Thursday, August 2, 2018

Things to do in Wales

Everyone that’s been to Wales tells the same exact thing, it’s a beautiful country full of luscious greeneries, fairytales like castles and natural drama. There are a lot of fun outdoor activities – from its sandy beaches to its majestic mountain ranges; Wales is one country that literally goes down in the history of humankind. Its stories had been told in many ancient monuments and museums. The bold and the brave, travel to Wales to find its romantic charm captivating. Castles and different monuments are its biggest attractions, while some go in for a more adventurous journey. Wales is a country full of wonderful natural sceneries. Here are some of the most notable castles and grounds to visit in Wales.

Caernarfon Castle

Built as a military stronghold between 1283 and 1330 and designed by Master James of St. George from Savoy, Caernarfon Castle functions, the Caernarfon Castle was the center of the government and a royal palace. Its ancient walls and tower were extraordinary and remain as one of the most complete and impressive castles in Britain. The charm of the 5th-century architecture of Constantinople in Istanbul still echoes of its color bonded masonry. Its polygonal towers are reminiscent of the ancient tales of the influence of early civilizations.

If only walls can talk, the castle can tell much of its many murder plots of the nobles and known heroes of the ancient times. In 1404, it repelled the army of Owain Glyndŵr's with only 28 men. The castle had endured and resisted three sieges during the English Civil War before succumbing to Cromwell’s army in 1646. With such great history and architecture design, Wales had well preserved its beauty, however, empty it may seem.

The Eagle Tower remains as the best place to start your journey. Its entrance marked with one flagpole to the right and turrets where you can spot the weathered eagle, where it gets its namesake. Inside there are exhibits about Eleanor of Castile and the Welsh version ‘Game of Thrones’. On the other side the castle known as the Queen’s Tower, you will find Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers with different exhibits showcasing many uniforms, medals, weapons, and other historical displays.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & Canal World Heritage Site




Thomas Telford, a Georgian engineer built the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in 1805 to carry the canal over the River Dee. Measuring about 307 meters long, 3.6m wide, 1.7 meters deep and standing at 38 meters high, this engineering marvel of that time is the highest canal aqueduct ever built on the entire UK. Because of its feat, considering the resources and machinery available at that time, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During 18th-century horse-drawn canal barge was the main mode of transporting goods but it was soon replaced with the introduction of the railway systems. Telford designed the canal to connect haulage routes between River Dee, Severn and Mersey. With these, he even built Horseshoe Falls to gather water for the canal from the River Dee. It used to carry drinking water from River Dee to the Hurleston Reservoir located in Cheshire. Today, its riverbank is a great place to have a picnic and to rest tired feet from all those walking.

Visiting this vertigo-inducing canal needs a head for heights, as you can walk in its paths for miles free of charge. There are blue-badge guides that offer guided tours near the aqueduct. You can also find canal boat rides which feature trips along the ‘stream in the sky’.

Great Orme Mines




The Great Orme Mines is the largest prehistoric mine ever discovered to date. Located near the top of Great Orme, it has a paved car park for visitors. The place is one of the most recommended places in Wales, wherein the 4,000 years old mine serves as a great important discovery in history. The mines run about 5 miles and were dug for over centuries using only stones and bones in search of copper. There’s a self-guided tour explaining about how rocks turned into copper at the smelting site which can last for about 45 minutes. You can also head further 200 meters down in its 3500-year-old tunnels to learn more about the ancient miners.

St David's Cathedral




Hidden behind high walls, St David's Cathedral is virtually invisible to all. Built within a 6th-century chapel, the cathedral dates from 12th to 14th century and emits an air of antiquity and deep historical importance. The unconventional site was chosen to protect the cathedral from Viking raiders, but it was ransacked more than five times. Weathered and in poor condition, Sir George Gilbert Scott made extensive works to stabilize the building.

Once you entered the wall, the stone walls of the cathedral come into view. Its beauty and atmosphere emit reminiscent of the ancient times. The cathedral has four pointed ethereal purple stone and a rich carving in its 16-century oak ceiling adorned with pendants.



Monday, July 23, 2018

What To Do in Nassau

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Nassau is the commercial epicenter of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas with an estimated population of 274,400 as of 2016. It houses almost 70% of the whole Bahamas population. Located on the New Providence island, it stands as the main business district of the country. It as the main stronghold of the fiercest pirates in the world, so the Pirates of the Caribbean aren’t that farfetched after all. The city got its name after the city of Germany, Nassau and in honor of William III of England, Prince of Orange-Nassau. 

During the late 18th century, Nassau population grew when the American Loyalists and their slaves came to the island after the American War of Independence. The influxes of people were so high that it immediately outnumbered its original inhabitants. Today, the city is known to attract millions of tourist worldwide.

With so many things to do and family activities to choose from, it’s really unlikely that the city will bore you. There are several different ways to explore the place, one leading to another great adventure. Here are some of the best fun-filled family activities:

Tour the Rose Island


Many referred the Bahamas Out Islands as Family islands because of the variety of family activities it offered. The laid-back community is a gateway to more exciting destinations. Rose Island is one quick ride onboard a speedboat. It makes for a perfect day trip on the island with pristine white sand, secluded beach area, and great snorkeling spots. 

Climb the Queen's Staircase


Climbing the Queen’s Staircase is, in fact, a must do when in Nassau. Built between 1793 and 1794, it was a grim reminder of slave’s hard labor as they carved the 600-foot-tall Queen's Staircase out of solid limestone. The stairs also provide an entryway to Fort Fincastle, standing on the highest point of New Providence Island in Bennett’s Hill. It was later named to honor Queen Victoria.

Visit the Pirates of Nassau Museum


Nassau has a long and grim history worthy of learning. During the early 18th century, it was once a notorious pirate haven known as the “Republic of Pirate” with hundreds of stories to tell. The museum tells , narrative of the various different pirate history of the entire Caribbean. There are interactive exhibits, dioramas, and good old pirate battles. It’s a good way to spend some time to get to know more of the island’s history.

Dive at Stuart's Cove


Stuart's Cove is a perfect spot to go diving whether you are a beginner or a veteran diver. The place is not too crowded which makes it a perfect place to really enjoy the underwater marvels of Nassau. Veteran divers get a chance to dive with wild sharks while the fewer experienced ones, can still marvel at a safer distance. If you don’t want to have your feet wet, there’s a mini-sub to still see the other side of the world. 

Go to Graycliff to taste their famous chocolate, Cigars, and a lot more


The Garzaroli family developed this hillside place into an amazing tourists spot. The Graycliff Hotel and restaurants cater to almost everyone in the family, from entertainment to rum tastings. It’s a virtual entertainment complex with a very fine chocolatier to make little kids happy and a cigar company for the adults to enjoy. Cigars are specially made on site and rolled by hand which can be paired with rum tastings. There’s a pizzeria that offers great snacks and a Bahamian heritage museum for added information about the place. Before you leave, check out their amazing wide selections of 200,000 bottles of wines. 

Buy the perfect souvenir at Straw Market 


The name “Straw Market” came from slaves who sold local handicrafts to Nassau visitors for hundreds of years, the name however, never left the island. These folks used to peddle weaved bowls using skills they learned from their native land. Since the fire broke down several years ago, the market still continued today at the Nassau Straw Market. But today, they sell more than straw baskets, you can find great wood art carvings, t-shirts, and beaded necklaces, and almost every typical island-themed souvenir there is.



Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Off the Beaten Path destination in London


Take a tour guided by the Homeless and explore the other side of London


Even if guided tours don’t stoke your fire, then make an exception for this one. This is the most off the beaten path when it comes to touring London. The Londonian charity put up the ‘Unseen Tours’ to help homeless people, and it’s just pure genius. These folks know the unexplored hidden alleyways in London, and you cannot be closer in the usual Londoners life than this. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone; you are learning more of London while helping change the life of your tour guides. There is a different stretch of these tours, one unique than the other. 

Marvel at the Biggest Hindu Temple – out of India that is


This may come to a surprise for some, as London houses the Biggest Hindu Temple located outside of India. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was built using traditional materials and method. Also the first traditional stone temple in Europe, the sight was spectacular indeed. Marvel at its very finely carved Italian marbles and Bulgarian limestone. The best time to tour the temple’s ground is during a religious rite and you’ll be surprised how the colors brightly contrast the white temple. The easiest route going to the temple is through the underground Jubilee line for Neasden near Wembley Stadium. Then walk about half an hour from central London and you’ll be there. 

Calling out all Harry Potter heads and visit Davenports Magic 


London is known worldwide because of the Harry Potter films and what would be nicer than to visit a magic school to start your tour in the city. Founded in 1898, its right under the Charing Cross station and well hidden along the busy streets of the city, which adds mystery of the place. They also offer magic workshops and learning a magic trick or two would be really nice to show your friends back home. It’s even hailed as ‘The Real Hogwarts and Home to London Wizards’.

Little Venice



Yup, read that right, London has its very own Little Venice, a salute to the famous Italian city. Enjoy a leisure walk in the morning or late afternoon as the place is quite enjoyable. Home to many pubs, restaurants, and waterside cafes, it does come alive during the hot summer days. Watch Londoners as they board their canal boats and jog along its shores. Top it off with a bit of sightseeing in Regent’s Park or Camden.

The Thames Path



Not really an off the beaten path, Thames Path is home to many hidden gems inside the city of London. The 40-mile long trail comprises of many serene spots waiting to be discovered. Many tourists opt to hire a bike, which for them serves the purpose really well, as they can stop and enjoy a fresh air any moment they like. The path serves as home several public beaches, the village of Rotherhithe and The Prospect of Whitby, one of Charles Dickens’ favorite pubs. 

Dennis Severs' House



Dennis Severs' House is one of the city’s peculiar tourist attractions. Tourists can step inside the artist’s former home that seems to be left untouched since the 18th century. Known as the most original immersive experiences, the house still has an unkempt bed, untouched food, and house left to dust. A trip to this house is not an ordinary walk inside a museum.

A trip inside London’s Container City and Smallest Museum 



Here is a certified not touristy spot and considered a best-kept secret in London, the Docklands area. Over the past few years, it’s becoming a hip and trendy spot for millennials and a must see in London. The Trinity Buoy Wharf is a hidden gem for the artistic and creative minds. It’s also home to the real container city, the smallest museum and the only lighthouse in London. The place is far from the usual glitz and glamour of London’s busy street lights, which makes it a great spot for anyone who really wants to get in touch with their inner creative self.

See the amazing view of the London City – for free


Anything that free is really worth a try, especially in a place like London. You don’t need to get in line and buy yourself that expensive London Eye ticket to get a view of the city. There’s a hidden alternative that offers the same great view and its free! One of the few hidden places to see the entire London city is up to the One New Change shopping mall terrace. The view is so amazing it's even worthy of those postcard-perfect photos. 

When in London – sip a cup of Tea



What a better way to cap your trip in London City than to sip an afternoon tea on top of a classic double-decker bus. Londoners do love their tea, they're famous for it. Although it’s very common to sip tea anywhere in the city, drinking a cuppa on top of a Londonian double-decker bus isn’t. Sip a very relaxing drink while the bus drives around Buckingham Palace and other famous tourist spots in London. It’s something very unusual even for locals’ standards. The tour includes selections of cupcakes, sandwiches, and more sweet pastry to pair with your tea. What a lovely trip it would be.


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Best Family Activities in Edinburg

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Travel to the country of what Scotland consider as the adventure playground in the west – Edinburg. The city is fast becoming a popular destination for families. Kids would really love to explore its city, wherein the modern world paved the way for nature to seep through in some of the best learning activities in the city. Awaken your inner child and let your kid’s imagination run free in some of the best family attractions in Edinburg.

The Museum Of Childhood


What would be a perfect start for your family vacation other than The Museum of Childhood? It’s the very first of its kind in the world dedicated to the history of children. Located on Royal Mile, the museum houses the best collections of children’s toys throughout the history of mankind. Reminisce your own childhood days viewing some of the most familiar and unique toys from around the world. Let the children learn how ‘the good old days’ keep the children busy even without gadgets. The puppet theater and the dress up area are two of the main highlights in the museum. 

National Museum Of Scotland


Continue to feed your children’s mind with treasures of the past at the National Museum of Scotland. They have wide ranges of collections and fascinating finds that will keep your little ones busy for hours. Expect to know gargantuan facts and figures throughout the history of the earth. With impressive collections and rare artifacts, it’s a great place to learn some of the best cultural heritage of Scotland. They also have Earth in Space Gallery and extensive mammal collections in the world, spending some time here will all be worth it – something that the whole family can cherish. 


After a tiring day of knowing almost all important facts on earth, it’s time to freshen up and spend another day of fun and play. Take your kids away from the comfort of the modern day world and let them spend some time under the sun and where animals roam free. Let them enjoy a full day onboard train rides or go-karts. Situated just a few miles of Dunbar, let your little ones choose their activities from the indoor animal barn, crazy golf, trampolines, hay barns to ball blast arena. Tucked away those gadgets and let them loose while climbing walls, giant fortress, and educational barn. Kids will never run out of ideas in this structured educational place that’s really wildly fun for them. 

Dynamic Earth


Dynamic Earth offers great kid-friendly features like their interactive exhibits, impressive technology, and a 4D experience for everyone. Housed in a mysterious spaceship-esque building, it’s the only place in Scotland that has a full 360-degree film theatre. It offers the amazing tale of planet earth as well as many fascinating facts about Mother Nature. Kids and kids at heart will surely be blown away by its beauty and different exhibits.



Scottish Storytelling Centre


Enjoy one of the oldest art forms in human history – storytelling. There are a number of oral narratives as told by different cultures around the world. The Scottish Storytelling Centre has performed many ‘living art’ throughout the years, so they are the expert of storytelling which everyone in the family loves to see. It's home to Scottish International Storytelling Festival and hosts many cultural programs every year. Visiting Edinburg within the festival will delight anyone who wishes to hear all of the Scottish legendary tales. Some of the most loved stories include Greyfriars Bobby and meet Nessie, the Gruffalo, and Wee Willie Winkie. So expect to pull up a chair and make lots of rooms for cookies and other goodie delights while watching the show. 

Deep Sea World


As your kids filled their imagination with different stories, treat their eyes with the largest underwater tunnel in all of UK at Deep Sea World. Every kid loved to see the real Nemo and Dory at their natural habitat. See the little ones have fun looking at different fish species like angelfish, sharks, piranhas, starfish, and seals. This amazing underwater attraction is located in North Queensferry in Fife. 

Their giant underwater aquarium is filled with multiple themed areas using Scottish seawater from the Firth of Forth providing sea animals with fresh sea water supply. Enjoy this unique aquatic experience which everyone would surely love.

Jenner’s Toy Department


Lastly, when the kids had their educational tour, it’s time to treat them a tour of Jenner’s Toy Department. It’s every kid's heaven filled with buckets of Lego, board games, talking toys, cuddly bears, and action figures. They have departments for toys of the great outdoors like bikes, mini scooter, and hoverboards. Giving them a treat or two would never hurt, but let them wander inside the toy department and see the sparks on their eyes light up.





Tuesday, July 3, 2018

11 Must Dos in Skye

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Known for its rugged landscapes, picturesque fishing villages, as well as medieval castles, the island of Skye is indeed a good place for visitors to start their journey in Scotland. Whether you only have a day or two to spare, here is a list of must-dos in Skye that will definitely complete and satisfy your holiday. 

The Cuillins 


With rugged mountains located on the southern portion of the Isle of Skye--that can be seen from the road as you drive through the island—the Cuillins offers the best and arduous hikes. If you hike up Bla Bheinn (Blaven) or Sgurr na Stri, you are guaranteed a stunning wide view of the Isle of Skye. On the other hand, you can also climb up Sgurr Alasdair for the highest peak on the Isle of Skye. 

Rubha nam Brathairean


Do you like to put in little effort for bigger outcomes? Brother’s Point is a short hike that leads to the most stunning and ethereal scenery on the Isle of Skye. This is a hidden treasure in which only a few people visit; this makes a better experience for those “in the know”.

Elgol


Elgol, place located on the southwestern coast of Isle of Skye where not many visitors seem to visit, has spectacular coastal views. You should totally make time to experience the enjoyable day trips from Elgol to Loch Coruisk; you will be greeted with stunning scenery of nature and wildlife. 

Old Man of Storr


Not only does it have such a cool name, Old Man of Storr also has cool picturesque landscapes. In fact, Old Man of Storr is one of the most photograph landscapes on the Isle of Skye. Therefore, this is a place that you do not want to miss. Although it might take a bit of hiking when you reach the top of this hill, you will witness the best scenery—you will not regret it.



Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls


Located just a few kilometers away from Brother’s Point, Kilt Rock offers epic views of the Isle of Skye—a quick stop and a little hike are worth it for the view that this offers. Want to see something cool? When you park on A855 and walk out to the viewpoint, you are able to see Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls as well as Brother’s Point! What about that for killing two birds with one stone? 

Neist Point


The Neist Point Lighthouse, designed by David Alan Stevenson, was first lit in 1909, has been on people’s must-go-to lists in Scotland. When coming to this place near Dunvegan, expect large crowds and an overflowing car park, usually during summer months. However, you can also expect an amazing view from Neist Point, especially at the end of the day during a sunset. 

Quiraing


For those who want to go a little farther on a terrific walk but still see amazing views, a hike on The Quiraing between Staffin and Uig is a must—photographers would enjoy the spectacular landscapes of Scotland as they pass through this hill. 

Dunvegan Castle


Dunvegan Castle, located 1 mile to the north of Dunvegan, is the only existing castle on the Isle of Skye. According to the Dunvegan Castle’s official website, “Dunvegan Castle is one the greatest Hebridean castles and the only one which has been continuously occupied by the same family for 800 years.” If you are one of those people who are big fans of castles, this castle is a good place to tour!



Talisker Distillery


Talisker Distillery is the oldest and only working distillery on the Isle of Skye, founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill. A guided tour along with a taste of some award-winning premium whiskey as well as a souvenir sounds great, doesn’t it?

Fairy Glen


Fairy Glen, another spot that is commonly disregarded by visitors, is a miniature landslip that looks like it came straight out of a movie. Although small and an easy hike, it contains the most impressive scenery, and you might even spot a fairy. 

The Fairy Pools


Speaking of fairies, you can take another easy walk to the series of clear, seemingly vibrant blue and green, waters of Fairy Pools waterfalls. Since it only requires an easy stroll, going to the Fairy Pools is perfect for all ages and levels of fitness. 


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Things not to do when traveling in the UK



Traveling to the UK soon? It’s easy to feel right at home in Britain, where it’s easy to navigate the place, find hotel bookings, cheap recreational activities, and great sights waiting to be discovered. North Americans share a bit of common heritage with Britain. During the height of its empire, Britain ruled about a quarter of the world and they successfully passed on some of their cultures to their colonies. It’s one of the main reason people love going to England and the rest of UK. 

Everyone loves to write itineraries and what they like to visit in Britain, but before heading further west, you might need to take some notes on what not to do. There are some customs in North America that Britain and the rest of the UK find insulting and worse rude. So don’t be a nosy tourist in their country, and make some adjustments with these few reminders:

Don't confuse England with the rest of the United Kingdom


The official and proper name of UK is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain comprises of three other countries, England, Scotland, and Wales which are all different from one another. It’s not like a state or county, these countries have their own local government, unique ethnic identities, and own rich culture. Nothing annoys people from Scotland or Wales than being called English. If you call someone English who’s definitely from Ireland, you might find yourself in big trouble. It’s always generally safe to ask.

Asking anyone if they know the Queen


The Royals especially the Queen are the biggest attractions in Britain. But don’t assume everyone loves them. Britain may seem small on the map compared to the US, but don’t forget their number is huge. An estimated 60 million people live in the UK and at least 8 million live in Greater London. Asking if they know the Queen is a ridiculous and laughable matter to start a conversation – it will never happen.

The harsh reality is Brits don’t pay much attention to the Royals or to the Queen. It’s not like what you see on the TV. She may appear on the news from time to time, but that’s just it. And it’s a bit entertaining for some, but don’t expect everyone will be jolly good when it comes talking about the Queen.

Don't Block the Escalators


Britain and the rest of the UK are busy people, and well aware of the time. You’ll find them racing up or down the escalator in airports, stores, train station, or the ‘Tube’. For them, walking gets them to their destination faster and more efficient. If you don’t feel like going with the flow, then stand on the right side of the escalator and let the busy traffic past on the left. For them, standing on the left is a social crime, and you’ll hear a lot of grumble by standing on it. Likewise, they love to fall in line that’s why they call it a queue. Jumping in front of the line will also get you in trouble. Don’t let them label you as ignorant and rude tourists in doing so.

Don’t stop or cut lines in front of the carriage entrance


Brits either love or hate their daily commute with the ‘Tube’ or their subway systems, depending on the time of the day. But their ‘Tube’ is the most extensive and efficient public transport systems in the world. That being said, it’s the most popular way of getting around the city; it gets overcrowded, very stuffy and hot. So anything that impedes the locals in getting that dreaded morning commute is having tourists blocking their way. Whatever you do, don’t jump in front of the carriage when there are people lining up to get onboard. This makes it easier for people getting off and boarding the train. It prevents overcrowding when another door remains virtually empty. Make sure of the map, sometimes walking above and on the streets are far better than navigating the labyrinth-like underground systems of Britain. 

Don't underestimate the value of British coins


You could easily get annoyed when you already accumulated a pocket full of coins. But whatever you do, don’t throw them out. Don’t underestimate the value of British coin. Spend them on your daily adventure; they are not just useless coins clanking around in your purse. A single British pound coin is worth at least a dollar and a half. Two-pound coins are worth more than two dollars. So a pocket full of them can buy you a decent snack may be more. 


Monday, June 25, 2018

Top Things to Do When in Cuba

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There are so many places and things to do when visiting Cuba. One can easily fall prey to its many tourist's traps, losing many travelers to its labyrinth of attractions. But whatever your itinerary is, here are some of the important monuments and places to visit in Cuba.

Museo de la Revolución




Founded in 1913 and 1920, this very iconic museum used to be a Presidential Palace. It used to house some of the controversial and well-known Cuban Presidents. Museo de la Revolución is a great architectural beauty on its own. Designed to resemble Tiffany's of New York and the Palace of Versailles, many are attracted to its architectural design and historic exhibits. 

On its grand central staircase, a bust of Jose Marti will greet visitors with bullets holes sustained during a failed attack on the palace in March 1957. The attack was an unsuccessful attempt at assassinating the former President Fulgencio Batista. There are other interesting exhibits in the museum like the SAU-100 tank used by Castro during Bay of Pigs battle in 1961, a replica of the 18m yacht that carried Fidel Castro from Mexico to Cuba in December 1956. Other exhibits include vehicles, planes, and rockets associated with different uprising during the course of its political turmoil.

Malecón




Many would come to Malecón to witness the most sought-after view of the beautiful crimson sunset, the most dramatic of all in Cuba. Its 7 km-long sea drive, Malecón is a popular meeting place for all people – traveling minstrels, poets, painters, young couples, and fishers. Just overlooking boundaries of the US state of Florida, it’s a laid out oceanside boulevard for Havana’s middle-class people in the early 1900s. Malecón has its own unique vibe and electric architectural design both indicating of neoclassicism mixed with whimsical art nouveau.

As a very popular destination for the pleasure-seeking middle-class in Cuba, it expands into a very busy six-lane highway that attracts many vintage cars like Buicks and Chevrolets. Today, Malecón is known as “the world’s longest sofa”, where people come to meet new friends, debate over their political views, and sometimes just to enjoy the full view of a beautiful sunset.

Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro




Sitting atop of 60 meters high at the front of Santiago harbor and about 10 km southwest of the city, Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1997. It was initially designed by the famous Italian military engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli in 1587. Antonelli was the same engineer who built La Punta and El Morro in Havana. The fort aims to protect Santiago from pirates who ransacked the city in 1554. But the work didn’t start until 1633 because of financial constraints, 17 years after Antonelli died. Today, the fort houses Museo de Piratería and exhibits from the US-Spanish naval battle that took place in 1898. Tourists who climbed the fort are treated with an amazing view of Santiago’s coastline under the majestic shadows of Sierra Maestra. Every day at sunset, tourists can witness the cañonazo ceremony or firing of the cannon at the Fort where guards dress up in Mambises regalia.

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes




Dubbed as the finest art gallery in the whole of Caribbean region, art lovers are recommended to pay a visit to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Its entire collection expands over two campuses where 'Arte Cubano' building displays the most comprehensive Cuban art collection in the world. The other part, 'Arte Universal' is designed to overlook Parque Central, with views as amazing as the art it holds within. The museum houses purely Cuban art which display its collection in chronological order starting on its 3rd floor. Tourists can view the artworks of the famous Cuban artists like Guillermo Collazo, the first great Cuban artists, Raul Martinez, the master of Cuban pop art, Rafael Blanco and his cartoon-like paintings, and Wifredo Lam, with his Picasso-style paintings. 

Plaza de la Catedral




Step back in time to see some of the well preserved baroque architecture. Dating from the 1700s, Plaza de la Catedral is one of the most uniform baroque style buildings. The area was originally a swamp but later drained to be used as a naval dockyard. The plaza is known as the grandest mansions ever built in Cuba and houses the Museo del Arte Colonial (Colonial Art Museum). Its popular tourist's destination wherein visitors can stroll its cobbled streets which are lined with many restaurants and cafes. 

Plaza Vieja




One of the most visited sites in Cuba, Plaza Vieja is one place encompasses the true Cuban spirit. It’s one exotic place where music is played in almost every corner, and people enjoying twisting their hips as they go by their famous dance –salsa. Initially called as Plaza Nueva or New Square, its main purposes were to be used for military exercises which were laid out back in 1559. However, it was far from its intended purpose, Plaza Vieja now sits on a busy marketplace teeming with restaurants, cafes, and breweries. At nightfall, the place is buzzing with many touristy activities, and different kinds of music filled the air. 




Thursday, June 21, 2018

Getting Around in UK Rail System Without Breaking the Bank

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Combining UK’s complex ticket pricing system with the 25 percent raise of train fares since 2011, many find it extremely difficult to travel at peak times on intercity routes. Therefore, Telegraph Travel has listed down 10 strategies to help passengers save rail travel cost. 

Book in advance


Booking earlier, which helps prevent the hassle of the last-minute booking, can also combat the unreasonable high prices of rail routes. Around 12 weeks before departure, train companies usually release their limited cheapest fixed-time Advance tickets. Therefore, tickets are cheaper the earlier you buy. To find information on how far in advance you are able to book with each company, see National Rail’s chart at nationalrail.co.uk. In addition to this, you can register with The Trainline at thetrainline.com/ticketalert to be alerted via email of when Advance tickets go on sale for specific routes 

Search for great deals, even at the last minute. 


If you are unable to book Advance tickets well ahead of due to circumstances, you are still able to combat the unreasonable high prices of rail routes. This can be done by booking Advance tickets just before traveling—with CrossCountry, you are sometimes able to buy Advance online tickets 15 minutes before departure. It is important to note that when booking Advance tickets last minute, the cut-off times change from one operator to another; cut off times are usually 6 pm or 11.59 pm the day before. 

Avoid Booking Fees


Although online booking fees are small, with agents such as Trainline charging 25p to £1.50 and redspottedhanky.cm charging £1, constant online booking for a frequent train traveler can take more money out of your pocket. To avoid this, book through train operators’ websites for free booking—any train operator can book any train journey at the same price. 

Look for Supersaver tips


Although finding online deals is hard-work, it does not mean they do not exist. On megatrain.com you are able to find exceptionally inexpensive fares on some services operated by South West Trains and East Midlands Trains—this includes Southampton-London Waterloo and Leicester-London St. Pancras). Prices normally start at £1 (with additional 50p booking fee). 

Take a Slower Route


Taking slower routes may result in your money being saved. When traveling, riding on other routes that take longer, but still end up in the same location, are usually a lot cheaper. For example, main route peak time travels between Bath and London Paddington costs £190 for an Anytime Return. However, you can save £108.7 by taking an extra 75 minutes by changing trains in Salisbury. You’re still going to end up in the same location, however, with more cash on your hand.



Well time Your Travel


By avoiding peaks such as Monday to Friday during business travel periods, you can still save significantly, even without booking ahead. Though prices are higher than Advance rail fares, buying Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak tickets don’t restrict you to traveling on a specific train. To see which services are a peak, off-peak, and super off-peak on a specified route, you can head over to thetrainline.com/train-times. 

Get a Railcard


Investing in a railcard can help you save ⅓ on rail fares for a whole year and only costs £30 a year for most— Disabled Persons Railcards are £20. The nationwide 16-25, Two Together, Family and Friends, and Senior and Disabled Persons railcards are able to pay for themselves on just one or two long-distance journeys. To find out more details and information, you can go on railcard.co.uk. 

Research Airport Train Options


Considering cheaper alternatives, such as booking airport express services in advance, can help you travel for a lot cheaper. Traveling at the weekend, when booked 90 days ahead, costs £5.50, compared with £22 bought on the same day of travel on the Heathrow Express (heathrowexpress.com). When services are stopped from London stations to Gatwick, it can take the same time or a few minutes later than the Gatwick Express except, it takes less money and is cheaper. 

Don’t ignore Refunds


When you’re disadvantaged, like your train being delayed, do not hesitate to get a refund—you are entitled to get your money back. To do this, you will need to put in a claim as compensation normally is not automatic. Train companies usually follow the Delay Repay arrangement— if the train is 30-59 minutes late, they pay 50 percent of the single fair and if the train is an hour or more late, they pay 100 percent. However, different train companies come with different policies; policy details are usually on their website and being aware of these can help you with your refunds. With some train companies, such as Southern and Thameslink, you are entitled to compensation if the train is late by 15 minutes. Keep in mind that being late may sometimes be out of the control of rail operators (operators such as GWR won’t pay up if they delay was caused by something outside their control). 

Try Split-Ticketing


Rail bosses have admitted that buying two or more tickets for different connecting segments of your journey, rather than buying one ticket for the whole trip, can be cheaper—this usually applies for long distance trips. Research shows that by doing this, you can reduce the price of traveling by nearly 90 percent. The train has to call at a station, as named on the ticket, and you do not need to get off or change.



Monday, June 18, 2018

Where to Go in Virgin Islands

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Formed about thousands, if not millions of years ago, the Virgin Islands sits between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It’s a group of islands separated from the Renaissance Islands by the Anegada nearby the main island of Puerto Rico. The Virgin Islands have three main parts; United States Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Spanish (or Puerto Rican) Virgin Islands.

It’s a common fact that the Virgin Islands is a popular destination for travelers around the world. From the high-end shopping districts, go back in time as you tour Fort Christiansvaern or the Estate Whim Plantation Museum to the nature lover’s abode of Virgin Islands National Park in St. John. Here are other popular destinations along the Virgin Islands.

Virgin Islands National Park (St. John)


The most convenient way to experience nature at its finest is to tour Virgin Islands National Park in St. John. If you are already in St. John, you are probably standing right on the edge of the protected forested area. Two-thirds of the island is a deeply forested area and boasts one of the most scenic views in the area. Caneel Bay, Trunk Bay, and Annaberg Plantation are just a few minutes away from each other. The best part in St. John is it offers different ways to enjoy this paradise. Travelers who want to have a bit of adrenaline rush can go hiking on its 22 trails. For a more family-friendly activity, one can experience sleeping under the stars in its camping camp right on the beach.

Magens Bay (St. Thomas)


The beaches along the Virgin Islands are known to be the best in the world, and nothing is can surpass the beauty of Magens Bay at St. Thomas. The northern coast of the island is the most popular and most photograph beach in the world. A quick drive on top of the mountain, travelers can view a beautiful heart shaped beach. But nothing can compare to the view which is like paradise on earth; glassy clear water and powdery white sand will greet the travelers. Because of the popularity of the beach and great reviews on the various website, be prepared to pay a higher price to experience a piece of this paradise. To avoid crowds, visit the beach in the early morning or later in the evening.

Trunk Bay (St. John)


But for some people, the most idyllic of all beaches are in Trunk Bay. The beach has the most beautiful pearly white sand and turquoise water. Because its part if the Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay maintained its untouched glory of paradise. Its serenity and scenic view are incomparable among the other beaches in the world. The best time to swim in its waters is during the early morning as they are few people walking the beach. You can enjoy a half day of undisturbed snorkeling. Try to follow the beautiful Underwater Trail, a snorkeling path to see the hidden underwater treasures of Trunk Bay. The beach is a perfect spot even for beginner snorkelers. 

Caneel Bay (St. John)


Even though the prestigious Caneel Bay Resort is just nearby, Caneel Bay is free for all travelers who want to enjoy this pristine beach. Most travelers would recommend taking advantage of this freebie. The best way to reach the beach is to hike or bike about 1.5 miles going to Cruz Bay, which is a short distance from the beach. But arriving via a boat is the easiest way to go in Caneel Bay. Another option to enjoy the beach is to go for a swim in its crystal clear waters and have a luxurious meal in one of the hotel’s restaurant. To have a more private swim, venture into the Honeymoon Beach but getting there might be a challenge; you need to swim about 0.3 miles from Caneel coast.

Estate Whim Plantation Museum (St. Croix)


The Estate Whim Plantation Museum shows the early life of the Cruzans during the 18th century particularly their sugar cane production. Tour the Frederiksted museum; venture into the windmill and bath house. Another private residence serves as a great family destination; the Estate Mount Washington Plantation was once a sugar cane plantation that offers tours within its vicinity. There are many lessons to learn to go to this place like the island's sugar cane production and the lives of Cruzan slaves.



Thursday, June 14, 2018

Important Monuments in Italy that’s Worth a Visit

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One of the most powerful nations of the ancient times and the fascinating country today, Italy helped shaped the modern day European continent. There are hundreds of different ways to know more about the country and each one of them will surely leave a mark in your hearts. Italy has a lot of historical sites still standing today; it’s amazing to think these are the same monuments which the greatest early thinkers built for their nation without any modern technology and machinery to help them. Would it be spectacular to these some of the most important monuments up close in their most preserved form? Luckily, here are some of them which everyone in the family can enjoy when visiting ‘The Boot’ or some may say the land of great history and diversity. 


The Colosseum




When thinking about Rome, the first thing comes to mind to most travelers is The Colosseum. No surprises there, The Colosseum signifies the grandeur of the Roman Empire. It’s the largest amphitheater ever built by the Romans. Built in the 70 AD and with Greek architecture design it used to host gladiator battles, mock sea games, and animal hunts. It’s a direct contrast to the modern day buildings that surround it. 

The Roman Forum




Once the center of the Roman Empire, it was surrounded by different government buildings and a very busy marketplace. Built like a rectangular plaza, its ruins make for one of the most significant monuments in Italy. During the peak of the empire, The Roman Forum was the center of all important government decisions and negotiations, its historical significance is very much incomparable.

The Pantheon




The Pantheon is hailed as the best-preserved monument of the ancient Roman Empire. Romans built constructed this place to be used as a temple dedicated to the pagans gods of Rome. What makes this monument so spectacular was its marvelous elegant design and precise architectural proportions despite the absence of modern day technology. Beams of light entering the top of the dome would reflect throughout the Pantheon, its strategic placing of windows still amazes experts to this day. 

Milan Cathedral




Milan Cathedral is the third largest worldwide. It took a good long six hundred years to complete the infrastructure. The result? It’s one of the most spectacular and majestic buildings in Northern Italy. It’s associated to the Magisterium of the Bishops based on gothic architecture. The sight of the building will leave you breathless in awe. Those six centuries of patiently building and meticulously planning the cathedral really paid off.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa




What does not destroy you, strengthens you, or in this case, makes you famous. The Leaning Tower of Pisa became a world sensation for its very obvious flaw. Construction began in the 1100s and started to lean towards ground due to weak foundations. Experts predicted that the tower will completely topple over by the year 2000 but Mother Nature decided not to. Every year, thousands of visitors climbed its steps to get the very scenic view of the whole city. 

Pompeii




During the ancient Roman times, Pompeii was a booming city and an important port in the Mediterranean free trades. But the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius stopped the city on its track from becoming one of the most influential port cities in the world. Under the shadows of the volcano, stand the ruins of the once great city. Today, Pompeii is a modern-day tourist attraction in Italy, where visitors can have a glimpse of the ancient civilization. The ruins of Pompeii are now a UNESCO world heritage site. Visitors can explore the desolate remains of baths, temples, and other artifacts of the city. 

The Vatican




After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Pope gradually took over Rome. It was built in memory of the first Pope, St. Peter, it was now a very important destination for Christians all over the world. The Vatican is the center of the Catholic Church, Head of the Roman Catholic Church and serves as a home to the Pope. It houses some of the world’s priceless pieces of art which makes it even more significant. The dome was painted by none other Michelangelo himself that alone is worth a visit to the Vatican. Not to mention, the flamboyant Swiss guards that manage to control the visitors in the vicinity. The St Peter’s Basilica attracts millions of devotees and visitors alike all year round.



Monday, June 11, 2018

Amazing Places in Ireland

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The name “Emerald Isle” really suits Ireland because of its vast mountains filled with abundant evergreen. Hailed by many as the most beautiful place on earth, travelers are often left in awe with its lush forest, picturesque cliffs, and dramatic beaches with crystal clear waters. Ireland houses some of the most magnificent castles and small adorable towns on earth. Here are some of the amazing places in Ireland worth visiting. 

Ring of Kerry 




Most people would start their Irish adventure in the Ring of Kerry, hence its popularity. It’s the most scenic of all Irish trails that really worth exploring. This 120-mile route traverses the southwestern part of Ireland with spectacular views of lush meadows, glacial lakes, medieval castles, waterfalls, and vertigo-inducing coastal scenery topped with turquoise beaches. Called the Ring of Kerry because the trail starts and ends in Killarney, a very popular and historic inland town located at the oldest protected wilderness in Ireland – the Killarney National Park. Almost all tourists look out for the country’s only herd of wild red deer and take their most memorable photo-op in a 15th-century castle. 

Slieve League Cliffs 




The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most iconic places in Ireland; Slieve League is the home of the highest sea cliffs in the region. Located at the northwest coast in Donegal, it’s about a good 2,000 feet drop from the very top to the Atlantic Ocean below. Many falls in love with the views where many could see picturesque Donegal Bay and the Ben Bulben Mountains in Leitrim overshadowed by the clear blue sea and the mindless songs of seabirds. 

Dingle Peninsula 




Some say one can find the most beautiful treasure in the farthest corner of the earth. Nothing in the world can perfectly describe such phenomena than the Dingle Peninsula. Situated in Europe’s westernmost point, it’s a place where the ocean dominates the surrounding cliffs. The Dingle Peninsula has many magnificent ring forts and other ancient ruins. It’s a great contrast in the Ring of Kerry but offers the great same post worthy scenery of bright blue waters that surrounded by emerald green hills and golden sandy beaches. Mountain ranges adorned the mystic skyline where the Slieve Mish range to Mount Brandon, Ireland’s second highest peak can be seen. 

Valentia Island, County Kerry




The Valentia Island is another great destination not far from the Ring of Kerry. For travelers who really want to explore the island, this place offers rewarding side trip. The island is located not from the Iveragh Peninsula and to the mainland by the Portmagee Bridge and features great natural beauty. Although its cliffs remain barren at most times, many marvels at its magnificent views of the coastline and a wide range of flowers and vegetation.

Beara Peninsula 




Known as the Garden of Eden of Ireland, Beara Peninsula has the perfect subtropical climate that houses many species of plants, natural gardens, and basking seals in most of its secluded sandy beaches. Resting between Kenmare Bay to the north and Bantry Bay to the south, it’s almost magical to see the area’s picturesque and country back charm. It’s considered as a great off the beaten destination with great seaside views and colorful towns. 

Killarney National Park 




Of all places in Ireland, travelers spent most of the time exploring the Killarney National Park. People go here to witness the most magnificent waterfalls in the country, the Torc Waterfall. This towering 60 feet waterfall plunge down via a river called the Devil’s Punch Bowl. The 41-square mile protected park is home to Ireland’s native red deer which been lived in the country since the last ice age. The native red deer take refuge in McGillycuddy’s Reeks, the tallest mountain range in Ireland. Great scenic lakes scattered all around the park which travelers seek out for. Another great attraction in the park is the old Irish Chieftain stronghold which dates back to the Middle Ages - Ross Castle. Constructed in the 15th century, this castle rests on the shores of Killarney’s lower lake.

Glendalough, County Wicklow


For travelers who love to see the beautiful structures of the past, Glendalough is the perfect place to start exploring these ruins. Known as the “City of Seven Churches”, this city has 6th-century monastic structural buildings. Set within the “Valley of Two Lakes” at the very heart of Wicklow Mountains, the glacial valley is renowned for hiking and walking trails. The most popular destination in the area is the 30-km Pilgrim Path through very scenic Wicklow hills known as St. Kevin’s Way. Medieval churches, stone crosses, and a cathedral highlight the green horizon. 

Boyne Valley 


Just a few hours away from Ireland’s city center, Boyne Valley has the most beautiful green landscapes which were often disturbed by the monastic ruins and passage tombs. It's home to Trim Castle in which popularized by the famous Hollywood film “Braveheart”. One can find the most preserved passage of grain in all of Western Europe called Newgrange. It the oldest renowned pre-historic place which surpassed Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza dating back as far as 3000 BC. Another great place to see in Boyne Valley is the Hill of Tara, the former house of the High Kings of Ireland.

Connemara 


Connemara has everything that true blood nature lover is looking for, many hailed as the place as the most unspoiled destination in continental Europe. It stretches from the west coast of the country, teeming with colorful wilderness. Connemara has one of the diverse scenery in Ireland from murky bogs, picturesque lakes to golden beaches and mystic mountain views. Incredible scenic views include the Twelve Bens Mountain Range, Connemara National Park, and the adorable towns of Clifden and Clifden Castle.