March 30, 2015

Romantic Gift Basket for Him

You can put his favorite bottle of wine or champagne and two glasses that use can both serve in order to celebrate your love. You can also add a card with some romantic messages written on it for him, furry handcuffs, a tape or CD of romantic songs to make the atmosphere more romantic and you can also invite him to dance with you. There are lot of other choices that the basket can contain and that depends upon your creativity and interest of your spouse. But try to make it as romantic and beautiful as you can.

Men’s Jewelry

Although not all men like jewelry but certainly there are some light jewelry items and designs that your husband will surely like. There are plenty of options for this like rings, cuff-links, bracelets and pendants with custom designs or stones. You can also personalize this one to suit his personality and his favorite choices of colors.You need not give some expensive jewelry, there are plenty of alternatives to expensive jewelry that will make a beautiful and romantic gift at reasonable price.

Ring

A ring is always one of the most beautiful and expressively romantic gift for anyone. You can gift him a ring with the first letter of his name engraved on it or of his favorite stone or his birthstone or some other beautiful designs that suit his personality and taste.

Cufflink

Cufflinks are the perfect pieces of men’s jewelry to gift your husband on the first night. Cufflinks with diamonds, quartz, turquoise, emeralds, and rubies make a fantastic and a romantic gift that he can keep with him all the time.

Bracelet

Bracelets are a great gift for men and most of the men love wearing bracelets, so if you can find one that matches the personality and taste of your spouse, it can be a really charming and romantic gift idea for your husband on this special night of your life.

Gadgets

Almost all men love electronic gadgets and choices are plenty in this category. For example, if you husband loves music, a music player would be a great gift or you can also gift him a mobile phone or tablet of his choice and brand.If your husband like most of the men in the world is also a gadget lover, then what can be a better gift than a mobile phone of his choice! Or Laptops which are a Little bit on the costlier side, but still an ideal choice for a gadget gift for your husband.

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March 27, 2015

Beaches Mauritius

The endless white sandy beaches, the turquoise blue lagoons and the clean nice warm seawater all these are things for which Mauritius is so famous. There is an offshore riff almost around the whole island, riff which is the main factor in the genesis of this paradise with beaches and lagoons. The coastline of Mauritius is approximately 330 km long and nearly everywhere you can find the nice sandy beaches.

On many of these beaches are situated by the big hotels. However it is important to know that all beaches of Mauritius are public.
Furthermore the coastal regions of the small island in the Indian Ocean offer the best environment for any kind of water sports.

The following briefly description of the nicest beaches of Mauritius are grouped by the different areas:

EAST COAST

Blue Bay

Blue Bay – the bay with its nice deep blue color in the southeast of Mauritius. Once you reach the bay of Blue Bay, you know where the name comes from. The colors of the sea are incredibly powerful and consist of a variety of many different blues. The Blue Bay has a very nice public beach which is perfectly suited for swimming and relaxing. Blue Bay, as well as the general area in the south and south-east is not so much touristically tapped. That is why the beach of Blue Bay is very quiet during the week. On weekends, however, one has the feeling that the half population of Mauritus pilgrimages here to spend some nice free days at seaside.
If you walk the bay down a little to the left you will first pass by a hotel. Continue the way and a series of small lonely beautiful bays opens up. They are also very quiet at the weekends.

Blue Bay is particularly famous for its snorkeling trips. Since 1997, a 353-hectare area which is located in the sea just in front of the public beach is appointed as the first and until now the only Marine Park in Mauritius. The reasons for the foundation are the unusual and unique coral gardens, which are situated here. The marineecosystem provides a rare beauty with its many different species of flora and fauna. These are especially the corals, which are in an incredibly good condition. Overall a figure of about 72 different corals and 32 different species of fishes are founded in this area. The corals are sometimes even up to 800 years old.

Opposite the Public Beach is located a visitor center of the Marine park where you can get information about the park.

To reach the park the best way is to go out with a glass bottom boat. The trip will take between 1 ½ and several hours. First the boat will drive you through the park, which is already an experience. Through the glass bottom of the boat you will have a good visibility up to the ground of the park and the skipper will provide you most probably some information about the different corals and fish.

Afterwords the boat will anchor and you have the opportunity to go snorkeling. The underwater world in which you dip here is really unique. The centuries-old coral garden and the various fishes that pass by make you feeling as if you were a part of them.

Depending on what you arranged with your skipper, you can now visit the Ile de Deux Cocos which provide some beautiful beaches.The skipper will pick you up after some time to bring you back to the public beach of Blue Bay.

Belle Mare
Some of the most beautiful beaches on the island are situated along the east coast.

One of these is the beach of Belle Mare which is a miles long white sandy beach stretched till the next small village Trou dÈau Douce. Because of its length the beach of Belle Mare is perfectly suited for sport activities like jogging and walking and also it is great for endless long walks along the coast.

If you walk the public beach down to your right hand you will pass next to one of the best hotels of Mauritius.

Another peculiarity of the beach of Belle Mare is the combination of the colors. The turquoise deep blue lagoon ends up in a white clean beach which is bordered to lush green grassland covered by many trees and plants which provides also many shadow possibilities.

But: You should be careful if you want to go swimming. The sea has a quite strong north current. Please stay close to the beach and don’t swim too far out.

WEST COAST

Flic en Flac
The beach of Flic en Flac, located on the west coast of Mauritius is the longest beach of the island. It covers a long part of the west coast and provides also perfect possibilities for endless beach walks. If you walk the beach down to the south you will reach the next village Tamarin after approximately 1 ½ hour where you will find the next gorgeous beach as well as the best spot for surfing in Mauritius.

The beach of Flic en Flac is a natural beach which is the cause for the ashore corals, sea urchin and shells which makes the beach special and unique. Of course the beach of Flic en Flac provides also a turquoise blue lagoon which offers best swimming possibilities with out strong currents. One thing you need to take care of is the sea urchins which appear in the flicenflac-beaches-mauritiuswater. A good protection is to wear swimming shoes which can be for example bought in the supermarket

On weekdays the beach of Flic en Flac is quite empty and calm in opposite to the week-ends when the beach is well visited by natives coming on the beach for camping and enjoying the days off.

On the northern end of the beach you can find a beach volleyball net which belongs to the Hotel “Villa Caroline”. In spite of it everybody can play on the net. Almost everyday after 5 pm you will meet some volleyball players for a match.

Tamarin

The bay of Tamarin is one sight you definitely should visit during you stay in Mauritius. This small village has a special atmosphere and charm and is one of my favorite places in Mauritius.

Some of its particularities are first of all the Black River which comes from the highlands and ends up in the bay of Tamarin whereby a gorgeous view over the river land and the adjoin mountains of the high land of Mauritius is given. The river cuts the beach of Tamarin in two parts. You can reach from one part to the other by crossing the river by foot. When it rains a lot and the high tide comes the water in the river can be quite deep but most of the time it is not a problem to cross it.

Another particularity is the ground of the sea which consists only of sand and some stones. You don’t need to worry about sea urchins and corals which means there is no need for you to wear swimming shoes.

Furthermore Tamarin bay is one of the rare places which hasn’t got an offshore riff therefore the sea in Tamarin is tougher and if there are the appropriate weather conditions you can see meter high waves dashing into the bay. In the shallow water of Tamarin Bay it is not dangerous to swim, surf and enjoy the waves. Only sometimes the sea can have a very strong current which can pull you out into the deep sea. But if there is a current you won’t see anybody in the water. It is always good to ask locals before going swimming anywhere where you don’t know the water.
Between the missing offshore riff in Tamarin is one of the best surfing spots in Mauritius especially for beginners. Get further information about surfing in Mauritius here.

On week days the bay of Tamarin is very lonely and calm. It can happen that you have the entire beach for yourself but on week-ends especially Sundays all locals of the surroundings meet up at the beach and enjoy the sun and the sea. Friday and Saturday night there are often people who set up a campfire singing, dancing, drinking and having a party on the beach.

La Preneuse

About 5 km south of Tamarin the next village La Preneuse with its nice small bay is settled. A small public sandy beach belongs to this village. This place is very interesting for going snorkelling. The once destroyed offshore coral riff starts growing again and provides very nice underwater views. The Mauritius Marine Conservation Society (MMCS) which is located (in) here is planning to open the second marine national park in front of the bay of La Prenouse.

The sea is safe for swimming however it is better to go swimming a bit to the south of the main entrance of the public beach because of some little current which can be on the other side. But you will find a sign on the spot.

The beach of La Preneuse is also very nice for watching the sun setting in the Indian Ocean if you prefer to do that on a lonely place.
In front of the public beach there are located a watchtower and some old cannons from the time when the pirates entered Mauritius which gives you a little impression of the history of Mauritius.

SOUTH COAST

Le Morne

Le Morne is a small village in the southwest of Mauritius.

le-morne-brabant-beaches-mauritiusThe town was founded by former slaves. The beaches of Le Morne are located on the peninsula on the foot of the Le Morne Brabant, an approximately 550 meter high mountain. The Le Morne Brabant was adopted by the UNESCO as World Heritage since 2008. The reason is, above all, his tragic history. In the 18th and early 19th century, hundreds of slaves fled to the mountain and have been hiding there for fear of their holders, who actually wanted to deliver them the decision of the discharge and the freedom of the slaves. The high fear of the slaves drove them to their deaths, since many of them jumped down from the high mountains before the men could absolve them. Since this sad event the Le Morne Brabant is a symbol of the slaves fight for freedom.

From the main road a junction is leading up to the peninsula. If you follow this road you will reach the public beach of Le Morne. The white coral sand beach is very beautiful and a destination for a weekend trip of many locals. A particularity of the beach of Le Morne is the very clear water which provides a beautiful visibility. If you go swimming please beware the current that sometimes is strong. But bathing is in kite-surfe-beach-le-morne-beaches-mauritiusgeneral safe here.

Furthermore the trees which are bordering the beach are providing good shade opportunities.

Take the road a little further, you come to the next beach of Le Morne, which is particularly popular for windsurfing and kite surfers. Perfect wind conditions are given almost all year-round. Also for all non-surfers among us it is worth to make a trip to the beach to watch the professional surfers.

Swimming at this beach is also possible. However, you should orientate a little bit left of the surfers, because otherwise unpleasant collisions may occur.Those who prefer to enjoy a calm and sheltered beach should choose the first of the two beaches of Le Morne.

Ilôt Sancho

ilotsancho-beaches-mauritiusIn the southern part of Mauritius between Bel Ombre and St. Fénix is located a small island Ilôt Sancho. The island is reachable by walk from the beach of the Riviere des Gallet by crossing the very shallow sea on this spot. The island itself is very small. You can make a walk around the island in approximately 10 minutes. On the island there is not much to see except a small forest. But anyway it is a nice place for a short visit.

In front of the beach of Riviere des Gallet there is another surfing spot which is not suitable for beginners because of the strong current and the shallow water over the coral riff. A surf competition is organised on this spot once a year in November/December where you can watch the best local surfers.

The sea on this spot is not really suited for swimming. But on the right part of the island you also can go swimming and enjoy the sea. In the past the Ilôt Sancho was a prized place for pirates where they buried their loot.

St Félix

public-beach-st-felix-beaches-mauritiusThe public beach of St Félix is another beautiful beach of Mauritius. St. Felix is located also in the south between the towns of Belle Ombre and Soulliac. Actually St Félix has even two public beaches; however, the second beach from the direction of Le Morne is much more beautiful. To get there you have to continue the road after the direction sign to the public beach of St Félix a little bit until you reach a roundabout where you have to take the third exit. From here you can even see the sea.

The beach is wonderful, the exceptionally white sand, which flows into the turquoise green of the Indian Ocean of Mauritius, gives a wonderful contrast to the verdant trees of the back land. The beach of St Félix is very lonely and offers an excellent opportunity to chill out and relax. However, a small disadvantage from the beach of St Felix in Mauritius is that bathing is problematic. First the ground of the lagoon is covered with corals in which one or the other fish from the family of the highly toxic stone fishes can be founded. Secondly the current can be quite strong and should not be sneezed.

Riviere des Galets

A different beach in the south of the Riviere des Galets.

riviere-des-galets

For ages the river has rolled the stones down to the shore. The sea ebb and flow have scluptered them smooth. Neither the river nor the sea would like them to be removed from there.

It is a great place for a picnic or just to enjoy the natural forces. Here you can smell the sea and the mountains, hear the water and the movement of the stones and see the waves. So it’s an experience for all senses.

The beach is located between Souillac and Bel Ombre. If you follow the coastal road from east to west, it is soon after the Public Beach of St. Felix.

This is not a beach for taking a bath, but a very impressive place in the south of the island. Generally, in the south, the bathing is more dangerous than on other beaches, because here the island is not protected by the reef. The currents in the water are dangerous and there are sharks are frequently seen.

NORTH COAST

Mont Choisy

The public beach of Mont Choisy is situated between Pointe aux Cannoniers and Mont Choisy not far away from Grand Baie. The beach belongs to one of the longest and most beautiful ones in Mauritius – you can take a walk for more than 3 kilometers. Many sports activities such as jogging, aerobic and waterskiing can be done there aswell.

During the week there are only a few tourists who share the huge sandy beach. There is more than enough space for you to enjoy the sun. Mont Choisy Beach sun umbrellasIf you wish to have a little bit more comfort you can rent sunloungers and sun umbrellas at the southern end of the beach near Mont Choisy. From there it is only few minutes walk to reach the Hindu statues which are put close to the ocean.

Even though it is very quiet from Monday to Friday the beach will be crowded with locals especially on Sundays. Many people come here to spend the weekend at the beach and have a good time with the whole family. Food, as well as tables, chairs, music and any other thing that might be needed at the beach is brought along. Even though not really relaxing is it a very interesting and funny experience to spend a day at the beach at the weekends.

If you feel hungry you can just go to one of the many stands in the shadow of the filao trees and have a little snack.

Beach Pereybere
Some minutes drive from Grand Baie in the middle of Pereybere you can find a nice and busy public beach, which is visited by locals as well as tourists. Lying on the white sand int the bay you can watch the turquoise sea and the catamarans which pass by from time to time. There are many bars and restaurants around which offer food for any taste. There is Chinese as well as European and Mauritian cuisine

La Cuvette
The public beach of La Cuvette is only some metres La-Cuvette-beaches-mauritiusaway from the centre of Grand Baie. If you drive from Grand Baie to Pereybere you will see a little sign on the left sight which shows the way to the beach. Right next to it there is the restaurant and nightclub Godfather. Here you can relax on sun loungers which can be rented and you can get fresh pineapple, coconuts and some other snacks. To the left side you can easily walk along the beach around ten minutes to get to the centre of Grand Baie.

Trou aux Biches
This beach is great for sunbathing as well as snorkeling and any other kinds of sports activities. As Trou aux Biches is a fisher village there are many boats in the water, but there still enough room left to swim a bit. Some people even call it one of the best beaches in Mauritius as the water is very clear and the reef is close so snorkeling is easy accessible. You can also do water skiing, parasailing, kayaking, boat racing, big game fishing and diving. Even from the distance you will see the guys wearing red T-Shirts which will be more than happy to help you. In case you have further questions or would like to book in advance just call Kayne +230 261 4748. The beach is easy accessible as a bus station is right in front of it. Buses to Port Louis leave at least every 20 minutes and on the way you can stop at the beach of Pointe aux Piments. This beach is very natural and bathing is not allowed as the streaming is quite strong and the beach is covered with rocks.

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March 26, 2015

10 of the Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Ireland

Outdoors lovers will find lots to be excited about in Ireland, with acres of wild and windswept countryside, cute-as-a-button villages and hair-raising coastal cliffs making up the country's surprisingly varied scenery.

1. Cliffs of Moher

Ireland's mighty Cliffs of Moher reign strong as one of the country's most visited natural attractions – towering 214 meters over the Atlantic Ocean in western Ireland. The iconic cliffs run from near the village of Doolin for around 8km to Hags Head in County Clare and host the country's most spectacular coastal walk. Carved out by a gigantic river delta around 320 million years ago, the imposing cliffs also offer incredible views, stretching over Galway Bay, the distant Twelve Pins mountain range and the northern Maum Turk Mountains.

2. Ring of Kerry

Ireland's most scenic tourist trail, the Ring of Kerry, runs 120 miles through some of southwestern Ireland's most jaw-dropping landscapes. A patchwork of lush meadows, glacial lakes and heather-topped mountains, the Ring of Kerry includes highlights like the rugged Beara Peninsula and the Kerry Way – Ireland's longest and oldest walking route. Stop off on route at the Killarney National park, a UNESCO World Heritage biosphere reserve, home to the 15th century Ross Castle and a herd of wild red deer .

3. The Giant's Causeway

Northern Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, the Giant's Causeway is proof that Mother Nature provides the most dramatic tourist attractions. The natural wonder is comprised of around 40,000 polygonal basalt rock columns, formed by the ancient volcanic landscape and stretching along the coastline like a series of gigantic stepping stones. A Giants Causeway Day Trip from Belfast is one of the country's most popular excursions, with visitors taking the unique opportunity to walk one of nature's most peculiar pathways.

4. Skellig Islands

Ireland's magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Skellig Islands make a worthy side trip from the popular Ring of Kerry tourist trail, a pair of small rocky mounds that rise up from the sea off the coast of Portmagee. Not only are the two islands – Skellig Michael and Little Skellig – home to a fascinating 6th-century monastic complex perched on the 230-meter high cliff top, but they also host an impressive array of birdlife. Look out for Gannets, Black Guillemots, Cormorants, Razorbills and Herring Gulls as you climb the hair-raisingly steep 600-step climb to view the monastic remains.

5. Aran Islands

Famous for their traditional knitted 'Aran sweaters' (sold all over the UK) and car-free roads, the Aran Islands are one of few places left where you can experience a traditional Irish village, unmarred by the modern developments of the mainland. Here, many locals still speak Gaelic as their first language, live in small farming communities and drive pony traps. The countryside is equally enchanting – historic forts teetering on cliff tops, endless sandy beaches and miles of rugged coastline.

6. Glenveagh National Park

Ireland's second-largest National Park at 14,000 acres, Glenveagh is County Donegal's number 1 attraction, drawing hikers and fishermen from all over the country. While you're taking in the mountaintop views, enjoying afternoon tea in the 19th century Glenveagh Castle or fishing for salmon and trout in the glittering lakes, keep a lookout for the park's rare wildlife. The formerly extinct Golden Eagle was reintroduced to the park in 2000 and they share their habitat with Ireland's largest herd of red deer.

7. The Burren

A mind-boggling landscape of ruts, fissures and rocky mounds, walking across the Burren has been likened to walking on the moon. Sculpted through thousands of years of acid erosion, the karst landscape appears like a giant jigsaw of grikes (fissures) and clints (isolated rocks jutting from the surface), teetering 300-meters above the ocean on the coast of County Clare in western Ireland. Be sure to take a closer look as you trek over the rocks, too – the rocky terrain nurtures a surprising variety of rare plants and insects (around 700 different species), with colorful wildflowers blooming between the cracks throughout the spring.

8. Connemara National Park

Another one of Ireland's National Parks, Connemara is famous for its herd of native Connemara Ponies and its wild countryside, sprawling around the famous Twelve Bens mountain range. Three of the Twelve Bens – Benbaun, Bencullagh and Benbrack – lie within the National Park boundaries, traversed by a vast network of hiking and climbing trails. Another highlight is the magnificent Kylemore Abbey, a former monastery housed in one of Ireland's most beautiful castles.

9. Glendalough

A popular day trip from Dublin, Glendalough, or the 'Valley of Two Lakes', is one of Ireland's most prominent monastic sites, nestled in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The 6th century Christian settlement was founded by St. Kevin and boasts a series of impressive remains set against a backdrop of picturesque Irish countryside. Nicknamed 'the garden of Ireland', Wicklow is a nature lover's paradise of rolling meadows, vast lakes and hillsides carpeted in purple heather.

10. Cooley Peninsula

At northeastern tip of Ireland, the remote Cooley Peninsula juts out into the Irish Sea just below the border of Northern Ireland and while the region remains largely free of tourists, there's still plenty of stunning scenery to take in. Enjoy the views from the forested Mourne Mountains, stop off at the charming medieval village of Carlingford and walk the windswept coastline in one of the country's most rewarding off-the-beaten-track destinations.

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March 25, 2015

Top 10 Places To Visit In Chennai

Chennai is a capital city of TamilNadu. It has become a developed city. It is a sixth most populous city of India. Chennai is a must visit place. Let’s have a glimpse of top 10 places to visit in Chennai.

1. Elliot’s Beach

Elliot’s Beach is known as Besant Nagar Beach, it is situated at Besant Nagar. The Elliot’s Beach near Chennai is a well known destination for people who seek relief from the crowded metropolitan life of the Chennai. Here you can have sun bath, play with sand and enjoy with your loved one’s.

2. Anna Zoological Par
k

Chennai had the distinction of having the first Zoo in India. Arignar Anna Zoological Park is one of the biggest zoos in South East Asia extending over an area of 602 ha. The zoo has excellent programmes for endangered animals and Zoo education. You can plan a family picnic for this place. Nice place to hangout.

3. Marina Beach

It runs in north of Besant Nagar. For a visitor, a visit to Chennai is incomplete without a visit to the Marina Beach. Here you’ll get the mesmerised by the beauty of beach. It will give you fresh air and make you refresh. It is a place to hangout with friends and loved ones.

4. Dakshina Chitra

Dakshina Chitra showcasing the culture of south india. It reflects the entire South with all perspectives. The concept is brilliant. Here you can have the experience of various exhibitions, witness folk performances, interact with village artisans, and indulge in craft activities. It is the best place to experience south India.

5. Covelong Beach

It is one of the most prominent beaches of Tamilnadu. Covelong Beach, sited on the way to Mahabalipuram. It is place to relax and enjoy peace, a perfect getaway from city. It is located in a village called Covelong.

6. San Thome Church

It is built in 16th century by Portuguese. It has great architect. This place gives you peace of mind. According to many tourists it is a must see place in chennai.It is one of 3 cathedrals in the world built on the tomb of one of the apostles of Jesus.

7. Muttukadu

It is 45 minute drive from Chennai and two hour drive from Pondicherry. The drive from Pondicherry to Muttukadu is relatively scenic for India standards. It is a total fascinating place. It is a great getaway for a romantic date or also for a family picnic. Muttukadu is actually an back water situated on the East coast road (ECR). Its famous for its boating. The boat house there was maintained by Tamil Nadu tourism and offer pedal boat, Row boat and Motor boat facilities.

8. Sri Parthasarathy Temple

The Parthasarathy Temple is an 8th century Hindu Vaishnavite temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, It is one among the oldest temple in Chennai. It will be a good experience to visit this temple. Once you entered in this temple you will find yourself in a totally new world.

9. The Anna Centenary Library

This Library is one of the best in India in terms of modern amnesties with lot of books and also ebooks. It is a good place for those who loves to read. Here you get almost all kind of books. The Library is equipped with all topics and has huge collection of books neatly arranged and maintained.

10. Kapaleeshwar Temple

This temple is build in 17th century. This temple is located in Mylapore, it is a temple of Lord Shiva. You will have a amazing experience in this temple. Temple is beautifully constructed. To those who desire a spiritual and artistic experience the temple is a marvelous adventure.

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March 24, 2015

Places to visit in Nepal

 

Pokhara Valley: Pokhara is Nepal's second most popular tourist destination and its adventure capital. It is overshadowed by a massive wall of the Himalayas, and dominated by the towering peak of the Annapurna range. Even more impressive is the fishtailed pinnacle of Mt. Machhapuchhare (6977 mt.) For the adventurous, the massif of Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m) waits to be explored. Pokhara is the starting point for the most famous treks in Nepal, in the Annapurna area. Pokara is situated 200 K.M. west of Kathmandu.

Phewa Lake: The second largest lake in the kingdom, this is the center of attraction in Pokhara. The eastern shore, popularly known as lake side, or Baidam, is the favorite hang out for travelers, and is where most of the hotels, restaurants, and handicraft shops are located.
Begnas & Rupa Lake – The lakes offer the perfect natural retreat because of their relative seclusion. Splendid boating and fishing oppertunities can be had here.

Barahi Temple:The most important religious monument in Pokhara, built almost in the middle of Phewa Lake, this two storied pagoda is dedicated to the manifestation of Ajima, the protectress deity who represents the female force.

Seti Gandaki: Flowing right through the city, this turbulent river runs completely underground in places. Amazingly, at certain points, the river hardly appears to be two meters wide, but it is quite deep, up to over 45 meters.

Devi’s Fall: Locally known as "Pataley Chhango", this is an awesome waterfall lying about two km. southwest of Pokhara airport. Legend has it that a trekker (Devin David….) was washed away by the Pardi Khola (river) and mysteriously disappeared down into an underground passage beneath the fall.

Mahendra Gupha (cave): Another of nature's wonders in Pokhara is the Mahendra Gupha. This large limestone cave is locally known as the house of bats, which is an apt name for it. A two hour walk to the north of Pokhara, it is best to bring your own torch in order to see the stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the local winged residents.

Lumbini :The birth place of Lord Buddha.Nepal is as well known to the world as the sacred birth place of Lord Buddha as it is famous for its mountains and monuments. It attained a high level of civilization and prosperity, and its acclaim is well deserved. Buddha was born into a royal family. Immediately after his birth, he took seven steps in the four cardinal directions, and wherever he set foot, a divine lotus flower bloomed.

The main attraction at Lumbini is the Secred Garden, which is spread out over 8 sq km and contains all of the treasures of this historical area. The Mayadevi temple is the main attraction for pilgrims and archaeologists alike. Here we find a bas relief that shows Mayadevi, the Buddha’s mother, giving birth to him. Standing west of the Mayadevi shirine is the oldest monument in Nepal, the Ashoka Pillar. The pillar was erected by Emperor Ashoka in order to commemorate his pilgrimage to the sacred site.

Chitwan National Park & Wild Life Jungle Safari

Royal Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is very popular for tourists. Chitwan is about 5 hoursdrivefrom Kathmandu. This Natio nal Park lies at very low elevation and it is warmer than the rest of Nepal. . To visit this National Park, here are many different kinds of accommodations are available. Those lodges which are inside the National Park are bit expensive compared with the lodges which are outside of the Park. Here you can have really pleasant time with your family, friendsor by yourself. Chitwan National Park is avery important place to learn about local flora and fauna. We need at least 2 days to do the regular activities such as Elephant ride, Jungle safari, Slide show, Local culture dance, Bird watching etc.Travelers usually go to Chitwan after their trek.You may also go after your white water rafting trip. It would be better not to miss this place while you are in Nepal.

Activities in Chitwan National Park

  1. Elephant Ride
  2. Birdwatching
  3. Jungle walk
  4. Village tour
  5. Elephant briefing
  6. Canoe Ride
  7. Slide show
  8. Tharu culture dance etc.

Day 1. Departure from Kathmandu

Day 2. Ful day activities in the National Park

Day 3. Departure from Chitwan National Park

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March 21, 2015

Must-See Sites in Montreal and Quebec City

Explore the museums, parks and attractions that make Montreal and Quebec City some of the most diverse, beautiful and exciting places in Canada.

Basilique Notre-Dame

The most significant landmark of Vieux-Montreal is this mammoth Gothic Revival undertaking designed by Irish architect James O’Donnell and built between 1824-9. This thriving Catholic church has a stunning medieval-style interior that features walnut-wood carvings, exquisite stained-glass windows, 24-carat gold stars in a vaulted blue ceiling, as well as one of the largest Casavant organs in North America. Don’t miss the fine art paintings in the nave and the impressive Chapelle du Sacre-Coeur hidden behind the altar.

La Citadelle, Quebec City

Dramatically set atop Cap Diamant, this installation of 10 buildings is the largest military fortification in North America. Overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the site was begun by the French in 1750, but much of the striking star-shaped battlement seen today was constructed by the British between 1820 and 1850, built to defend the city from possible invasion from the United States, in the 19th century. The fort is an active home to the Royal 22nd Regiment of the Canadian Forces and daily military spectacles are staged to entertain visitors during the summer months.

Parc du Mont-Royal

The geographic highlight of Montreal is undeniably Mont-Royal’s steep slopes. Named by Jacques Cartier in 1535, the protected district of Parc du Mont-Royal covers more than 343 acres of forested mountain, providing abundant green spaces, shrubs and flowers, as well as habitats for hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife. Designed in 1876 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Mont-Royal continues to inspire locals as an arboreal delight in the center of their metropolis – activity options, depending on the time of year, include skating, cycling, paddle-boating, tobogganing and snowshoeing. To the northwest of the park is the impressive Oratoire St-Joseph.

Musée de la Civilisation de Quebec

Few museums in the world receive the kind of rave reviews given to the MCQ. The exhibitions (two of which are permanent) cover history, culture, sports, science, and intellectual and esoteric themes in a range of interactive ways that entertain and educate visitors. Designed by the celebrated architect Moshe Safdie, creator of Ottawa’s National Gallery, the MCQ incorporates the muse de l’Amerique Francaise, the Maison Chevalier, the Seminaire de Quebec, as well as the Place-Royale Interpretation Center, to produce this vibrant look at local life in all its facets. The main entrance is the rue Dalhousie site.

Parc Olympique

One of Montreal’s most remarkable attractions, Parc Olympique is also one of its most controversial. Built for the 1976 Olympic Games, it remained unfinished until the 1980s, despite a cost of $1.4 billion, and the retractable roof over the stadium has never full worked. Nevertheless, visitors can easily spend a full day or two entertained by the varied exhibitions, sights and activities available within this immense quadrilateral. Ride the funicular to the top of the Tour Montreal for the most enthralling view of the region.

Basilique Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré

The oldest pilgrimage site in North America began life in 1658 as a shrine to this patron saint of Quebec and was established as a basilica in 1887. The present church, started in 1923 but only completed in 1963, has a striking interior with sumptuous decoration, including impressive window archways. Hundreds of crutches, canes and medical aids can be seen stacked in pyramids beside the medieval-style entrance, testimony to pilgrim prayer and the healing powers associated with Sainte Anne de Beaupre. Stunning religious statues frame the entrance and line the luxurious gardens, including a Way of the Cross.

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March 20, 2015

8 great places to visit in the Balkans

 

Though one could spend years, probably even decades, exploring all there is to see in the Balkans, here are eight great places to start with.

1. Belgrade, Serbia

‘Vibrant’ isn’t strong enough a word to describe Serbia’s beloved capital. It’s true that you can find a party going on every night of the week, and with layers upon layers of history, from ancient to modern, you will not be at a loss for cultural things to see and do. Rapidly-changing Belgrade is well on its way to being one of the coolest capital cities in Europe.

2. Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Perhaps no other city in the region warms the heart at the mention of its name as much as Sarajevo. East meets west is the easiest way to describe the aesthetics and mood of the place, but how it makes you feel on the inside when you are walking its streets and drinking kafa in its cozy cafes is reason enough to book your ticket.

3. Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor is one of the most magical towns along Montenegro’s Adriatic coast. Tucked down south in the Bay of Kotor, it is surrounded by sweeping mountain views. Its Medieval old town gets pretty jammed in July and August, but for the most part Kotor has retained most of its authenticity and charm.

4. Split, Croatia

There are ancient ruins all over Europe, but there is no other place you will be as immersed in them as in Split – that is, assuming you spend most of your time within the walls of 1600 year-old Diocletian’s Palace. While it has traditionally been the main port for exploring the nearby Dalmatian islands, it has blossomed into a destination worthy of spending a few days rather than a few hours. Along with the arrival of lots of new restaurants and classy places to stay, the attractions of Mosor mountain and Krka National Park are close by.

5. Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Plovdiv, Bulgaria is thought to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe which you won’t be able to fully digest until you make your way up to the 2nd Century Roman amphitheatre of Philippopolis. It was only discovered in 1968, somewhat by accident, during the construction of a tunnel through the mountain. Although there are plenty of things to see and do in town, it also makes a great base for exploring Bulgaria’s Thracian wine region.

6. Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia

If you only see one place in the Republic of Macedonia, let it be Ohrid. Situated on one of Europe’s oldest, deepest and most enchanting lakes, Lake Ohrid, it’s one of the most popular summer resort towns in the Balkans. It might be wise to avoid peak season, unless you are a die-hard nightlife fan and you don’t mind paying double or triple prices.

7. Tirana, Albania

This city might be a surprising addition to the list, but as a colourful, quirky gateway to the rest of Albania and subsequently some of the best beaches in Europe, it had to make the cut. Tirana is probably unlike any capital city you have ever visited, but what else would you expect from a country that was for the most part isolated from the rest of the world for nearly half a century.

8. Prizren, Kosovo

As the cultural capital of Kosovo, Prizren might be the best place to start on a visit to the second-newest nation in the world. Once a prominent city under the Ottoman Empire, you can still find quite a bit of architecture from that era around town, and Turkish as a widely-spoken and understood language. The city comes alive in August when Dokufest, an international documentary and short film festival, takes over with its exhibitions, screenings, and parties.

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March 19, 2015

Something perfect for everyone: Museums in SalzburgerLand

Ideal for a fascinating excursion with the whole family, both summer and winter: The numerous museums in SalzburgerLand. Whether the FIS State Ski Museum or the planetarium in Königsleiten – get to know the culture and traditions of SalzburgerLand a little more closely.

MUSEUM TIPS SALZBURGERLAND

Mining Museum, Leogang -
This much-praised museum depicts the rich mining history of Leogang and the Pillersee region.

Klammstein Castle, Gastein Valley
– Standing at the entrance to Gastein Valley is Klammstein Castle, the oldest historic structure in Gastein. The Castle Museum presents themes such as history, hunting, minerals, and the trade route through Gastein Valley.

FIS State Ski Museum, Werfenweng
– Here the true history of skiing, jumping and snowboarding is recounted – from the very beginnings of this "white sport" some 5,000 years ago, to the latest technological developments and the battle for hundredths of seconds.

Open-Air Museum, Grossgmain
– In Grossgmain near Salzburg, 60 original farm buildings from across SalzburgerLand and spanning five centuries can be seen, walked through and experienced – in other words, a microcosm of the SalzburgerLand.

Karl Heinrich Waggerl House, Wagrain
-This house served as the home for Karl Heinrich Waggerl for over 50 years, and it was also here that his most beautiful works were penned.

Celtic Museum, Hallein
– One of the most important museums dedicated to Celtic culture: Its collection features unique exhibits, and provides extensive insights into the oldest, distinct culture in Central Europe.

Heritage Museum,  Mauterndorf Castle
– Awaiting the whole family at Mauterndorf Castle is a fascinating journey back through time to the days of the Middle Ages:
Here you will make the acquaintanceship of no less than the lord of the castle himself, Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach, along with his large entourage.

National Park Center, Mittersill
– The National Park Center casts light on the natural-history highlights of the National Park. Just like a hike in the park itself, visitors can wander from one different theme zone and habitat to the next.

Pinzgau Heritage Museum, Schloss Ritzen
– On an exhibition space of some 1,200 m2, you will find a mineral exhibition, finds dating back to early history, details about geology, hunting, art reflective of popular religious piety and a collection of Nativity scenes, as well as fascinating insights into farmers' lives, folk costumes, craftsmanship, agriculture and folk traditions.

"King of the Airs" House, Rauris
– At this interactive exhibition, you will learn everything you could possibly wish to know about golden eagles, bearded vultures, griffon vultures and more. Furthermore, as you head out and tour the Rauris valley, you will have a chance to observe these kings of the air in their own wild realm.

Planetarium & Observatory, Königsleiten
– Have you always wondered how stars are born, whether there is life on other planets, and what a wormhole is?
These and other questions are answered at Europe's highest (1,600 m) planetarium and observatory, where you can enjoy 7,000 stars in all their amazing glory and beauty.

Salt Mine & Celtic Village, Hallein
– The "Salt Prince", Archbishop Wolf-Dietrich von Raitenau, will personally explain the connection between white gold and the prosperity enjoyed by Salzburg City.

WasserWunderWelt Krimml
– Right at the entrance to Krimml Waterfalls, a spectacular natural wonder, we find the gates to the WasserWunderWelt theme park.The House of Water shows us unique, astonishing and never-before-seen aspects of this precious commodity.
In addition to the museum, there is also an Aqua Park and a multi-vision cinema.

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March 18, 2015

National parks around Sydney

 

Surrounded by national parks, many within easy reach of the CBD, Sydney offers a diverse landscape of rainforests, rugged bush and marine reserves. Set your sights on some of Sydney's popular natural attractions this winter: Royal National Park, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and the world heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park, only 90 minutes' drive from the Sydney CBD. There are walks suited to every fitness level, as well as places to hike, cycle, canoe and sleep under the stars at camping grounds.

Get close to Sydney's wildlife at night with the Royal National Park's Bungoona Moonlight Experience, a walk that takes in the sounds of owls, frogs and other creatures of the night.

Head to the Blue Mountains National Park for abundant wildlife, quiet forest retreats and tranquil freshwater lakes and streams, which provide ample opportunities to swim, walk, camp and picnic. Adventure seekers can get their adrenaline going with a rock climb or canyoning experience tailored for beginners to outdoor veterans.

Lane Cove National Park is a mere 20 minutes' drive from the Sydney CBD and provides a great day out for picnicking, bushwalking and canoeing along the peaceful Lane Cove River. The Lane Cove River Tourist Park offers camping in a lovely leafy location. Choose from well-set-up cabins or pitch a tent there are barbecues and camp kitchens to make this an enjoyable experience, giving you time to soak up the atmosphere.

Within the heart of the city, Sydney Harbour National Park encompasses stunning foreshore areas and islands. Explore and immerse yourself in its natural beauty with magnificent beaches, inlets and cliffs, or learn about the area's historical significance, which includes 70 Aboriginal sites and 200 historic buildings.

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March 17, 2015

10 things you must see and do during your stay in Sorrento Coast

It isn’t possible to not fall in love with the panorama of Sorrento. The irregular and indented coastline seems to protect the little coloured houses and the characteristic streets of the internal areas. Sorrento coast will welcome you in its territory: a real Eden. The scent of lemons, the fragrances of flowers and fruits and the group of towns that star this coast are the real richness of this part of Campania.

Sorrento

If a great part of the most known writers of the XX century like Goethe, Dickens, Nietzsche and D’Annunzio, chose Sorrento as destination for their holidays or to spent there part of the year, there must be a reason: this town owns all that nature can offers: green hills filled of scented flowers near a stupendous sea. Sorrento is the pearl of the Sorrento Coast. The Vesuvius seems to protect and to watch over its calm and beauty. The centro storico with its workshops and its monuments: The Cathedral, the Basilica of San Francesco and the Sedile Dominova. The fulcrum of Sorrento is Piazza Tasso, dedicated to the writer who was born in this area. Not very far from the place there’s the villa comunale, often subject of the picture postcard, from witch you can admire a breathtaking view.

Massa Lubrense on Sorrento Coast

An old legend tells that Massa Lubrense was the town where the mermaids that charmed Ulysses with their sweet singing lived, that’s why its first name was Sirenusion. Massa Lubrense has a geographical situation that influenced its development in the history: the proximity of the sea on one side helped the development of the town from the other side made this town exposed to the incursions of the enemies. That’s why Massa Lubrense has on its coast a series of sighting towers that are still there and has a very particular charm. When the streets, the bar and the houses of Massa Lubrense become red coloured at the sunset give a look to the sea, maybe you’ll see a beautiful girl vanishing into the water, because in this city real and fantasy are often mixed together.

Sant'Agata sui due golfi on Sorrento Coast

The name of this town comes from its particular geographical position, it boasts a wonderful view on the Gulf of Naples on one side and on the other side a spectacular view on the Gulf of Salerno (the name of the town translated is: “Sant’Agata on two gulfs”). The name comes also from the little church of Sant’Agata (a Saint original of Catania, in Sicily). The particular catholic vocation of this town is evident in two places, both deserving a visit: the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which is still the centre of all the social and cultural activities of the town, and the Monastery, built on the hill called “Deserto”, easy to reach by feet from the centre of the town, which offers a wonderful view. In Sant’Agata you can have a walk in the streets of the town, among the shop windows and the seaside, and when you’ll be tired of walking you can sit in a restaurant and taste the “caprese salad” (a salad made with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella) prepared with the typical and delicious tomatoes produced in this zone (tomatoes of Sant’Agata). Talking about food we suggest you a stop in the famous restaurant Don Alfonso, known above all for its high cuisine and for the beauty of the restaurant too: indeed the restaurant has antique furniture, chandeliers made of Murano glass, hand-painted majolicas and, of course, delicious dishes. It will make you fully live the beautiful atmospheres of the Sorrento Coast.

Vico Equense on Sorrento Coast

The bends that characterized the Sorrento Coast seems to take a pause in Vico Equense, where they are more sweet and less stressing. In the past Vico Equense was the point were Romans, Greeks and Italics populations had commercial exchanges. The centro storico maintains its appearances of medieval village. Walking through the streets of Vico Equense means to walk into history, in an open museum, where you could notice the historical evolution of the town. In the very centre of the city you can admire the Church of Annunziata, the unique example of Gothic architecture in all the Sorrento Coast, and moving a little from there you can visit the Mountain Faito a peak of the Lattai’s chain. If you leave the centre you’ll have a walk among thecasali (rustic farmhouses), they are organized as little towns and each one has its Saint Patron . During the week-end Vico Equense is full of people coming from the surroundings, the reason of such crowd of people is the restaurant “da Giggino”, famous for its pizza sold by the metre.

Punta Campanella on Sorrento Coast

Punta Campanella is so beautiful and uncontaminated that in 1997 has been declared protected area, in order to preserve its characteristics. The name Punta Campanella (Literally: “Little bell point”) comes from an ancient structure that can be found on the top of the highest area of the territory, a tower which served as alarm when the enemies boats were sighted. The best way to discover all Punta Campanella is to have a walk in it. It is better if you do it when the sunset come and the air is fresher. Took the street that from Nerano goes to Marina del Cantone: in front of you’ll suddenly see the islands of “Li galli” and the Cantone beach. Walking through the macchia mediterranea you’ll find on one side the view of Punta Campanella, on the other side Punta Penna and at the centre the view of Capri with its Faraglioni. But this isn’t the only way to arrive in Punta Campanella: you can start from Termini and walk through the Monte San Costanzo. Before you arrive to the tower of Punta Campanella and to the lighthouse, you’ll pass through paths completely immersed into the nature and if you continue walking you’ll see the Leranto Bay, a paradise beach with crystalline water.

Marina di Equa on Sorrento Coast

Marina di Equa also known as Marina di Seiano, it’s a pretty fishing village. The tower of Capo Rivo in the past protected the town from the enemies, nowadays it keeps watching over the little seaport. Nearby the port there’s a stones beach known as “spiaggia delle calcare” that deserve to be visited for its particular structure. But the very protagonist of the village is Sant’Antonio Church, that can be found in the principal square, every 13th June (in the Catholic calendar this is the day dedicated to this Saint) all the fishermen bring the statue of Sant Antonio in the sea and they made a procession on the boats. Marina di Equa is the ideal destination for people who love the sea and tranquillity and for the people who love good food too: There’s a lot of little restaurants where you can eat seafood and pizza.

Where to sleep on the Sorrento Coast

The Sorrento Coast is full of tourist facilities so you can choose where to sleep: Hotels, rent a room and B&B are always ready to host you in every period of the year. In summertime prices are very expensive so we suggest you to reserve in advance or to take a last minute. It’s even better, if you can, to change period and program a visit in Spring when the climate is warm, the prices cheaper and the Coast isn’t crowded as in Summer. In Sorrento, the most chosen destination, the prices in the one to three stars hotels can be from 60 € to 140 €, while in a five-stars hotels can arrive to 345 € a night.

Eating in Sorrento Coast

The ingredients in this zone are very simple and genuine, that’s the strong point of the Sorrento Coast food. Basil, mozzarella, oil and tomatoes give life to delicious recipes as: gnocchi alla sorrentina or cannelloni ripieni but also second courses simple and fresh as caprese: little fresh pieces of tomatoes with mozzarella slices dripping milk (even better if its made with the fior di latte of Agerola).

Shopping on the Sorrento Coast

You’ll feel like a child in a candy shop looking at all the shops and the workshops you can find here. But try to give yourself a limit because the prices are not exactly cheap. The objects, the dresses and the handicraft has an excellent quality but they are expensive.

In Sorrento you can have a walk in Corso Italia where you can find a lot of big names shop and fashion shop that sells unique “pieces”, the alley near the seafront are full of beautiful workshops where you can buy souvenirs. But all the town of the Coast are full of workshops and bazaars where you can find a lot of particular and typical things.

Going out on the Sorrento Coast

The narrow alleys of the towns of the Sorrento Coast are full of clubs, cafés and restaurants especially in summer nights. Tourists and city dwellers loves to go to the Fauno to have an aperitif, it is in Piazza Tasso in Sorrento and has a beautiful terrace. A beautiful terrace too has got the very known hotel Circolo dei Forestieri. Summer and spring are the moments when is possible to have more fun on the Coast thanks to the numerous festivals and cultural initiatives that take place in all the towns. Do not miss the Festival that takes place in the San Francesco cloister. The restaurants often offer live music to their guest. But if you prefer the disco you can choose between the Fauno Notte Club or the Matilda Club. People who prefer the folk music must not miss the Sorrento Musical hosted by the Tasso Theatre

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March 16, 2015

Falmouth attractions

From attractions like the award-winning Maritime Museum, Falmouth Art Gallery and Cornwall's largest fortress Pendennis Castle, to great waterside activities, there's loads to experience and do in Falmouth!

  • Falmouth Golf Club
  • Falmouth Beaches
  • Falmouth Lifeboat Station
  • Princess Pavilion
  • Elemental UK
  • Watersports Centre
  • Kimberley Park
  • Gyllyngdune Gardens
  • Cornish Diving School
  • WESUP Paddleboard Centre
  • Fox Rosehill Garden
  • Falmouth School of Sailing
  • Queen Mary Gardens
  • Pendennis Castle
  • Maritime Museum
  • St Mawes Kayaks & Water Taxi
  • Ships & Castles
  • The Poly
  • Phoenix Cinema
  • Falmouth Sports Club
  • Southwest Powerboating
  • Ocean Bowl
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March 14, 2015

10 things to do in Florence

Cathedral, Giotto's bell tower and Brunelleschi's dome in Florence

The Brunelleschi’s dome is still the tallest building in Florence. The bell tower was planned by Giotto but he died while he was working on it. The baptistery is one of the oldest building in Florence, it was built in the IV century, with its wonderful main door that looks like an illustrated Bible. TheCathedral has a marvellous frontage made of white and green marble. There’s no other place in the world with a complex of buildings so extraordinaries. We’re in the middle of Florence, in front of Santa Maria del Fiore, that everybody calls “the Cathedral”. A church 153 meters length, built in 170 years, to make the rivals cities (Siena and Pisa) envious. In this ambitious realization were involved all the most importants artists of Florence: Giotto, Brunelleschi, Vasari, Talenti, Arnolfo di Cambio, Lorenzo Ghiberti. Any tour of Florence starts from here: with the look in direction of the bell tower and the expression amazed, asking oneself in how could men create such a wonder.

Ponte Vecchio in Florence

The Florence’s most beautiful bridge is one of the most photographed too. Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) wasn’t built to be a stylish place: nowadays it’s full of goldsmith’s shops,but until 1565 most of the shops were groceries and butcher’s. Then on it was built the “Corridoio Vasariano” (Vasari corridor), that runs over the bridge, and the butchers and the grocers were driven out in favour of the goldsmiths and artisans. The latters were considered “more consonants” with the beauty of the place. From then on, the gold became a protagonist of Ponte Vecchio, as the statue of Benvenuto Cellini (the greatest goldsmith of Florence) reminds. In 1565 Giorgio Vasari built for Cosimo I de’ Medici the “Corridoio Vasariano” (Vasari corridor) to connect Palazzo Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti (at that time it was residence of the de’ Medici) the corridor is one kilometre long, it starts from Palazzo Vecchio, passes through the Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery) and over the workshops of Ponte Vecchio and ends in Palazzo Pitti. It seems that Hitler during the Second World War bombardments ordered to save the bridge.

Beauty sometimes lights up even the tyrants minds.

Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

The first thing you can notice of Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) is that you can’t take a full picture of it. Even if you go in the farthest place in Piazza della Signoria, at the crossing with via dei Calzaiuoli, the palace is too large and too tall to enter in only one photo. But you can’t keep from taking a picture of it because it is considered the best example of XIV century civil architecture.What prevent the palace to enter in only one picture is the “Torre di Arnolfo” (Arnolfo Tower), which is 94 meters tall and it was built in 1310. This tower brings on its top the flag with the Fleur-de-lis of Florence. At the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio there’s exposed (as a support for the pigeons too…) a copy of Michelangelo’s David. This very beautiful palace is in Piazza della Signoria; This square has been long-time considered “cursed”, because it was the terrain of the struggle between guelphs and ghibellines. Today, faded the memories of this bloody past, Piazza della Signoria is the centre of the social, civil and political life of all Florence’s city dwellers.

When:Every day from 9 am to 7 pm Thursday and public holiday from 9 am To 2 pm.

Never: 1st January, Easter day, 1st May, 15th August, 25th December.

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence

Caravaggio returns and Raffaelo is gone. Tiziano leaves for an art exhibition but the “Angeli” by Rosso Fiorentino are back. The Uffizi Gallery is like an art supermarket, a case that contains masterpieces of every historical period. This is the favourite destination for all the art lovers. It’s quite strange to see the tourists (in large part tourists coming from other countries) stand patiently in queue whereas the greatest part of the Italians has never been to the Uffizi. There are a lot of things to see. If you think about a painting, it is probably kept here. The path inside this huge museum begins with the XIV century room which houses the three altar pieces made by Cimabue, Duccio di Buoninsegna and Giotto. They represent an enthroned Virgin and child. Then it’s a crescendo of beauty: Botticelli, Leonardo, Signorelli, Perugino, Durer, Caravaggio… We want to give you just one tip: During your stay in Florence program an entire day dedicated to the Uffizi, wear a pair of comfortable shoes and enjoy this spectacle.

When: From Tuesday to Saturday from 8,15 am to 18,50 pm.

Never: Every Monday, 1st January, 1st May, 25th December.

Brancacci Chapel in Florence

An angel wielding a sword chases Adam and Eve in order to expel them from the Eden. Adam covers his face with his hand, he cries and tries to hide himself because of the shame. Eve has the look disfigured by the pain, her face is visible because hers arms are busy covering her breast.

It’s an harrowing scene, this fresco is considered one of the highest point of art history and it is painted on the vaulted ceiling of the Brancacci Chapel in Florence, in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine. Masolino and Masaccio, young and old, theacher and pupil, frescoed this chapel together, which was commissioned by Felice Brancacci. It isn’t easy to recognize the frescoes made by Masolino from the ones made by Masaccio and vice-versa. Brancacci obliged the two to work on the same walls to reduce the style differences at the minimum.

It is a pictorial path that surprises everyone, believers or not.

When: Everyday from 10 am to 5 pm Public holiday from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence

Michelangelo’s grave, protected from three statues that represent the painting, the sculpture and the architecture, contends the entrance of the Basilica to Galileo Galilei, who lies in front of the artist. A little forward there’s Dante’s cenotaph (his mortal remains are in Ravenna, where he was dead). Follow Vittorio Alfieri, Antonio Canova, Nicolò Machiavelli, Gioacchino Rossini and Ugo Foscolo. The latter defined Santa Croce as the place where were preserved “le urne dei forti” (“the mortal remains of the greats”). But Santa Croce isn’t just a collection of tombs of the greatest Italian people. Indeed, at the end of the Church, there are the Chapels frescoed by Giotto with the histories of San Francesco’s life. In the Pazzi Chapel, where Giuliano de’ Medici was killed and Lorenzo the Magnificent was injured in a conspiracy, it’s kept a crucifix made by Cimabue.

When: Everyday from 9,30 am to 5,30 pm Sunday and Catholic Festivities (6th January, 15th August, 1st November, 8th December) from 1 pm to 5,30 pm. Easter Monday, 25th April, 1st May, 2nd June, from 9,30 am to 5,30 pm.

Never: 1st January, Easter, 13th June, 4th October, 25th/26th December.

Dante and Beatrice's church in Florence

For two lovers it must be difficult to stay separated.Dante lived about 20 meters from this church, his house is still there, you can visit it. Beatrice went to mass in this little church where all her family members (the Portinari family) were interred and where the ones of Gemma Donati (Dante’s wife) too.

The two met along the street or in this little church where they look each other The church name is Santa Margherita dei Cerchi, but it is known as Dante and Beatrice’s church. A bad painting hanged up one of the walls of the church remembers their first fleeting glance, the moment in which Dante fell in love with Beatrice. But the fact is that this church has become a symbolic place for all the lovers who can’t stay together, whom leave messages on Beatrice’s grave (Please make him come back to me, or Help me I can’t stand loosing him., etc.).How to get here: From via dei Calzaiuoli follow the indications to Dante’s house.

Eating and drinking in Florence

Florentine gastronomy is famous thanks to the Florentine steak, but it has more to offer:its dishes are born from common people fantasy and that transforms poor and essential ingredients in extraordinaries courses. One of the most tasty dishes is the pappa al pomodoro (literally “pap with tomato”), this very easy recipe includes: oil, garlic, chilli and tomato. Anyway the Florentine steak is the really queen of the table and Florence city dwellers always specify that it must be at least weighing around 1 kilo and rare. As all the red meat, Florentine should be served with red wine, and eveybody knows it, even on the topic “wines” Tuscany has a lot to offer: Chianti, Brunello, Montepulciano… You just have to choose. If you want to know where is better to eat in Florence we’ll just tell you that you should avoid the restaurants of the centro storico. It is enough to move a little away from the centre of the city to find beautiful restaurants, where you can eat very well without making your credit card cry.

Going out in Florence

During the morning Florence is a serious cultural city, with its beautiful monuments and art works, but during the night it’s a city full of people whom wants to have fun. The pubs and the cafés sprout out in the streets, the same streets that during the day are completely empties. Before the night comes, if you want you’ll have an aperitif in the zone of Lungarni, and during the weekend you’ll have a glass of Chianti in one of the wine bar scattered across the city. People who prefer good food can have a dinner in one of the characteristic restaurant of the centre: steaks and first plates (pasta, above all…). If you prefer to spend your night in a more relaxed way, you can choose among the numerous cinemas and theatres.

Shopping in Florence

If you hope to find cheap occasions in Florence you’ll be disappointed.

In exchange there are a lot of handicraft shops where you can find handmade jewels, leather objects and the typical handmade writing paper and booklets.. Leather wallets, leather bags, writing paper and original exercise books, these are the souvenirs that people often brought home from Florence.

If you prefer big names shops you’ll have a walk on via dei Calzaiuoli or in via dei Tornabuoni, where you can completely destroy your finances inArmani, Gucci, Versace’s shops. At least you can visit the historical street markets which are very choreographics, but nowadays they are real tourist traps. The most known street markets are the “Nuovo” and “San Lorenzo”: they still look like popular street markets but the costs are the same you can find in a luxury shop. Remember to pay attention to the prices or your wallet will pay the consequences.

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March 13, 2015

The Amalfi Coast Top 10

The Amalfi Coast is known for its **natural landscape, a wild and uncontaminated nature ** in spite of the big number of tourists that welcomes all year. A breathtaking landscape that keeps centuries of art, history and culture. That’s why this part of the Campania is included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Amalfi is the nucleus of the Coast and around it there are a lot of little towns with theirs characteristics and traditions: Positano, Maiori, Ravello… These are just some names of the beautiful places you can visit and explore, immersing yourself in a unique and unforgettable place.

Amalfi

Amalfi’s origins is dated back on Romans wars against barbaric populations, even if the legend tells that it was Hercules, son of Jupiter, that settled Amalfi to gave it as a present to a girl who has beautiful blue eyes the same colour of the sea. Believe or not in this legend it is a fact that this city, thanks to the sea and its geographical position, had a great development and this was due to the maritime activity. The glorious past and the beauty of the landscape made this city an important centre of attraction for tourists who come from all Europe. After a visit to the Cathedral you should have a walk in the alleys of the town where you can find interesting workshops or you can make yourself leaded by the sweet smell of local gastronomy.

Ravello on the Amalfi Coast

The most known travellers elect Ravello as “Spirit homeland”. The charm of its landscapes, the quality of its monuments and villas ravished a lot of European artists who came here to find inspiration. The history of Ravello is directly linked to Amalfi’s one. During the period in which Amalfi was one of the four powerful Maritime Republic, Ravello reached its maximum splendour excelling in commerce. Then, after the devastation caused by the wars in XIX century, Ravello began its rise as a tourist place. Artists and intellectuals coming from all the world choose this town and made it became an elite tourist destination. Ravello has not only a fantastic landscape, when you are there don’t forget to visit: Villa Rufolo, Villa Cimbrone and the Cathedral. All the little churches present in the city deserve a visit too.

Vietri sul mare on the Amalfi Coast

Vietri sul mare is called the “first pearl” of the Amalfi Coast as well the ceramic capital. The tradition of the master ceramist is jealously kept and scrupulously passed to new generations. The masterpieces of this art can be admired in theMuseum of ceramic of Villa Guariglia in Raito or in the Museum Cargaleiro.

But to understand how the ceramic is important for Vietri sul mare, it is enough to have a walk in the alleys of the city: even on the outer walls of the houses there are mounted beautiful tile (that also gives a characteristic look to the streets) and the church of San Giovanni Battista has a stupendous tiled dome.If you want to bring home a piece of this ceramic art you’ll just have to choose in which workshop you want to stop.

Positano on the Amalfi Coast

Positano is the most impressive town on the Amalfi Coast. At first look it seems to be lounged on the mountain that overlooks the sea, therefore this city is one of the most photographed of the coast. The sea colour is crystalline and its beaches are crowded of tourists every summer. Among the several beaches of this city it must be mentioned:Marina Grande and Fornillo. But the sea, the sun, the beaches and the exceptional landscape aren’t the only reasons to go to Positano. The church ofSanta Maria Teresa of the Assumption, for example, deserves a visit for its tiled dome, theSaracen towers, the little villages of Nocelle andMontepertuso which are places of an extraordinary beauty.

Positano is also known for its shops. Above all its characteristic production: the leather sandals. Indeed you can go in these little workshops (that can be found in the town alleys) and order sandals made-to-measure. But there are a lot of other characteristic shops too.

As in many places in Italy the gastronomy is important too, in Positano you can taste: Delizie al limone (soft pastry with a delicious lemon flavoured cream), the torta positanese (cake with almonds) and seafood (according to the maritime vocation of the town the seafood is very good almost everywhere).

Atrani on the Amalfi Coast

The authenticity of Atrani is due to fact that preserves its apparences of fishing village.

It is the second smallest village of Italy and has its centre in the little place with the church of San Salvatore. The place overlooks the sea and the houses are climbed on the mountain. As you move in direction of the top of the village you can enjoythe spectacular view of all the Amalfi Coast. Atrani is a positive example of equilibrate tourist development, here you can breath a young atmosphere but always in respect of the natural inclination of the place.

This is the ideal place to spend some time far from the traffic noise and to enjoy a natural masterpiece.

Conca dei Marini on the Amalfi Coast

Conca dei Marini is an other jewel of the Amalfi coast. It was the destination of many famous people (of the national and international scene) and it is keeper of the extraordinary Grotta dello smeraldo (the emerald cave). This cave is a cove in the coast which contains all the most spectacular colours of the nature. It seems to be made just to astonish the people who enter it.

Over that natural wonders Conca dei Marini has an interesting architectural patrimony too. The celebrated Convento di Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa Nunnery) where the famous “sfogliatelle” were invented, the church of Sant’Antonio da Padova, with its beautiful tiled dome and the Torre Costiera (Coast Tower) also called “The silent tower”because it was a cemetery.

Furore on the Amalfi Coast

Among the mountains, hidden on the Amalfi Coast there’s the little town of Furore. This place, divided between the austerity of the stone and the fluidity of the water, keeps a secret: a fjord. On one side the fjord and on the other the Tyrrhenian Sea. Furore with its crystalline sea and its village that seems to climb the mountain. Probably it was the hard noise of the water that fell on the ground that inspired the name for this particular place: Terra Furoris (Furore means literally “fury”). The calm of the streets of Furore immerses you in a dreamy atmosphere. The stones that dive into the water, the vegetation that search for its place among the stonewalls and the sound of the shores, the houses that fight against a wild territory Maybe paradaise it”s not so far.

Maiori on the Amalfi Coast

The news about the foundation of Maiori are uncertain. Were it the Greeks, the Etruscan, the Latins or the Picenti the firsts settlers of the area? Well, we don’t know but we are sure that Minori is another characteristic village of the Amalfi Coast. It has the longest beach of this part of the peninsula and here among naturalistic beauties, religious constructions and gastronomical deliciousness you have the chance to immerse yourself in the splendour of this town. Walking in the streets it’s possible to see all the principals monuments: the Collegiata of S. Maria a Mare or the castle of S. Nicola de Thoro-Plano. If you prefer the seaside you can swim in a deep-blue sea or visit the caves. Among the caves of Maiori the most known are the Grotta Sulfurea and the Grotta di Pandora. Don’t forget, as in all this part of Italy, to taste the gastronomical specialities.

Minori on the Amalfi Coast

The Villa Marittima Romana it’s probably the principal attraction in Minori. It was built around the I century to house a noble Latin with his family during the summer holidays. In the past, Maiori was already one of the favourite destination for the rich families of the ancient Rome. The coloured alleys, the delicious scent of the citrus fruits and the beautiful nuances of the sea will make you live moments of pure relax. Besides the Villa you must not miss the Basilica di Santa Trofimenawhere are kept the mortal remains of the Saint Patron of the town. The art, the culture and the beautiful landscapes are recommended for the ones who loves the sea and the relax. Minori waits, ready to welcome and to host its visitors.

Praiano on the Amalfi Coast

The name Praiano comes from “Pelagianum” (open sea) and it probably was the point where the merchants landed with their ships to effectuate commercial exchange. It was the favourite destination to the Amalfi’s Dogi who came to Praiano to pass a discreet holiday: the calm of this place is a panacea for the body and for the soul. Praiano has two characteristics: the stairways and the little votive altars. In practice stairways are everywhere (so be ready to make a continue up and down) but it’s worth doing it because the panorama is breathtaking. The little votive altars were built by the families on their properties to claim their possession to the place. Take some time to go visit the beautiful church ofSan Luca Evangelista, that is the fulcrum of the city, and the Torre a mare (Tower in the sea) from which you can see a beautiful panorama.

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March 12, 2015

Laos Honeymoons

 

It might not be one of the first destinations that springs to mind when you’re planning a honeymoon, but overlook Laos and you’ll be missing out on one of the most exciting countries to travel in right now. Isolated from visitors until recently, it offers a truly authentic slice of South-East Asia before the tourists arrived. Expect an unspoiled land of mountains, valleys and jungles, where villagers go about their life as they have for centuries, orange-robed monks line up to receive alms and tranquillity rules – the perfect antidote to hectic wedding preparations.

If you’re looking for an adventure on a road less travelled, in a land that is the very definition of laid-back, Laos could be the honeymoon destination for you.

Where to start

Luang Prabang is likely to be high on your list of must-sees, so head to the wonderful UNESCO-protected town first – it’s the ideal place to unwind after your wedding. Having spent three or four days enjoying the sights, you can either head north, to Luang Namtha, for some of Asia’s finest trekking or south, to Vang Vieng for caving and kayaking and Vientiane, the country’s languid capital city.

Further south still, top of your list should be Si Phan Done, better known as the ‘4,000 islands’, where you will be amazed by its natural wealth and the even more relaxed pace of life. There are several excellent properties for honeymooners there, ranging from the superb Kingfisher Eco Resort (elephant sightings guaranteed) to La Folie, on the opposite banks of the Mekong from Wat Phou in Champasak.

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March 10, 2015

Attractions on Vancouver Island

 

Things to Do and See

  • Beaches
  • Festivals & Events
  • Hot Springs
  • Kid’s Stuff
  • Llama Walks & Llama Hiking
  • Museums
  • Petroglyphs
  • Spas & Health Retreats
  • Totem Poles
  • Wineries

Historic and Heritage Sites

  • Craigdarroch Castle
  • Craigflower Manor
  • Emily Carr House
  • Fisgard Lighthouse
  • Fort Rodd Hill
  • Haig-Brown House
  • Hatley Park
  • Helmcken House
  • Point Ellice House
  • Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre

Popular places to visit on Vancouver Island, BC

  • Butchart Gardens
  • Carmanah Walbran Park
  • Cathedral Grove
  • Hatley Park (Hatley Castle)
  • Pacific Rim
  • Royal BC Museum
  • Saltspring Island
  • Strathcona Park
  • The Empress Hotel
  • Tofino
  • Victoria

Other Popular places to visit close to Vancouver Island

  • Discovery Coast
  • Discovery Islands
  • Southern Gulf Islands
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March 4, 2015

Top 10 attractions in Ottawa

With world-class museums and galleries, exceptional dining options and nightly hot spots vibrating with energy, Ottawa's urban scene is very much alive. Canada's Capital also possesses a quieter side, overseen by the region's natural beauty.

PARLIAMENT OF CANADA

Spend a few moments exploring the buildings and grounds of Parliament Hill, where you can see impressive architectural features and listen to fascinating stories of our Canadian history.

RIDEAU CANAL

The 126-mile UNESCO World Heritage Site is not only surrounded by exceptional natural beauty and historical sites, but also becomes the world's largest skating rink when the canal freezes over.

BYWARD MARKET

Discover a world of opportunities at one of Ottawa's major tourist attractions. The ByWard Square has everything you're looking for, from unique boutiques and vibrant nightclubs to Beavertails to satisfy your sweet tooth.

NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA

Marvel at the world's most comprehensive collection of Canadian Art. Expand your love for art with exhibits featuring abstract paintings, photography, sculptures, Italian art, nomads and even baseball stadiums.

GATINEAU PARK

Imagine hundreds of kilometres of well-kept scenic trails, over 50 species of trees, birds and mammals, and incredible lookout points. Welcome to Gatineau Park, one of Ottawa's most cherished natural wonders.

CASINO DU LAC LEAMY

A short drive from Canada's Capital City, try your luck at Quebec's fabulous Casino du Lac Leamy. With 1,900 slot machines, 64 gaming tables and an incredible variety of spectacular shows and events, the excitement never stops!

WINTERLUDE

Don't even think twice about Old Man Winter with North America's largest winter festival, Winterlude. Embrace our wonderful northern Canadian climate with impressive ice carvings, non-stop live entertainment and 30-ft snow slides!

CANADIAN TULIP FESTIVAL

Explore the true meaning of friendship and the power of ideas with 3 million blossoming tulips! Take advantage of attending embassies from different countries and learn about their culture, food and entertainment.

NOTRE DAME BASILICA

Ottawa's oldest standing and largest church invites you to step inside and explore its exquisite stained glass windows, hundreds of statues of different religious figures, the Sanctuary and the Lateral altars.

CANADIAN MUSEUM OF CIVILIZATION

Get the complete story on human history at the most popular and most visited museum in Canada. Step back in time with the Museum's four permanent exhibition galleries: the Grand Hall, the First People Hall, the Canada Hall and Face to Face.

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March 3, 2015

10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Jamaica

1. Negril Beach

Also known as Seven Mile Beach, Negril Beach is one of Jamaica's most beautiful stretches of white sand and aqua sea. The beach extends from Bloody Bay to Long Bay and the Negril Cliffs south of town. Tucked within groves of coconut palms, many resorts and restaurants fringe the shore here. Water sports abound, and snorkelers will find schools of fish swimming in the clear waters. Be prepared for persistent hawkers prowling the beach.

2. Doctor's Cave Beach, Montego Bay

One of the best beaches in Montego Bay, Doctor's Cave Beach is an alluring strip of white sand fringed by clear waters that helped shape the fate of Montego Bay. In the early 1920s a famous British osteopath declared that the water had curative powers after swimming here, a claim which began to lure visitors from around the world. Hotels sprouted and the area became a popular tourist destination. The cave for which the beach is named was destroyed by a hurricane in 1932, but the beach is as popular as ever and is often crowded with cruise ship passengers.

3. Rose Hall Great House, Montego Bay

Built in 1770, Rose Hall is a restored plantation house with beautiful ocean views. Legendary Annie Palmer (the White Witch) ruled here with cruelty and met a violent death. Today her home is adorned with period furniture and visitors can choose between a day tour or a spooky candlelit evening tour topped off with tales of ghost sightings.

4. Falmouth

Surrounded by sugar estates and cattle land, Falmouth is one of the Caribbean's best-preserved Georgian towns. Once a leading port, the town offers excellent examples of 19th-century Georgian architecture including a faithful restoration of the courthouse. Greenwood Great House is a major tourist attraction in the area. Built in 1790 by Richard Barrett, a relative of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the Great House is now a museum with period furniture and a rare collection of musical instruments and Wedgwood china.

Good Hope Estate, built in 1755, was an old-established coconut and sugar plantation. The well-preserved Great House contains period furniture, the first 18th century Caribbean hot water bath, old slave quarters, and the sugar mill with its waterwheel. Half Moon Beach is a peaceful crescent of sand with coral reefs just offshore. East of Falmouth is the Luminous Lagoon, named for its eerie marine phosphorescence.

5. Martha Brae River

Rafting the Martha Brae is one of Jamaica's most popular tourist attractions. At Martha Brae Rafter's Village guests can glide down a picturesque stretch of the river on bamboo rafts poled by local guides. This relaxing trip is a great way to soak up some of the tropical scenery and many guides will share information about the flora and fauna.

6. Kingston

At the foot of the Blue Mountains, Jamaica's busy capital city offers a cosmopolitan contrast to the island's relaxed pace. Kingston can be intimidating, but visitors can view some of the town's attractions on organized tours. The Bob Marley Museum, at the reggae superstar's former home, is Kingston's most-visited attraction and the site of the Tuff Gong recording studio. Highlights are Marley's bedroom with his star-shaped guitar by the bed. Look for the bullet holes in the rear wall, evidence of an assassination attempt.

7. Blue Mountains and John Crow Mountains National Park

Blue Mountains and John Crow Mountains National Park is an unspoiled preserve offering breathtaking mountain vistas, waterfalls, lush rainforests, and exotic plants and animals. Encompassing 200,000 acres of tropical rainforest, the park is divided into three sections: Portland Gap, which includes Stony Hill and the Hills of St. Andrew; Hollywell and Annotto Bay; and Portland and Millbank which include the John Crow Mountains.

This spectacular park is the natural habitat for more than 800 species of endemic plants, more than 200 species of birds, as well as the world's second largest butterfly. At 2,256 meters, Blue Mountain Peak is accessible by mule or on foot and is Jamaica's highest peak. The two-day trip offers thrilling views and on a clear day hikers can see all the way to  Cuba .

8. Port Antonio

Set between mountains and a double harbor, Port Antonio exudes the relaxed charm of a sleepy fishing village. Once a center for banana export, the area is distinctly less commercial than the other resort towns. Visitors can explore the many art galleries, hike jungle trails, and snorkel and scuba dive the coral reefs. A popular swimming spot is the beautiful 60-meter-deep Blue Lagoon, fed by freshwater springs, and site of the namesake movie starring Brooke Shields.Navy Island, set between Port Antonio's two harbors and reached by ferry, was once owned by movie swashbuckler Errol Flynn and was renowned for wild parties. Today the island is a favorite for picnics and day trips.

9. Rio Grande River

Expert guides pole bamboo rafts through an impressive stretch of tropical rainforest along the Rio Grande River during a two-and-a-half-hour tour. Rafting here dates back to around 1911, when banana farmers in the Rio Grande Valley used to transport their bananas along the river. The Rio Grande tends to be less crowded than the Martha Brae River and offers beautiful scenery and gentle rapids.

10. Black River Safari Boat Tour and YS Falls

Crocodiles and more than 100 species of birds, including herons and snowy egrets, are among the critters that make their home along the mangrove-fringed Black River – the longest in Jamaica. Visitors tour the river on guided boats and enjoy a running commentary on the area's ecology and history. At YS Falls, Jamaica's largest and least commercial cascades, visitors can play Tarzan on the rope swing and plunge into the wading pool below fed by natural springs. Canopy rides and river tubing are also available.

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March 2, 2015

10 Best Places to Visit in Canada

Awe-inspiring scenery, vibrant cities and a welcoming atmosphere all make Canada a popular tourist destination. As the largest country in North America,  Canada  is a vast land encompassing majestic mountains, spectacular coastlines, virgin forests, spacious prairies and Arctic tundra. While much of the nation is of British and French descent, Canada is home to a mosaic of multicultural communities.

Calgary

The largest city in Alberta, Calgary is situated between the Canadian Prairies and the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. After oil was discovered nearby in the early 1900s, Calgary boomed into what is now one of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, attracting thousands every year to its world-famous rodeo event, the Calgary Stampede.

Ottawa

Located at the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau rivers in southeastern Ontario, Ottawa is the capital of Canada. As the nation’s capital, Ottawa is home to many financial, commercial and federal establishments. Running right through the heart of the city, the Rideau Canal is Ottawa’s star attraction. In winter the canal becomes the world’s largest ice skating ring.

Whistler

Thanks to a couple of spectacular mountains called Whistler and Blackcomb, the Whistler resort is the largest and most famous alpine ski destination in North America. Whistler also offers year-round activities and charming villages brimming in tourist attractions.

Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island, named after the British explorer George Vancouver, is the largest island off the West Coast of the North American continent. Located across from Washington State, it is accessible by ferry through the San Juan Islands from Anacortes, from Port Angeles on the state’s Olympic Peninsula, or from Vancouver on mainland British Columbia. It’s famous for the quaint city of Victoria, the gorgeous Butchart Gardens, the surf town of Tofino and the wilderness in the north, where one can catch a ferry to Prince Rupert, and another to Alaska from there.

Quebec City

Quebec City may be the capital of the Quebec province in eastern Canada, but its French heritage, architecture and language make it appear more like a charming European village. The city’s icon, the stunning Chateau Frontenac, is regarded as the most photographed hotel in North America and offers tours even without an overnight stay.

Toronto

The capital of Ontario, Toronto is the most populated city in Canada as well as one of the largest cities in North America. With a large number of ethnic districts like Chinatown, Little India and Little Italy, Toronto is also one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities.

Montreal

The second largest city in Canada after Toronto, Montreal is the cultural and financial capital of the Quebec province. Boasting the largest French-speaking community outside of Paris, France, Montreal is a bustling metropolis comprised of a downtown district, a historic quarter, entertainment district and several distinctive neighborhoods.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a series of three awe-inspiring waterfalls situated on the border of Canada’s Ontario and the United States’ New York. Although it is often called the “Honeymoon Capital of the World,” Niagara Falls in recent years has also developed as a popular destination for family and adventure vacations.

Banff National Park

Located in the province of Alberta, the Banff National Park is not only Canada’s first national park, but also one of the nation’s largest and most visited national parks. The park’s breathtaking scenery and wildlife draw many tourists every year along the Trans-Canada Highway, which passes through the park.

Vancouver

Situated between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia, Vancouver is favored for its majestic landscapes that present a natural playground where tourists can swim in the ocean, rollerblade through scenic parks and snow ski in the mountains all in one day. The third largest metropolitan area in the country, Vancouver is one of the most poplar places to visit in Canada.

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February 28, 2015

10 Affordable Honeymoon Destinations

Honolulu

Given its distance from the mainland and high-priced island economy, the 50th state has always been one of the pricier domestic destinations. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find good value. Couples dreaming about a Hawaiian honeymoon should consider Honolulu and the island of Oahu, home to icons like Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head crater and the Banzai Pipeline surf break. Honolulu’s hefty hotel stock means rates are available that fit every budget. Dining can be affordable too, especially when you join the locals at the low-priced lunch joints and bakeries of Honolulu’s Kapahulu neighborhood and the city’s Saturday farmers’ market. The city and its lush tropical surroundings also boast many free festivals and special events that highlight the island’s multicultural heritage.

Brazil

Brazil has finally embraced the all-inclusive with the same passion it puts toward soccer. Brazilian backers have hooked up with SuperClubs to launch Breezes properties at prime honeymoons locations, including the musical city of Bahia on the north coast and the super-chic Buzios beach-resort area near Rio de Janeiro. Despite its reputation as a high-priced city, Rio can actually be very reasonable. After all, the most popular activities are absolutely free: people-watching and parading up and down Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. And you don’t have to stay right on the beach: Hotels a block or two behind the strand are often hundreds of dollars per night cheaper than the sandside ones while offering the same level of room and service.

Ireland

With the average price of a hotel night falling over the past two years, Dublin has gone from being one of the most expensive capitals in Western Europe to one of the best values. Even so, the Irish metropolis remains relatively expensive compared to the rest of the Emerald Isle — especially the breathtaking west coast, with its quaint villages, wind-swept scenery and green that seems to stretch forever. Our advice: Skip Dublin and fly straight into Shannon Airport, and you’ll save both money and time (it’s an hour closer to the United States than Dublin), without sacrificing the attractions for which Ireland is known — welcoming locals, thriving musical culture and rugged natural beauty.

Jamaica

The Spanish colonized Jamaica shortly after Christopher Columbus discovered the exotic tropical isle in 1494. The British later snatched it away, laying the groundwork for the cultural melting pot that eventually gave the world Rasta, reggae and Red Stripe. But the Spanish are invading again, this time with huge all-inclusive resorts that lure couples craving bargains. You don’t even have to stay at one of the new Riu, Iberostar or Gran Bahia Principe resorts, strung along the north shore between Negril and Ocho Rios — their mere appearance has brought down hotel rates across the island. Sandals resorts were founded in Jamaica, and their seven on-island oases are offering all sorts of incentives, including spa credits, free nights and rates up to 65 percent less than before the Spanish invasion. And with budget airlines like JetBlue, AirTran and Air Transat now flying between North American cities and Montego Bay, as well as expanded service by other air carriers, Jamaica is now among the cheapest places to reach in the Caribbean.

Balkans

Europe’s long-lost corner may not seem like the most obvious spot for a honeymoon, but the Balkans have really come into their own in recent years as a low-cost alternative to pricier Mediterranean destinations. In particular, Bulgaria and Croatia have emerged as standout locales where money goes further than elsewhere on the continent — and they have as much culture to offer as their better-known neighbors in Western Europe.

Bulgaria blends Roman ruins, ancient Orthodox churches, Greek-like cuisine and Black Sea beaches with incredibly low prices on just about everything. While Croatia is just as eclectic, with a gorgeous mix of Adriatic islands and beaches, fortified Renaissance towns and inland national parks with white-water rafting, hiking and boating on jade-colored lakes.

Australia

The Aussies have long believed everyone deserves a great holiday, and they respond with dining, sleeping and travel options for every budget. In fact, the Australian Automobile Association offers an awesome Web tool for figuring out the prices of hotels, B&Bs, hostels and even houseboats and campgrounds. AAA’s star system is primarily based on amenities but roughly corresponds to overnight rates. And with trans-Pacific tickets down from their pre-recession peak, you can easily reach Australia for less. Qantas and other Aussie carriers also offer value air passes that allow flexible flights within Australia — ideal for first-time visitors who want to see it all, from the sophisticated restaurants and shops of Sydney and Melbourne to dive sites along the Great Barrier Reef to desert landscapes in the Red Centre.

Yucatan Peninsula

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula encompasses a huge area — Cancun and Cozumel islands, the mainland Riviera Maya (Playa del Carmen and Tulum) and inland spots like Chichen Itza and Merida — which means there’s plenty of choice in terms of where you stay, eat and play. Each destination has its own distinct vibe. Cancun is all about beaching, bargain shopping and crazy nightlife. Fronting the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, Cozumel is a holy grail for the diving crowd. Playa del Carmen is smooth and sophisticated, while Tulum and Isla Mujeres offer two takes on beach-bum paradise — the former, eco-minded; the latter, isolated (in a good way).

The average price of a hotel room has plunged across the Yucatan during spring and summer. Five-star hotels generally offer the deepest discounts. Or you can make like Indiana Jones in a thatch-roof jungle bungalow at the Mayaland Hotel, near Chichen Itza. Down in laid-back Tulum, there are good beachfront rooms for less, and even the high-end places, like the rustically romantic Posada Luna del Sur, can fit you in for an affordable price, depending on the season.

Montreal, Canada

If you crave a honeymoon with a French joie de vivre but Paris seems too pricey, why not consider Montreal? In Montreal, a compact city with top-grade public transit, you won’t have to rent a car to wander. Base yourselves in Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal), and you can walk to Notre-Dame Basilica, the St. Lawrence riverfront and the renovated Marche Bonsecours market, with its bars, restaurants and boutiques. Or purchase a three-day occasional card for unlimited travel on the city’s extensive metro and bus networks. Many of the coolest attractions and events in the city are actually free. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Redpath Museum won’t cost you a dime. Neither will many of the events staged during the city’s famous comedy festival. Likewise, the annual Montreal International Jazz Festival includes more than 350 free concerts.

Thailand

Southeast Asia’s favorite destination is the kind of place where it almost doesn’t matter how much money you spend — even slumming it can seem like luxury in tropical paradises like Phuket and Ko Samui. Thailand’s biggest bargain is accommodations, especially at the more popular destinations, where the choice in hotels can sometimes overwhelm. Fierce competition has brought room prices down to levels that seem too good to be true. Flying around Thailand is fairly inexpensive too and never takes very long. Flights between Bangkok and the northern city of Chiang Mai take about an hour and can cost less one-way than most comparable flights in the U.S..

Portugal

Portugal tops nearly everyone’s list of the most affordable holiday destinations inside the Euro zone, beating out neighboring Spain and equally sun-splashed Greece. But it’s not just the value that’s been giving this coastal country such attention of late: One of the last Western European nations to modernize, Portugal retains much of its bygone charm — this land of ancient castles and endless olive groves, chromatic fishing villages and funky urban neighborhoods is just now being complemented by chic beach retreats and some of the best golf courses in the world.

The European Consumers’ Organisation recently selected Lisbon as Europe’s Best Vacation Destination, just ahead of Barcelona, Spain. One of the reasons is that a full week at a five-star hotel in Lisbon can run about the same price as just one or two nights at a luxury hotel in other European capitals. In addition to reasonable hotel rates, Portugal is known for relatively low rental-car rates, restaurant prices and greens fees.

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February 27, 2015

Top 10 London Attractions for honeymoon

1. British Museum

The world-famous British Museum exhibits the works of man from prehistoric to modern times, from around the world. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and the mummies in the Ancient Egypt collection. Some exhibitions require tickets.

2. National Gallery

The crowning glory of Trafalgar Square, London's National Gallery is a vast space filled with Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. In this iconic art gallery you can find works by masters such as Van Gogh, da Vinci, Botticelli, Constable, Renoir, Titian and Stubbs. Some exhibitions require tickets.

3. Natural History Museum

As well as the permanent (and permanently fascinating!) dinosaur exhibition, the Natural History Museum boasts a collection of the biggest, tallest and rarest animals in the world. See a life-sized blue whale, a 40-million-year-old spider, and the beautiful Central Hall. Some exhibitions require tickets.

4. Tate Modern

Sitting grandly on the banks of the Thames is Tate Modern, Britain's national museum of modern and contemporary art. Its unique shape is due to it previously being a power station. The gallery's restaurants offer fabulous views across the city. Some exhibitions require tickets.

5. Coca-Cola London Eye

Attraction tickets from £19.10

The Coca-Cola London Eye is a major feature of London's skyline. It boasts some of London's best views from its 32 capsules, each weighing 10 tonnes and holding up to 25 people. Climb aboard for a breathtaking experience, with an unforgettable perspective of more than 55 of London's most famous landmarks – all in just 30 minutes!

6. Science Museum

From the future of space travel to asking that difficult question: "who am I?", the Science Museum makes your brain perform Olympic-standard mental gymnastics. See, touch and experience the major scientific advances of the last 300 years; and don't forget the awesome Imax cinema. Some exhibitions require tickets.

7. Victoria and Albert Museum

The V&A celebrates art and design with 3,000 years' worth of amazing artefacts from around the world. A real treasure trove of goodies, you never know what you'll discover next: furniture, paintings, sculpture, metalwork and textiles; the list goes on and on… Some exhibitions require tickets.

8. Tower of London

Attraction tickets from £20

Take a tour with one of the Yeoman Warders around the Tower of London, one of the world's most famous buildings. Discover its 900-year history as a royal palace, prison and place of execution, arsenal, jewel house and zoo! Gaze up at the White Tower, tiptoe through a medieval king's bedchamber and marvel at the Crown Jewels.

9. Royal Museums Greenwich

Visit the National Maritime Museum – the world's largest maritime museum, see the historic Queen's House, stand astride the Prime Meridian at Royal Observatory Greenwich and explore the famous Cutty Sark: all part of the Royal Museums Greenwich. Some are free to enter; some charges apply.

10. Madame Tussauds London

Attraction tickets from £28

At Madame Tussauds, you'll come face-to-face with some of the world's most famous faces. From Shakespeare to Lady Gaga you'll meet influential figures from showbiz, sport, politics and even royalty. Strike a pose with Usain Bolt, get close to One Direction or receive a once-in-a-lifetime audience with Her Majesty the Queen.

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