging out and waiting for our food we met two really great locals who turned out to be friends of ours to this day. Like our friend Cliff Riley, pictured below, a Bahamian singer sharing beautiful positivity, who sang to us while waiting for his food!

With Cliff Riley, Bahamian singer

So many good conversations happen around food. These were a couple of the best. The chef/owner Shanique is incredibly nice as well. She is always smiling as she cooks for you. I cannot wait to return to this place!

Every person who walked in the door was greeted with a smile. Most of the locals that came in seemed to know her and how delicious her food is.

Note: If you are arriving in Nassau on a cruise ship, it is walkable, around a 35-minute walk. If you walk to the market street and take a left and keep walking you will find it!

I would also recommend downloading maps.me from your app store if you have not for and downloading the map of Nassau while you are in town! Stay on the main road, Market street, on your way. Once you get there. Enjoy!

We asked Shanique to make us something she wanted us to try and to remember this place by. I am pretty sure it was a variation of the…

Thai noodles – these noodles she brought out to us had such incredible flavor. Covered in beautiful veggies and another one of her sauce creations.

We also got to sample a sliver of her pizza and it was really incredible! Thinking about it right now makes me hungry!

On our second time back, on the Keeping the Blues Alive At Sea cruise, we ordered her Spaghetti with “meat” sauce.

This was the best spaghetti we have ever had. The sauce was incredible. We did not ask for the secret ingredient that made it so tasty but we are pretty sure it had some cinnamon in it.

Everything she makes is light, we did not leave feeling too full. We felt quite good even after scarfing down the whole dish.

Spicy Mushroom Sliders (another special) – These little sliders packed so much flavor. From every bite, our noses ran and we got more and more sad every bite knowing this amazing food journey would end.

The spice mixed with her mushroom patties is one hell of a mixture. Just hope she has these when you walk in!

This is such a special spot. Feeding the folks of Nassau incredibly good food that is healthy! We cannot wait to return so we can try some more delicious food! A really special restaurant.

Tallinn, Estonia

Next stop is Tallinn, Estonia, one of our favorite cities we have been to. It has incredible history and architecture from the 1500s. Anything from castles, to modern buildings to communist-era all concrete builds. You can find it all in Tallinn. Old meets new and is bustling with tech. One of the tech capitals of Europe actually.

You have more than likely used one of their biggest contributions to tech and communication… Skype.

More than anything the people of Estonia are kind and welcoming, they want to show you how great their country is and show you a fantastic time. They also share the love with their food.

We found a few amazing options but our favorite by far was Tru Kitchen, we went twice and made friends with the owner and a few of the staff. We genuinely miss our friends and the wonderful food they shared with us.

Tru Kitchen

Tru Kitchen is outside of Oldtown Tallinn, about a 15-minute walk. It is in an old industrial-looking warehouse, which by the time we go again I am sure will be hip and painted in some funky way. When you walk in you are immediately transported to another place.

Plants all over, a few couches along the wall, incredible music vibes, and super friendly Estonians ready to help you out. The owner, Kristo Rosenvald, became a friend of ours very quickly.

Each time we came in he personally greeted us and had nice conversations as long as he could. Then there was the food, what dreams are made of.

Pita Sandwitch (their spelling) – Normally I would not have ordered this sandwitch except that the owner and a few other of our new friends told us it was the favorite menu item. Naturally we had to try and holy hell we were not disappointed, until the end, when it was gone of course.

Served with Voner (a vegan version of doner), roasted carrots, portobello, and a miso mayonnaise. It left us wanting to get 5 more for our journey, but we were too full and let it be a dream to have again.

Tumeric Chickpea omelet was our introduction to beetroot. It was used at every vegan restaurant in the baltic states and is incredibly good. Along with beetroot it came with pickled fennel and green pesto. Another simple dish done perfectly and just bursting with flavor. From the first bite I was sad watching it disappear with every bite.

Grand Leaven Breakfast Sandwitch (their spelling) – this sandwitch comes on local bread from a bakery right across the alley from Tru, it is remarkable how fresh it is. Topped with Kimchi, a perfectly cooked portobello, an avocado, and vegan cheese and served open face, this sandwitch has so much flavor in every bite.

Its only flaw is that it is hard to concentrate on what part is the best because it is all so incredible. 🙂

After our few times here to chat, eat, have tea, and play backgammon, we felt right at home. We had a hard time leaving this magical city.

We will be back and when we do, the first place we will head to is Tru to see our friends and share a beautiful meal.

Traveling Europe in January we noticed a trend in a lot of locals, Veganuary, this was a lot of Europeans way to start off the year with a nice cleanse for their body.

Even though we were seeking out these type restaurants, a lot of others had a couple of special dishes in order to meet Veganuary’s needs. It makes it more accessible to travelers who might be in a mixed travel party of vegans and non-vegans.

Nashville, Tennessee

Last but not least, come on back with us to our hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. A city full of incredible cuisine, maybe not so known for their vegan offerings.

The Southern V

One restaurant, in particular, The Southern V, will keep you far from feeling deprived of wonderful Southern cookin’. Open since 2017 in the location they are in now they aim to be the staple for southern cuisine in Nashville! Their menu has so many amazing options but these were our favorites.

Nashville Hot “Chicken” – This seitan based Hot chicken is incredible. The spice they bring is hot enough for you to feel it but not be overwhelmed. As a staple in Nashville cuisine this dish is up there with any in the city, better I would think!

BBQ Jackfruit Nachos – This beautiful “American” sized plate of jackfruit nachos was out of this world. Enough jackfruit to cover any chip you can find under the beautiful toppings. Mix and match the veggies you would like and enjoy this incredible dish.

Turnip Greens – Whoa! Talk about flavor, these greens will blow you away. Incredible spice and flavor will make you sad when they are gone.

Mac N “Cheese” – This mac was some of the best I have ever had, and believe me as a picky eating kid Mac N’ Cheese was one of my few food groups that I ate out of. The thick and creamy sauce with amazing texture and taste. Your friends who are scared of vegan food would never know the difference, probably would say this was better.

Southern V has all the fixings you are looking for in a down south meal right here in Nashville.

Conclusion

I think people get the wrong idea when it comes to veganism. What you have to give up, what you miss out on. But in fact, you are not missing out on anything.

Chefs work that much harder to get past the stigma to get people into the restaurant and then make incredibly creative and delicious food to keep people coming in.

We have found some of the most creative food while traveling and experienced a rich culture within the vegan community.

No matter where you travel there is always somewhere to find a plant-based meal if you look hard enough, and that looking is part of the fun and beautiful way to get to know the culture where you find yourself.

We hope you enjoyed our plant-based wander around the world! Peace signs up!

Author Bio

My name is Nik Sheasby, I am half of the wanderlustmoonduo. I have toured with bands for the last 13 years while traveling for myself on the downtime. I started my travel later in life but dove in head first once I was able to. I love immersing myself into new cultures and meeting new people. Traveling has been my life and also saved my life. I want to share my world, seeing our beautiful world, with you. Spread love and humanity. Peace Signs up!

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