August 12, 2016

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What to Do with a Month in China

If I only had one month to travel around China, this is the route that I would follow: Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Chengdu, Leshan, Chongqing, Yangtze River Cruiseand lastly Shanghai.

Beijing

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is the largest and best-preserved ancient royal building complex in the world. It is the world’s largest palace, covering 72 hectares. It is located in the centre of Beijing. It is used to be the imperial palace of the Ming Dynasty. It was built from 1406 AD to 1420 AD

August 1, 2016

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Europe’s Best Cities for Lovers

1) Paris, France – It is clichéd, but it is the city of love! Who wouldn’t want to kiss under the Eiffel Tower or to sip coffee along one of the numerous coffee shops?

Places of interest: Champs Elysse, Arc de Triomphe, Paris Opera

July 27, 2016

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Options for Seeing Antarctica

The most common way to see Antarctica is by cruise or research ships. You can sail from either Ushuaia, the southernmost point of Argentina, Punta Arenas, Chile, Bluff, New Zealand, or from Hobart, Australia, The fastest is via Ushuaia, but crossing Cape Horn and the Drake Passage is not an easy feat so best be prepared for seasickness. Each cruise ship has their specific itineraries, depending on what you choose. Some stop at the Falkland Islands and the Shetland Islands while others prepare their own wildlife or glacier expeditions including certain perks such as transportation and cold weather clothing. Prices for these expeditions vary from $12,000 to $60,000 and trip length varies from 2 weeks to a month, depending on the company and expedition you choose. Other companies offer the flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia; others don’t, so plan that accordingly in your Antarctica budget.

July 10, 2016

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Brazil’s Best Beaches

Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world, is both the largest country in South America and Latin America region attracting many local and international tourists each year.

Featuring a tropical coastline of 7,492 km, it is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and has numerous archipelagos forming a part of it, as well as some of the world’s superior beaches.

Brazil boasts numerous golden sandy beaches, some are very popular and overcrowded while others are undiscovered hidden treasures in a wild lying beneath palm trees, making it even more popular sought-after holiday destination.

Brazil’s Best Beaches

Brazil is lined with a number of sun-kissed beaches; of course, it puts this lovely country on the globe’s map as a centre of sun and sand. Brazil is widely regarded as having one of the biggest collections of fragrant shores on the planet, ranging from the beaches with golden sand dunes to rugged shore of Bahia.

Brazil’s rich and colorful beaches make the place a seafront lover’s paradise on earth. Escape with Brazil’s best beaches!

Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha

Baia do Sancho, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, features white sand, crystal clear emerald green water, and is surrounded by high rising cliffs. 21 islands form the marine park that contains some of the Brazil‘s superior beaches, attracting many diving lovers who are dying to see green and hawksbill turtles, whales and other exotic marine. Baia do Sancho is a World Heritage site due to its unique ecosystem. The land also offers some great experiences such as hiking the ecological trails of Jardim Elizabeth, the Esmerelda Coast or Sancho Bay.

Praia dos Carneiros, Tamandaré, Pernambuco

Yet not overcrowded, this beach, nestled in the eye-catching scenery of coconut trees and stunning panorama, is a paradise of warm water, reefs, palm trees and kilometers of sugar brown beaches. The postcard looking beach offers endless sunshine and warm water making it a year-round hub.

Lopes Mendes Beach, Ilha Grande

Located in Ilha Grande, Lopes Mendes Beach is voted one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil and is best known for its surfing and hiking trials. It features white sand, good waves and shallow water, making it a perfect place for surfing and swimming. You should know that there are no restaurants and other facilities. The best way to get to this island is by boat or on foot.

Baia dos Porcos, Fernando de Noronha

It is characterized by huge rocks that make it a unique and magical spot. To reach Baia dos Porcos beach you will have to make your way by trekking these stone formations. Another option is to get there by boat. This natural beach is home to a number of natural pools, colorful and exotic fish. It also overlooks two very large rocks called “Dois Irmaos”; one of them houses the ruins of Sao Joao Baptista fortress. The rocks are perfect site to view the romantic waters of Baia do Porcos.

Dolphins Bay, Praia de Pipa

Dolphins Bay is noted for a large number of dolphins that are swimming just meters away from the shore. If you are lucky you can see an incredible acrobatic show or even have a swim with dolphins in calm water. The beach also features a small bar and several restaurants.

Photo Credit: Looiz via photopin cc

March 21, 2016

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Milan Has It All – Style, Elegance & Good Shoes

Just one foot on the street outside transports the visitor into the bustling world of Milan. You can’t help but smile as you watch the colorful people around you, making you feel like an extra in a Puccini opera; the protagonists singing dramatically in their flowery tongue, waving their hands emphatically in the air.


Their dress sense is impeccable. No wonder this is the style capital of the world. Even the Chinese – whose trademark curiosity shops filled with everything from travel plug adapters to Hello Kitty umbrellas – are more stylish in Milan. It may be fake Fendi they’re selling, but the shop assistants in their faux-Versace scarves and knock-off Burberry boots have an air of class about them.


Milan lost many of its beautiful buildings in heavy bombing during World War II, and it may not receive as many compliments as Florence or Rome, with their crumbling monuments, coliseums and other ancient iconic landmarks. But its elegant streets and grandiose buildings, glassed-ceilinged galleries, and visually stunning central station give Milan a character all of its own.


The designer fashion houses that line the via Napoleone and the abundance of shoes, sandals, clothes and accessory stores whichever way you turn, leave the visitor in awe and out of pocket. Even if you’re not in the market for an exquisite outfit by Prada, Gucci, or Louis Vuitton, you can still appreciate the taste and beauty of the most famous of fashion houses.


Milan’s streets are spotless. Not even a cigarette end or sign of graffiti anywhere. The excellent public transport service runs like clockwork and the urban ticketing system allows commuters to combine the bus, metro, tram, and train. Everything about Milan exudes modernity and order; something you don’t often find in other parts of Italy.


This is a pretty city that works, is visually pleasing and pleasant to walk around. Make sure you take some Pedag insoles for your shoes, as once you start exploring, it’s hard to stop, as you’ll uncover narrow street, after narrow street that open out into large plazas, hidden chocolate shops, art galleries, pizzerias and shoes, of every shape and color.


The center is compact and you can easily explore it on foot, but once you’ve gotten your fill of the Duomo (Milan’s landmark cathedral), take a walk to the Moscova district to take in a different side of Milan, a little off the tourist path. This is undoubtedly the very best place to people-watch as the streets are lined with classy bars, expensive cafés, and fancy restaurants.


The powerful, wealthy, beautiful and elegant people mingle here, sipping on cocktails on the sidewalks. Try out the local tipple, spritz at café Radetzky; a must-have when in Milan.


Watch in wonder as the elegant women exude style and sophistication, head to toe in Armani and 4-inch stilettos. With the cobbled streets, it’s admirable how they manage to walk with perfection in such high heels, over-sized purses on their arms and large dark glasses covering their eyes.


The men with their perfectly coiffed hair, manicured nails, ironed suits, man bags and scarves, are also immaculately groomed as they converse freely with their friends.


From time to time you’ll hear the roar of an engine and see a red Ferrari or Alfa Romeo cruise by, lingering beside the bar just long enough for heads to turn and admire.


Vespas speed past every few seconds, and women in fitted suits and heels effortlessly hop onto the back of motorcycles with grace and style, Versace bags on their shoulders.


This is a different slice of Italian life far from the Piazza del Duomo, where photo-snapping tourists mix with Senegalese umbrella sellers, men and women of ethnic descent selling roses and Romany gypsies begging for money, cursing those who don’t give.


Is there a better country on earth than Italy? Or a better city than Milan to truly appreciate all that is good in life – love, food, art, and style? Who cares about their scandalous politicians and shaky economy? Italians still manage to live the Dolce Vita and savour every last drop out of life, from their dark espresso to their infamous gelato. And however bad life gets, it always feels better in a prettier pair of shoes.


Some rights reserved by gatogrunge

December 18, 2015

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Top Tips for the Intrepid Traveler

With the world constantly more accessible and the internet and television shows opening up our curious minds, it’s a fact that more and more Americans are traveling these days. In fact, for 49 out of our 50 states, travel is among the top ten industries and direct spending on leisure travel by domestic and international travelers totaled $644.9 billion in 2014. Economic downturn or no, terrorism travel threat aside, you can’t argue that more people are traveling. But how many of these travelers like to venture off the beaten path?

Do you consider yourself an intrepid traveler? Are you adventurous enough to try out an exotic destination, or leave without your guidebook in your bag? If you’re thinking about ditching your all-inclusive for a self-designed vacation, trekking to Machu Picchu on the Inca trail, riding a flimsy boat down the Amazon, or even just throwing your fixie in your station wagon and heading across state, then these tips might come in handy.

Be intrepid – The first tip for an intrepid traveler may sound rather obvious, but you need to be intrepid. Be fearless, adventurous; bold. And you might have to fake it ‘til you make it. It’s not always easy to feel courageous and travel alone or travel to lesser visited places. But not only can would-be thieves and criminals smell fear, but being bold and accepting the kindness of strangers; smiling, walking with confidence, and saying “yes” to invitations can lead you to whole new experiences. Just to clarify, still exercise common sense here, but opening your mind to doing things you wouldn’t usually do will lead you to the places other tourists never see and ensure you develop a real understanding for the local culture.

Listen to the locals – Shop where they shop, eat where they eat, speak to the locals wherever possible. Ask them what they really think about the world we live in and their lives. If your language skills aren’t strong, remember that a smile is the universal language and will open many doors for you. Eating and shopping where the locals do will not only save you money and make you friends, but you’re far more likely to sample the real cuisine that’s much tastier or more unusual than anything in tourist restaurants.

Go out of season – If you can avoid traveling during the peak times of year, like summer vacations, spring break, and the holidays, you’ll discover the real heart and soul of the place; see people working, children going to school, and enjoy local national holidays. The majority of tourists will have left and hotels and restaurants are less crowded and less expensive, and the locals are more likely to be interested in you.

Don’t visit tourist destinations – think about visiting cities that aren’t major tourist destinations. Instead of Venice, go to Sicily; replace Cancun with Oaxaca. Go to places that other people don’t. You’ll get to know the locals better and experience their culture in a much more authentic way.

Do something active – Arranging a three day trek, or cycle between destinations is a great way to explore slowly and see the little details you wouldn’t catch while going by bus, car or plane. Look for bikes for sale before you go so that you can choose a traveling buddy that’s right for you, instead of renting one with a patched up tire that leaves you stranded in the outback.

Read local literature – travel with a local novel, poems, or even newspapers. Reading about destinations while you’re in them is a great way to get perspective and feel the place even more deeply. Same applies to local music. Find out what it is and immerse yourself in it.

Backup your photos – whether you’re one of those travelers with a multi-zoom camera or you prefer to snap from your smartphone, make sure to backup. Phones are easy to lose, cameras get damaged, and, well, robberies do happen from time to time. If you have insurance, it won’t matter too much but the photos are irreplaceable.

Keep copies of your documents – in the same vein, be sure to scan and email your documents to yourself. That way, you will always have access to the numbers you need and can cancel your credit cards or documents if necessary.

Have several ways to pay – not all countries readily accept credit or debit cards. Make sure you take cash in local currency and in dollars – not too much though – just enough to get you out of trouble if your accommodations don’t take card, or you already ordered in a restaurant and then found out it only deals in cash. Take more than one card if possible too. International communications can do strange things to credit cards and your perfectly working one may suddenly stop or be rejected. Have a back-up.

Travel light – once you’ve finished packing, unpack. Take everything out and try to halve it. If you can halve it again that would be even better. That’s what you’ll actually need. Most people who travel over pack, and it can be a real hindrance if you want to do something spontaneous.

Some rights reserved by bikmr

December 11, 2015

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A Revolutionary New Habit

Ways to pass the time have seriously come on over the last few years; we have gone from telling stories as a hobby, to knitting, crafts, and then on to all things technological, with gaming taking over the world. Things change and move on, and one of the most common new pastimes comes in the way of online casinos.

Now, this has double perks – firstly, you’re filling your time with something exciting and fun, and secondly, you might win money, which is always a bonus. What could be wrong what scenario?

Online casinos are now a huge booming industry, with owners making serious cash as a result. There are of course downsides to this, i.e. you have to search for your particular site carefully, to avoid the bad ones out there, and you also need to make sure you don’t dedicate too much time or money to it, as it can become addictive.

Taking away the cautionary tale, the upsides are clear to see. Online casinos offer a way to supplement your income, if you’re careful, a way to fill your down time, and offer a secure way to play online with a variety of different online casino games, provided you do your research first.

Many online casino gaming sites will give you an incentive to sign up, e.g. a free bonus to begin your first game with, as well as further incentives after that, such as special offers, or recommending to a friend. These all add up to ways to grab attention and entice more gamers to the site. This has grown massively over the last few years in particular, as the Internet has taken over our lives completely, and almost everything we do nowadays revolves around the World Wide Web; think about it, we barely do anything that doesn’t involve an online connection of some sort, be it through an iPad/tablet, smartphone, or laptop. Technology truly has taken over the world.

Online casino gaming is basically the online version of heading to a bricks and mortar casino, and you could argue that cuts down on costs, because you don’t need to travel, you don’t need to buy drinks, you don’t need to free up what is usually an entire evening, and you can be totally unsociable if you so wish. On top of this, the pay back percentages are generally a little higher than those you will find in a regular, stand-alone building casino.

Everything has its day, and it’s hard to say whether the current trend of online casino popularity will continue or whether it will wane, but whilst people continue to want to bet and make money online, there is little sign of it disappearing anytime soon. If you’re looking for a way to pass the time this winter, with the potential to line your bank balance a little, then why not find your ideal online casino website and sign up; provided you’re sensible and you understand that this is gambling, then there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a little of the perks of an online casino.

Some rights reserved by Miss Shari

October 29, 2015

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Bored This Winter? Head Online!

With dark winter days comes a little bit of boredom. Whilst this might not to everyone’s liking, there are happily plenty of ways you can entertain yourself on those evenings when there is simply nothing on TV, and nobody seems to want to talk to you on Facebook.

Luckily, the internet is at hand, and this is where a world of entertainment is literally at your fingertips. All you need is a good quality internet connection and you can enjoy yourself with a wide variety of activities – no need to leave the house!

Stream TV or films

Sites like Netflix have revolutionised how we watch TV, as we can now choose whatever we want to see, without having to wait for it to arrive on our TVs in its own time! You can sit and watch back to back episodes of your favourite US drama, you can watch the latest films, or you can catch up on some random comedy that last aired on TV about ten years ago – the choice is yours.

Play a few games, win a little cash

Online casino games could certainly mean cash in your pocket for sitting and enjoying yourself of an evening! Simply register, follow instructions, and choose your game, and be ready for the possibility of cash rolling in. Play Vegas games with William Hill and you will see the wide variety of games on offer, all great fun and certainly a way to starve off winter boredom.

Plan your next holiday

We know that the Internet also means a world of information right in front of us, and what better way to beat the winter blues than by planning your next sun-soaked holiday? Get online and start researching!

Shop ‘til you drop (on the sofa)

Now, online shopping may have its downfalls, i.e. it’s quite addictive and you can easily spend too much, but you can also grab quite a lot of bargains by doing your shopping via the comfort of your sofa. Think Christmas shopping for example, what better way to beat the crowds than by not actually joining them?

Give your opinion and earn a little extra money

There are many ways you can earn a little extra cash on the Internet, and whilst you’re not going to make a huge fortune, you can make a little for a rainy day. Online surveys offer cash rewards for your opinions, and it literally involves ticking a few boxes. Granted, you’re going to have to give a lot of opinions to earn much, but if you’re not doing much else, why not?

Meet the love of your life

Online dating used to have such a stigma attached to it, but not anymore! If you’re single, why not spend your spare time browsing available profiles and chatting to people you like? You never know who you might meet, and it’s not like you even have to dress up for the occasion!

These are just a few ways you can amble a little spare time away whilst you’re browsing the Internet in your boredom hours.

July 30, 2015

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Top 4 Romantic Things To Do While On Holiday In Salcombe

If you fancy a secluded getaway for two, Salcombe is your perfect partner. Nestled on the beautiful South Devon coastline this picturesque seaside town offers plenty of romantic things to do for couples.

When you arrive at Salcombe, especially if you’re staying in one of the many luxurious holiday cottages in and around the town, you’ll find the chance for romance around every corner. Here are four romantic things to do while on holiday in Salcombe.

A Romantic Stroll

romantic stroll

With its winding streets, picture postcard houses and sandy beaches,Salcombe is home to so many romantic walks. But it’s when you get out of the town and explore the sweep of the South Devon countryside that you’ll feel love in the air.

You can walk in any direction you choose and soak up the views, luscious greenery and abundant wildlife. For an easy stroll try visiting nearby BolberryDown. Maintained by the National Trust, this area of rare grassland has a network of flat, gentle paths to explore all banked by a bounty of wild flowers. Up on the cliff tops you can see for miles on a clear day and soak up the views out across the sea.

Share A Picnic

picnic

A picnic is definitely one of the most romantic things to do in the area, and can be a natural part of your walk. Again, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to locations.

Nearby to Salcombe sits the secluded coastal inlet of Soar Mill Cove. With rugged cliffs protecting the sandy beach from winds, Soar Mill Cove is a beautiful spot to share strawberries, cream and perhaps a glass of champagne.

A Table For Two

table for two

Spending time ambling along the coast will bring you closer together and also work up an appetite, so be sure to book yourself a table for two at one of Salcombe’s fine restaurants. A table for two is one of those everyday romantic things to do, but sharing delicious food over a bottle of wine should never be overlooked.

Dick And Wills offers a beautiful location for a relaxed evening meal. This waterside brasserie serves up incredible food, much of it made with local seasonal produce giving you a true taste of Salcombe. And with views that can’t be beaten it’s sure to be an evening to savour together as you linger over dessert.

Relax In A Hot Tub

hot tub

Salcombe enjoys a warm and balmy microclimate, which is what draws visitors all year round especially in the summer months. To make the most of the heat, book a holiday cottage with a hot tub and while away an evening with the love of your life. Let the warm water relax you and share a glass of wine while enjoying the beauty of a Salcombe sunset.

These four romantic things to do in Salcombe are just the start. With the beautiful surroundings there are endless opportunities for romantic moments, all you have to do is grab them.

Looking for a relaxing break with your loved one? Take a look at the romantic holiday cottages that Coast & Country Cottages has available.

July 18, 2015

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Cruise destinations: Top Hidden Gems

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Image by Jeff Weese on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons license.

Hopping on a cruise and sailing away to an exotic locale is a wonderful way to travel, and whether you’re looking to delight in the spectacular views of Alaska, or dive into the crystal pools of the Caribbean, there’s a cruise destination to suit everyone. Here are some of our top choices to add to your itinerary, to make booking that luxury cruise just that little bit easier.

Honduras

Central America is becoming increasingly popular as a cruise destination, as it provides the perfect opportunity to discover the cultural variety of its many countries. Nestled in amongst this is the small nation of Honduras, the perfect destination if you want the Caribbean with a twist. Here you find the obligatory beautiful beaches, warm waters and palm fringed shores, but it’s also a haven for tropical wildlife, like jaguars, sloths, snakes and macaws. The birds and butterflies at Roatan Butterfly Farm make a lovely day trip, and will introduce you to some of the most colorful animals in the country.

Mexico

Mexico is a huge country, with its eastern coast hugging both the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf. If it’s sand and sea you’re after, Cozumel is guaranteed to please. Adventure sports enthusiasts will be kept busy too, snorkeling or diving on the Plancar Reef; one of the best dive spots in the world. If you’re after a little culture, then you’re in luck, as this nation is home to both the Mayan and Aztec cultures, and their history awaits you in Costa Maya, with hidden ruins in the jungles and pyramids, with stunning temples in nearby Kohunlich too – there’s enough to keep everyone busy.

Turks & Caicos Islands

If you’re set on a Caribbean cruise this year, then put the Turks and Caicos Islands on your itinerary. They have all the best features of the Caribbean, but half the number of tourists. Grand Turk is a fascinating island, and the oldest shipwreck in the western hemisphere lies just off its coast. Learn about history at the Turks and Caicos National Museum, or dive under the water to unearth secrets from other shipwrecks. Take a short boat trip to Gibbs Cay, where you can picnic on its shores and hand feed the stingrays – you don’t get that opportunity every day, right?

Alaska

If you’re after something a little different than what the standard sun and sea cruise offers, you’re sure to be left stunned by Alaska’s landscape, where nature and wildlife are at their most dramatic. See some of the top predators in the world on an adventure to spot polar bears, grizzlies and wolves, marvel at the Hubbard Glacier, at over 6 miles wide and 400 years old – it’s one that you’ll be on the edge of the ship balcony for, or disembark at Juneau, where you can get your heart racing with a dog-sled ride. Why not stray from the typical tourist spots, and be witness to this hidden gem?

So, are your sea legs ready for the trip of a lifetime? Is your camera packed?

These cruise destinations are sure to leave you with memories aplenty.