How to have a spiritual holiday in Sri Lanka

Beautiful, exotic Sri Lanka certainly is as much of a spiritual holiday destination as it is a cultural one. The island exudes a real special ambience and it is home to endless sacred grounds, mountain peaks, holy temples, ancient forgotten cities and enchanting nature. Here’s how to have a spiritual holiday in Sri Lanka: Continue reading “How to have a spiritual holiday in Sri Lanka”

3 Reasons Vacation Needs to Become a Regular Pastime in Your Life

Nobody in their right mind says no to vacation, although there are those people that say that they don’t have the time or money to make vacation part of their regular vocabulary. Not only is this a shame on so many levels, many people who claim that they have neither time nor money could probably make it happen by simply shifting their finances around a bit and standing up for themselves and what they deserve at work. Continue reading “3 Reasons Vacation Needs to Become a Regular Pastime in Your Life”

How Long Andorran Citizens can Stay in the USA

As important as their own identity, sovereignty and autonomy is to their own citizens, independent principality nations such as Andorra and Monaco often present a very unique case when dealing with matters of immigration, global classification and even for travelling arrangements. As if just any sort of travelling isn’t enough of a nightmare of its own, travellers from these principalities such as Monegasques, Andorrans and the like often find themselves falling in between what is far from clearly defined guidelines for making travel arrangements. Depending on who you ask, Monaco could very well be classified as a region in France, while Andorra may very well be classified as either a region in Spain or in France. The significance of this comes into play quite importantly when one considers that with issues of international travel and immigration, the final decision as to whether someone should be granted the appropriate travel-clearance or not lies in the hands of one pivotal person, employed as an immigration officer, customs official, or even an ambassador. Continue reading “How Long Andorran Citizens can Stay in the USA”

4 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Vehicle for Summer Road Trips

Everyone loves a good, all-American summer road trip. For some, there is nothing that marks the warmer months more significantly than hitting the road with a few friends. Unfortunately, your road trip experience can quickly fall into a downward spiral if your vehicle is not prepared for the long drive. One way to ensure your summer experience is as free as can be is to find a new car that is road-trip ready. Continue reading “4 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Vehicle for Summer Road Trips”

Travel Like a Pro, with an Amateur Paycheck

You get one life, so live it well. Easier said than done, right? No, wrong!

What if I told you there were ways you could travel this world like you owned it, without having to make more than minimum wage? They say the more you experience, the more you value and appreciate the little things. But, while that sounds nice to the ear, what if all you could afford were the little things? Should you miss out on experiencing life? Continue reading “Travel Like a Pro, with an Amateur Paycheck”

A weekend at the horse racing: Ascot

Many people choose to attend racecourses throughout the year as many of the greatest horse racing festivals take place in Great Britain. Tens of thousands of people bear down on events such as the Aintree Grand National, Cheltenham Festival and other major meetings as they bid to beat the bookmakers and witness some of the best racehorses on the planet in action. The Royal Ascot meeting remains one of the top rated events on the sporting calendar and the greatest trainers, jockeys and owners descend on the famous racecourse to battle it out for some of racing’s greatest trophies. We take a look at just why you should visit Ascot racecourse and discuss a few of the other activities that you can enjoy in the surrounding area.

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Ascot hosts many meetings throughout the year and plenty of punters choose to travel to the course on a regular race day rather than the major events. The course is beautiful and is located near to major transport lines – meaning that Ascot is accessible for those travelling via car or public transport. There are a number of excellent restaurants in the surrounding area that cater for all dietary requirements and, with specialist cuisines, it’s a perfect place to attend and check out the local nightlife after a prosperous day at the races. Furthermore, if you miss any of the races, you can keep up to date with all news and results here.

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For those who are travelling long distances, there are plenty of impressive hotels that are located within walking distance of the track – meaning that race goers can enjoy a few drinks and are in no real rush to vacate the premises. Many of these establishments are spoilt with phenomenal views of the local scenery and grounds, allowing punters to relax after a day at the races. Some of the venues are even lucky enough to have a spaon their grounds and people can take advantage of these fantastic features throughout the weekend.

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The venue is renowned for its beautiful location and breathtaking scenes, but it’s also very well known for its phenomenal racing – particularly at Royal Ascot. Of the 32 Group One races in Great Britain, eight of them take place at the famous meeting and it isn’t a surprise to see the greatest trainers in the sport attend the meeting on a yearly basis as they pit their wits against one another.

Lesser-known national parks of USA

picGates of the Arctic, Alaska

The Gates of the Arctic National Park is located in Alaska and is one of America’s finest national parks. The park is within the Arctic Circle and covers 39,460 sq km. That is almost the same size as the Netherlands. This is not a place for casual tourists: there are no trails, roads or visitor facilities in the park. The only visitor centre is off the Dalton Highway close to the town of Coldfoot. There are wild rivers, hungry grizzlies and huge Mountains, so you will need to know how to survive in the wild. The park is extremely remote and most people arrive by floatplane.

Shenandoah, Virginia

Most of the terrain here was farmland before the creation of Shenandoah National Park in the mid-1930s. Tranquillity is still what you will find along Skyline Drive, which is the main 169km route running through the park. Blue Ridge Mountains may sound imposing, but Hawksbill Mountain is the highest at 1235m. Shenandoah is the perfect place to relax, hike through country trails and camp in the grassy meadows. This park is the best place to take your family for a wonderfully relaxing day out in nature.

Big Bend, Texas

This park is situated in the Deep South, making up almost 400km of the Texan border with Mexico. Big Bend National Park is known for the outstanding geology and palaeontology. The park has extreme climatic conditions, due to the varying altitudes. From the hot deserts and plunging canyons by the Rio Grande, to the cooler Chisos Mountains, you are sure to see something that inspires you here. There are a number of archaeological finds from thousands of years ago along the border. Big Bend’s isolation keeps the number of visitors low, because the nearest airports are Midland/Odesa (330km) and El Paso (580km).

Crater Lake, Oregon

The Great Lakes of America are famous all around the world, but many people do not know that the world’s ninth-deepest lake is also here. It is 594m deep, and the blue Crater Lake is home to an extinct caldera, which is in the heart of Crater Lake National Park. The lunar landscapes of ash and pumice are another sight that you absolutely have to see. Try hiking the 4260km Pacific Crest Trail and get that much needed exercise.  It runs all the way from Mexico to the Canadian border – A “walk in the park”. Take a boat tour from Cleetwood Cove from July to September if the weather is good.

Bryce Canyon, Utah

Bryce Canyon is located 330km northeast side of Las Vegas. There are no neon signs in Bryce Canyon National Park, but you will seethe brilliant red and orange hoodoos (pillars and arches that are eroded from the soft sedimentary rock). Bryce’s focal point is its eponymous amphitheatre and is19km long, 5km wide and up to 240m deep. There is a mass of fragile needles 60m from the valley floor, something that not even Vegas can match. The super clean air means that you can see all 7500 stars on a clear night.

 

 Make the Most of your Trip: Things to Do and See in Menorca

menorcaWith so many things to do here in Menorca, you cannot possibly get to everything, which is why we have compiled a list of 10 amazing things to do and see while visiting here.

Ciutadella – The old town of Ciutadella is full of passages, archways and sudden unexpected views. Situated on the western end of the island, the hills of Mallorca are clearly visible. The city was founded by the Carthaginians over two thousand years ago. It was the capital until the 18th century, when Richard Kane transferred the island’s power to Maó. Ciutadella now has a population of 28,000 and it is regarded as the most beautiful town in Menorca. Plaça des Bornis the main square and it is lined with aristocratic palaces of the 18th century.  Somewhere in the 14th century, the cathedral was built on the site of the former mosque.  There is a small port lined with fishing boats where the ferry leaves everyday for Mallorca.

Port of Maó – The Port of Maó extends about five kilometers into the heart of Menorca’s capital. It is one of the world’s largest natural harbors. Back in the day, the docks were some of the busiest in the Mediterranean, with ships from all over the world unloading cargoes there. Maó still has many traces of the British rule in years gone by, from the Georgian town houses to the neo-classical Town. The old dock area is now filled with restaurants and cafes, which make a killing when visiting cruise ships dock beneath the walls of the city. Maó has a relaxed easy going atmosphere where everybody seems to know one another.

Bay of Fornells – This is a beautiful inlet on the northern coast. The Bay of Fornells is over five kilometers long and two kilometers wide, it has shallow sheltered waters that provide the perfect location for all water sports from windsurfing to kayaking and dinghy sailing. An 18th century British built watchtower looks across the narrow entrance because of the fact that the area used to get raided by pirates in the past. Today it is very safe and is a popular place for visiting yachtsmen cruising around the island to visit. The old fishing village has some excellent restaurants, with caldereta de llagosta being one that serves up a delicious succulent lobster stew. Menorca’s largest marine reserve is located just off shore the Bay of Fornells and is a Mecca for scuba enthusiasts.

Megalithic monuments – Menorca is like an open air museum, with one of the largest collection of megalithic monuments in Mediterranean. These amazing standing stones and ancient settlements of the Talaiotic culture are evidence that a sophisticated and well organized society did exist here about 2,000 years BC. The two main ones are the Taula and the Naveta. The Taula is two massive pieces of stone in the form of a high freestanding table or altar.  The Naveta are large burial chambers made of blocks of stone.

The above four place are only a drop in the ocean when it comes to things to do and see here. Some of the other attractions include Favàritx lighthouse, the Fortresses of Marlborough and La Mola, the amazing views from Monte Toro, the festivals, quarries and of course, the beaches. Make sure that you get all the relevant information regarding these other things to see and do before you embark on your journey around Menorca.

 Menorca’s Best Known Cuisine Explored

picBeing strategically placed in the Mediterranean, it is not surprising that there are so many varieties of Menorca food and drink. The food and drink here has influences left by the many invaders over thousands of years, from the British, Romans, Arabs and the French.

Seafood – Seafood has always been extremely important here. The island also has a history of cattle farming – both for dairy and meat production. Menorca food and drink has the best of both land and sea. One of the most well known seafood dishes is the “caldereta de llagosta”, a succulent lobster stew served on thin slices of toast. This dish is made from the spiny blue lobster, which is caught in the waters close to the coast. This is a popular menu item for the traditional family Sunday lunches, which are served in most restaurants across the island. Some other popular seafood dishes are escopinyes and peus de cabrit. Baked sea bream, squid and octopus or grilled red mullet served with baby potato’s, grown on the island, are also popular dishes on local menus.

Mayonnaise – The islanders claim to have discovered mayonnaise. Mayonnaise was first produced in Maó in18th century by a French chef. This rich sauce took Europe by storm at the time and the Menorca people have no doubt in their minds that it was invented here. The sauce was first made in Maó, which is where the name mayonnaise comes from.

Dairy – With a lot of dairy cows on the island, milk, butter and cheese are a very important part of Menorcan cuisine. Richard Kane introduced Friesland cows to the island early in the18th century. Cheese making artifacts dating back to 3,000 BC have been found here. They have a long time to perfect the local cheeses and they are now famous for their superb quality. Menorcan cheeses have a very distinctive flavor, which is due to richness of the pastures and the climate. The cheese made here is matured for up to a year, giving it a similar consistency to that of Parmesan. Today the curado and semi curado cheeses have their own D.O.P. regional trade mark and a well know worldwide.

Meat – The meat produced here are also well known for their quality and flavor. Menorcan people often eat sobrasada (a pork sausage-meat made with red peppers) and carn i xua sausage made of lean meat and bacon cubes.

Wine – Wine production was a vital part of the island’s economy with so many thirsty troops on the island during the French and British occupations. Many vineyards were killed by phylloxera in the 19th century, but wine production is on the rise again as many new vines are being planted. The hot summer sun and calcium rich soil of the island are perfect for bringing good flavor into the grapes. Binifadet Chardonnay was added to the wine list of El Bulli in Cataluña. This restaurant was voted the world’s best restaurant of 2008.

Gin – Gin was a favorite of the Navy at one time and within a few short months of British occupation local gin was being produced to supply the thirsty sailors. Today the gin of Maó (Gin Xoriguer) is well known and is still produced from a secret recipe, which is flavored with local juniper berries. Pomada is one of the favorite drinks at fiesta time for many Menorcans. Pomada is a refreshing drink made from lemonade and gin.

Sweet dishes – The Menorcan sweet dishes are also well known in Spain. There are delicious small cakes which are made with almonds or toasted nougat. The traditional ensaimadas, a delicious circular soft pastry cake that is covered in icing sugar simply melts in the mouth. You have to give both of these a try!

Traditional cuisine – In the 20th century, traditional cuisine was in danger of disappearing, as busy modern families did not have the time for preparing food as their mothers and grandmothers did in the past. But today, some of the chefs here believe that the old recipes and ways of cooking should be preserved. As a result traditional dishes are making their way back onto the menus of many restaurants.

 

Must see landmarks of Australia

picSydney Opera House -What more can we say? This landmark is more than likely the most famous in Australia. It has sail-like arches, which dominates its structure. The Sydney Opera House is to Australia like the Eiffel tower is to France, or the Colosseum to Italy. On the 20th of October 1973, Queen Elizabeth II opened this structure up to the public. It has since become the world’s busiest venue. More than 3000 performances are hosted here every year and over 2 million audience members attend annually. Just over 200,000 people visit this amazing place every year through guided tours.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge – This place is known locally as The Coat hanger. Is the world’s most massive steel arch bridge with the highest point soaring 134 meters above the harbour below. The bridge opened in 1932 and is still an architectural marvel to this very day. Images of the bridge are recognized by people all over the world. For a small fee, visitors can take advantage of the Bridge Climb where they are escorted into the network of catwalks. This is where you will see the most spectacular view of Sydney Harbour. You are allowed to take The Bridge Climb during the day, twilight, or at night.

Uluru/Ayers Rock – Uluru, was known as Ayers Rock and it is the world’s biggest monolith, (single piece of stone). Uluru is the name given to the monolith by the local Pitjantjatjara people. The desert surrounds this huge sandstone formation. It is sort of like an iceberg in the cold seas. Most of Uluru is hidden underground, but above ground it is 348 meters high and has a circumference of 9.4 kilometres. Guided walking tours are available and Uluru is popular for its striking appearance. It seems to change colour at different times of the year.

The Great Barrier Reef – Australia is a land full of natural wonders, but the Great Barrier Reef is most definitely the most famous of all. It is the world’s largest coral reef system and it stretches on for 2600 km. Taking up and area of over 300,000 square kilometres, this is the only structure that can be seen from outer space. The dugong, Loggerhead turtle and a variety of dolphin species all call this place their home. With over two million people visiting this area each year, it is easy to see why it is a popular tourist attraction. People are debating how the many feet walking on the coral could be affecting the fragile environment.

The Royal Botanic Gardens – These gardens were opened by Governor Bligh in 1816. It is situated close to the middle of Sydney, the Opera House and offers visitors the most amazing views of the surrounding urban area. There are over 7500 different species of plants in the 30 hectares that make up these gardens. Visitors can enjoy a number of presentations throughout the year, take guided tours through the gardens, the Government House and there are even Aboriginal heritage tours that you can take part in.

Port Arthur – is a fabulous tourist destination full of Australian history. Founded in 1830, Port Arthur was originally served a timber station. Industry came after that and by the 1840s Port Arthur over 1100 convicts. By the 1870s the convicts were no longer there and all that was left was the buildings, which were not destroyed by fires in the late 19th century. Tourists started to flock in. The preservation of this area as a historic site was established in 1916. There are archaeological studies that are still being conducted today and they continue to dig up more of the penal colony past.

Coober Pedy – this place is most well known for the unusual lifestyle of its local residents, who live underground all year. This started when a local resident was trying to get away from the heat. This was way before air conditioning was invented. Coober Pedy was first established in 1915 as an opal mine. You are now allowed to visit the underground churches, the old opal mines, and stay in an underground motel. You can play night golf at the local golf course with glowing golf balls. This area does not have any trees and the golf course has no grass. It also served as the backdrop for the post-nuclear apocalypse film titled Mad Max Beyond Thunder dome.

Kangaroo Island – This is a natural haven overflowing with Australia’s unique wildlife. Koalas sleep their days away in the trees, platypus can be seen in the local streams, and wallabies and kangaroos hop across the wide-open spaces. Kangaroo Island is a tourist hotspot, because it is one of the only places in Australia where so much wildlife can be seen in their natural setting. There are many caves and striking rock formations in this area that will make you want to capture them on film. Reeves Point on the island is a place rich with history and a popular place for tourist to visit.

The Bungle Bungles – These unique, beehive-shaped sandstone formations located in Purnululu National Park. The Bungle Bungles were only discovered by others in the 1980s, but the Aborigines knew about them for a long time before this. This area, located 250 kilometres south of Kununurra was discovered by mistake by TV crew, and that is the only reason why we know about this remote place. It is rather difficult getting there and the first 80 kilometres of dirt roads can only be taken on with a four-wheel drive.

Uluru – This is the most famous monolith in Australia. Castle Hill is another one and is a massive pink granite rock. Paved roads take you to the top of Castle Hill and offer you the most excellent views of Townsville. In WWII there were military bases and defensive batteries built in this area. There are rumours that underground tunnels and a bunker were built under Castle Hill. This may be why so many people flock to see this mysterious area.