Thursday, May 31, 2018

Aquatic Ecosystems: Diving Into the Future of Marine Preservation

Winning Scholarship Article for 2018

Thank you to all our applicants who applied. Since we value confidentiality we respecting the request of the winner and not revealing his or her name. Best of luck in the Fall.

-Carved Lake Art Team.

Somewhere deep within our consciousness, we know that we have the duty to protect our environment. Some of us may not know what “aquatic ecosystems” are, but we know that we have to preserve it. It’s just our nature as human beings.

But we don’t have to stay in the dark: we can always seek out new information about the world around us. Staying informed can help us fulfill our role as protectors of nature. We can create a better world for the future generation—not just for humans, but for all species!

Here, we’re not going to get too technical and attempt to be as scientific as possible. We just need a basic understanding of the current state of freshwater and marine life, so that we can understand its implications on the future of aquatic ecosystems. Let’s get started.

A Look at Aquatic Ecosystems

The internet defines an aquatic ecosystem as simply a “body of water” wherein “communities of organisms that are dependent on each other” live and thrive. There are two main types of aquatic ecosystems: marine and freshwater.

In a nutshell, we can say that marine ecosystems cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, containing approximately 97 percent of the planet’s water. On the other hand, freshwater ecosystems cover 0.78 percent of the Earth’s surface and inhabit 0.009 percent of its total water. Freshwater ecosystems contain 41 percent of the world’s known fish species.

These are some of the facts you can learn by just browsing the internet and doing your research about aquatic ecosystems. And if you simply look around or watch television, you’ll know that these bodies of water face numerous challenges because of various factors such as climate change, pollution, and even exploitation of marine resources.

Now that we know the basics of our topic, we can talk about the current state of our aquatic ecosystems.

The State of Marine Life: A Silver Lining

Let’s start off with a little message of hope. Marine ecosystems are seemingly “preparing for climate change”. Coral reefs and kelp forests have been found to be more resilient than we think. This is wonderful news, considering all the terrible things that damage our environment on a daily basis.

While climate change may still be ravaging our marine ecosystems, studies show that there are certain examples of sea life that are withstanding its effects. Perhaps we should give these ecosystems more credit for their resilience. According to a survey from a report published in the journal BioScience, 80 percent of the researchers polled have witnessed instances of resilience within ecosystems that are experiencing climatic disturbances.

We can use this knowledge to identify the factors that contribute to this resilience. Hopefully, we can use this data in the future to promote more resilient and diverse ecosystems.

Do keep in mind that this does not render climatic change unimportant. This positive tone should not be misinterpreted—we should still take global warming very seriously. We can only take this for what it is: a ray of hope; a silver lining.

The State of Marine Life: Current Challenges

Aquatic ecosystems still face a lot of challenges, many of which are man made. Because of climate change, heat waves are more common, for example. And if heat waves are deadly for us, it is even more dangerous for marine life.

Heat waves are unusually warm periods that can also occur in the ocean, lasting for weeks or months. It can kill off kelp forests and corals. Climate change is warming ocean waters. Extra exposure can have negative effects on the health of an ecosystem.

Water pollution is another problem that needs to be addressed. It comes as a result of natural and unnatural compounds being added to a body of water. Many animals and plants are susceptible to the effects of water pollution.

Amphibian populations, for instance, are particularly sensitive to pollution because they absorb chemicals in the water through their skins.

Younger animals have a greater sensitivity to these chemical compounds because they have yet to mature physically.

The Future of Marine Preservation: What Could Be Done?

Global warming and illegal human activities (such as dynamite fishing) contribute to the destruction of aquatic ecosystems. But because humans are responsible for this damage, we must also step up and fix it. Efforts are being made to preserve marine and freshwater ecosystems—not only to protect it, but improve its condition.

Long term observations involving water transparency can help provide even more information regarding the extent of damage and what can be done.

Beyond seeking out more information, there are measures being observed in order to actively participate in the rehabilitation of aquatic ecosystems. Marine protected areas are being enforced in order to restrict invasive human activities, or at least limit them.

Sport fishing vessels are being busted for illegal fishing within protected areas.

Creating these marine protected areas is extremely helpful, but it is not enough without enforcement. People must be educated so that they can do their part in preserving these ecosystems, or at least avoid causing further damage.

This is another ray of hope for our beloved environment. Efforts are always being made in the name of protecting marine and freshwater ecosystems—but there’s still a long way to go. As regular individuals, we can’t go out there and enforce marine protected areas by ourselves, but we can still do our part by preventing pollution and encouraging others to do the same.

We can take part in local cleanups if we want to take part in restoring these beautiful aquatic ecosystems. There’s no reason to feel completely helpless. We all live in this world, and we must do our part to protect it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Best Cities in Ireland


There’s really no denying that Ireland has the most alluring and magical charm on the planet. Often described as breathtaking, exceptional, and enchanting even for a relatively small country like Ireland. Its beautiful cities far exceed the expectations of most travelers. Ireland boasts of beautiful landscapes that are amazing and almost out of this world spectacles. With friendly people, great transport systems, and guided tours, the Emerald Isle is fast becoming the top destination for the adrenaline junkies and nature lover. 

Lismore, County Waterford

Lismore is known to have the great historical value of all cities in Ireland, it’s a town located in Waterford County. Tourists can’t help themselves but have long leisure walks within the city to see the famous Lismore Castle and St. Carthage’s Cathedral. The city has a great friendly atmosphere to experience Irish culture as its borders teeming with deep stories from the past. Try to learn a new trick at making crafts at their Heritage Center or scout the perfect souvenir at Lismore Farmers Market. For a bit of nature, the Blackwater River offers good fishing spots and some fun recreational water activities. 

Blackrock, County Louth

There are many travel guides and advice out there, but they all come down to a point – “go where the locals go”, and Blackrock is the perfect epitome of that advice. It’s one of the local’s favorite idyllic small towns with the best Irish beach experience. It’s a rarity to find an almost sunny weather all year round in Ireland, but Blackrock is blessed to have one. Spend the whole day basking in the sun while enjoying a refreshing dip in its waters. Families with smaller children would love to lounge around the promenade with kids having a blast building sand castles and eating delicious ice cream. Don’t let the opportunity pass without having a lovely cup of their traditional Irish tea or a quick visit to one of the village pubs for the world famous pint of Guinness. To cap the day, let your feet wander in its streets that are adorned with iconic Irish storefronts.

Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim

Not far from Dublin, is a beautiful destination famous for its serene rivers and waterways. Another popular local destination, Carrick-on-Shannon has the most beautiful inland scenery that’s been transformed into one of the most progressive commercial centers and home to the country’s major businesses and corporations. With all the amenities of modern day living while having the best of nature at arm’s length, it’s fast becoming a worldwide tourist’s attraction. The city boasts of many guided tours cruising its waterways and many recreational activities for everyone. Either for families with smaller children in tow, or young couples looking for romantic getaway, the city has it all. Carrick-on-Shannon's storefronts and busy marinas make it as one of the most photograph streets in Ireland. 

Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

Many people consider Ireland as the land full of legends and fairy-tale like castles. There’s no denying that its true, especially in Kilkenny. The city is full of historical buildings and home to some of the most memorable buildings in Europe. Tourists will go on their way and visit Kilkenny just to see Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral, and the Black Abbey. Dubbed as the “Marble City”, it has the unique “Medieval Mile” which has many attractions and fantastic sites to visit. Tourists will truly feel the fairy-tale like the ambiance in the city because of its ancient architecture and stories of legendary people. Kilkenny is becoming a bustling center for music and arts with great exhibits from the National Craft Gallery. For tourists who can’t or doesn’t have enough time to walk in its “Medieval Mile”, a quick trip at the Rothe House can fill their heart’s desire for nature. 


Galway is another great tourist’s destination in Ireland that has an interesting history and rich cultural heritage like the Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arc, and the Hall of the Red Earl. But what set Galway apart from other Irish cities is the unique bohemian charm and inhabitant’s love for arts and crafts. The city’s artistic flair keeps the local scene alive and interesting. Many storefronts within the city serve as a great canvas for its unique taste of art, making the ambiance lively and upbeat. People are never bored because of great street performance everywhere, some tourist takes this opportunity to really immerse into the Irish culture. 

Killarney, County Kerry

Killarney tops every best Irish destination there is – filled with deep history and the awesomeness of Mother Nature, the city has it all. The place has been attracting tourists and locals alike since the mid-18th century and there’s no sign of stopping anytime soon. Some of the best attractions include the Muckross House and Abbey, Ross Castle, and St. Mary’s Cathedral. Many left in awe as they traverse one the most beautiful scenery in the world – the Ring of Kerry. Tourists can also visit the Killarney National Park which many considered a crown jewel of all parks.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Fun Water Activities in Ireland


The country of Ireland has more than 5,600 km of awe-inspiring coastlines and pristine waters. With temperate weather conditions, lots of lakes, rivers, and waterways, Ireland is one of the perfect conditions for water activities and extreme water sports. Many ventures up North to experience many sporting activities all year round. Tourists love how they can have adrenaline pumping activities in a breathtaking view of lush greeneries. Ireland boasts of every water sport there is on the planet, so sail away and get those adrenaline rush. 

Canoeing, kayaking, and rowing

Starting with the basic water activity, canoeing is a rare thing in sports, but many find it very relaxing and the best way to enjoy serenity with nature. Kayaking is very much doable in Ireland regardless of weather and different seasons. Tourists can choose from a wide variety of canoeing from sea kayaking, leisurely canoe tours, whitewater racing, canoe trails to rowing challenges events all year round. If you need a bit of adventure and need to challenge your limit, you might want to try to traverse the first dedicated canoe train on Lough Erne Canoe Trail. This 50-km trail links Upper Lough Erne to Lower Lough Erne through the Shannon Waterway. Enjoy the very scenic trail and you might spot some mysterious ruins along the way.


Welcome to the country with a long history of sailing. As an island, Ireland has been one of the main countries who just love the sea and set sail to the seven seas. But budding seafarers don’t need to worry; Ireland is pretty much well equipped for all kinds of sailors – and it’s the best place to learn a few tricks of the trade. The country has a number of ISA and RYA approved sailing schools for beginners to advanced levels. They also have expert sailing companies organizing skippered, bareboat, crewed and charter boats. Needless to say, the possibilities of sailing are overflowing in Ireland. As they say, imagination is the only thing that limits your sailing adventure. Ireland has a lot of well-equipped marinas, for those tourists bringing in their own boats to the island. The best time to sail its waters is during one of their many prestigious national, European and world-class sailing championships. 


Ireland coastlines make a great variation of breaks perfect for offshore surfing no matter where the wind direction is. Huge waves build up as they travel across the Atlantic Ocean before crashing in its shoreline producing perfect waves ideal for surfing. Although you can surf throughout the year, the perfect time to surf the Irish waters are during spring and summer with temperature averaging around 16°C in months of August to September. But if you feel that the water is calling you, then go ahead and surf even as the temperature dips around 8°C during the coldest months of the year from January to February. Some surfers suggest donning a 5mm wetsuit, boots, and gloves from October to April. While the rest of the months call for a 3mm wetsuit. Beginner surfers don’t need to shy away from this water activity as there are professional coaches offering classes available at surf clubs almost everywhere in Ireland. 

Sub-aqua diving

With a beautiful coastline stretching about 5,600 km, Ireland has one of the most diverse underwater eco-system in the world. Sub-aqua diving runs starting from March until October. Many tourists who tried this water activity love to see the unusual cornucopia of sub-aqua flora and fauna. But the highlights of the tour are seeing the hundreds of sunken shipwreck untouched for centuries in their silent abode. 

Wakeboarding and waterskiing

Extreme sports in Ireland are becoming more popular over the past few years. Thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies want to have the most powerful boats they can put their hands on. Riding these high-powered boats they show off their aerial maneuvers, spins, inverts and grabs on almost every corner of the Irish shorelines. Most beach resorts or facilities are well equipped so thrill seekers just need to bring their own towels and swimsuit. 


Hailed as one of the best windsurfing locations on earth, Ireland has beautiful lush greeneries views with an addition of historic castles. The top rated places to windsurf in Irish skies include Clew Bay in Mayo, Brandon Bay in Kerry, and Port Stewart in Londonderry. Most facilities have an all-inclusive package, so let the wind take you high on Irish skies. 

Don’t forget safety

Even if the Irish waters call you, and the temptation of fun adrenaline pumping activities keep you on your toes, don’t ever forget about safety. Pack all necessary safety equipment and first aid kit with you whenever and wherever. Always let someone knows where you are going and make sure you have an extra battery pack or power bank at hand in case of emergency.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Places to Visit in Cuba

Cuba is one great country which can be visited any time of the year, but the best time to go to the country is between November and March. It’s a perfect time where the weather is not too hot and it rains less. During this time it’s possible to roam Cuba’s historic streets and enjoy all things that the country offers. 

It is considered as a safe country to travel for families with children, young couples and even for single travelers. Criminality rates are low saving for some occasional petty thieves’ incident, just like in any other place on earth. And when in Cuba, there are certain places that you can’t miss to visit, here are some of them:

La Havana

Located in the Artemisa and Mayabeque province, Havana is mostly where the direct flights land. It’s the perfect place to start you Cuban escapade. There are so many interesting places to visit in the area as well as things to do. One can easily spend two weeks of wandering around the city. One can hop on a guided tour while cruising on very chic and classic cars that you cannot find elsewhere. Here, vintage cars are not seen in the museum, they are the kings of the roads. Starting your trip in Havana can easily cure your jet lag and get acquainted with the local culture. Here you can see the recently restored Capitol building, and apartment buildings either being restored or falling apart. These scenic views are what makes Cuba unique from other usual destination; it adds charm to their city. 

Santiago de Cuba

For the second leg of your journey, you can visit Santiago de Cuba. As the second largest city in Cuba, it displays the true Caribbean atmosphere. Getting there won’t be a problem there are regular flights of Cubana de Aviacion from La Havana. If you have time to spend, then getting on a 16-hour bus ride can also get you to Santiago de Cuba. It’s easy to book a ride and also you can see some amazing scenic view from going there. Bus stops are usually filled with interesting people; think of a long field trip filled with new discovery. 

Santiago de Cuba is an interesting capital filled with literature, architecture, music, and politics. However, the city is known for its many tricks that turn away visitors. There are many things to do while in the city – the Calle Eredia and Casa de la Trova is known for its traditional music. But a visit to the Parque Céspedes is definitely worth the trip to see the many historic buildings and museums. 


Not far from Santiago de Cuba about 5 hours bus ride from the city rests Baracoa. It only takes a matter of minutes to reserve tickets going into the city. Baracoa is not your usual Cuban destination, it’s considered as an off the beaten road for most tourists. If you want to get out from the tourist trap, you’ll find Baracoa as a perfect escape from it all. It’s a hidden gem in the Guantanamo Province at the South Western part of the island.

The area is fairly small and it will only take a couple of hours to tour the entire city. Murals of Che Guevarra and other famous revolutionary heroes will greet you upon arrival and Cuba is known for this kind of street art. La Farola or the lighthouse road is a famous road connecting Baracoa to the rest of Cuba. Built in 1964, the view while crossing the hills onboard the bus always amazes visitors. Most tourists board cayuca all the way across to Rio Toa, a quick dip in its clear waters is a great way to cool off from the hot Cuban weather. 


Trinidad is perhaps the most visited in Cuba. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s a very preserved colonial city where most tourists are treated with 19th-century sights. Located in the province of Sancti Spiritus, the city is teeming with Cuba tourisms sights and filled with tourists trying to capture the Cuban charm. Since the city is a protected site, cars are not allowed into the city center. Little kids will love to ride its many horse carriages to tour around the city. There are many artesian shops and galleries, so you’ll never run out of ideas where to go. Walk in its cobbled streets to see many well preserved colonial buildings and balconies covered with assortments of colorful flowers. Trinidad really comes alive because of music that is played and people dancing their famous salsa in every corner.


Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Cienfuegos is another city to tour which is near Trinidad. Founded in 1819, towering above the cliffs and overlooking the sea, one can admire its beauty from El Malecon or from Punta Gorda. There are well maintained botanical gardens, perfect for a leisure walk or eating lunch al fresco style. The place has its own laid-back country charm which attracts most tourists to get away from the usually crowded destination in Cuba. Many would come here as the Cienfuegos to visit other great places in Cuba. 

From Cienfuegos, it’s a quick ride going to Bahia de Cochinos or famously known as the Bay of Pigs. The Bay of Pigs is known for its pristine waters and amazing coral reefs. It’s a popular destination for snorkeling and diving, because of its rich marine ecosystem. Above all places, the natural pools of El Nicho rank as number one tourist destination in the region. It’s a spectacular series of waterfalls on the Rio Hanabanilla. Going there is a destination for itself, with great evergreen hiking trails where you can jump in and land in one of the many pools of El Nicho.

There’s no denying that Cuba has a lot to offer with its very controversial political history, its amazing scenic views and to its less-travelled hidden gems. Cuba has it all for everyone who wants to visit its very unique country. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Great castles across Wales that you should visit


The country of Wales boasts of many castles for its architectural beauty but mostly for its historical significance ever since time immemorial. From the ancient Civil War to Tudor and the rise of the Victorian era, the architectural design of these fortresses always stirs the soul longing for fairytale-like stories of heroes and kings. Many claimed that Britain’s best castles can be found within its borders welcoming visitors with a magnificent view of these tall and majestic guardians of the lands.

Here are the greatest of all castles in Wales that you need to visit before leaving this enchanted country. Learn about Welsh nation’s deep and rich history through the fortresses that defended it for centuries.

Chirk Castle

Enjoy a leisure stroll inside its castle grounds with beautiful garden, pavilion, terrace, and parkland near the Wrexham’s gem. Walk through its elegant staterooms for its elaborate interior and architectural designs of its dungeon, medieval tower, complete with an 18th century Servant’s Hall.

Dinefwr Park and Castle

Built in the 12th century, the Dinefwr Park and Castle is a Natural Trust-run which boasts of very scenic views of Wales laid-back country style ambiance. Guided tours will take you to a beautiful nature reserve, ponds, cottages, and of course a tea room. If you are lucky, you may spot several uninvited but majestic guests that will graze its 18th-century landscape park.

Caldicot Castle

Caldicot Castle has an incredible view that literally worth a thousand words and always posts worthy of every single social media platform. This medieval castle has a long history tracing back from Norman beginnings, witnessing the many wars of Middle Ages, as well as the rise and fall of the Victorian era. Standing on fifty-five acres of country park, tourists are welcomed into their interactive re-enactments shows and a very delightful tearoom.

Raglan Castle

It’s amazing to see the building of old still standing today, it feels like touching a piece of memory stone from a forgotten time. You’ll be wishing if only the walls of Raglan Castle speaks, then it could tell a long story of how it once denied passage to Oliver Cromwell at the end of the Civil War. Surrounded by lush greeneries, this romantic ruin makes a perfect place to reminisce such history of untold stories.

Conwy Castle


Sitting on top of a rock overlooking the very beautiful Snowdonia county, Conwy Castle will let every visitors feel they are inside of a fairytale book. Some claimed that this castle is the finest and grandest castle that Edward I ever built. The Conwy Castle has the most mesmerizing views from the battlements and its famed walled town within its grounds. Visitors can tour its great halls, private chapels, and royal chambers while getting around its winding medieval pathways.
Its eight towers pile beside each other, making it look like a faceless guardian perched on the mountaintop. Even Thomas Telford can’t help but marvel at this castle that he even builds a suspension bridge to match the ambiance.

Caerphilly Castle

Built during the 13th century, Caerphilly Castle is the largest castle in Wales and the second largest in all of Britain. The English built this majestic castle locked on its water defenses that feature four siege engines and different arrays of delightful grounds that still has its very majestic ambiance. The castle is so amazing that the BBC TV’s adaptation of Merlin was filmed here. Covering about 30 acres of moats, ramparts, and islands, even Cromwell couldn’t destroy its pillars.

Powis Castle and Garden

Powis Castle has its share of deep history in Wales but its gardens almost surpassed its significance. The castle is famous for its French and Italian style gardens adorned with many varieties of plants and an orangery. Its garden boasts of a very artistic medieval deer park. It’s a perfect place to rest tired feet from all of those roaming inside its medieval galleries and lots of staircases.

Caernarvon Castle

Seven centuries after its completion, Caernarvon Castle remains as one of the most formidable fortresses in the entire European continent. Edward I sure was proud of his undertaking when he built this 13th-century castle on a former Roman fort. Because of its historical significance and its architectural beauty, it is listed as a World Heritage Site. Exhibitions rooms are the best which features different landmarks from all era of the history. Despite the fact it was built more than 700 years ago, the castle is still largely intact and its polygonal towers give it a more contemporary look. Kids love to roam its many rooms and enjoying a fun run at its spiral staircases.

Epic adventures

Wales has mostly overlooked family destination but it’s a land of majestic mountains, lush greeneries, medieval castles, great blue sky, and awe-inspiring coastlines that are perfect for family vacations. With a very accessible road and trainways from London and pretty much everywhere else in Britain, Wales is a quick destination waiting to be discovered.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Best Family Activities in Ireland

Ireland dubbed as the “Emerald Isle” has a very intriguing and rich culture on the planet. Not to mention the most scenic places you ever saw on the planet. Traveling in their country will surely delight your spirits as well as renew your invigoration. One cannot simply leave Ireland without marveling at their laid-back attitude, fascinating history, and very romantic landscapes, just like in the fairy tales. 

But there’s something about Ireland than meet the eye, they are very well versed in literature as well as in education. The country is known as the “land of saints and scholars”, where UNESCO hailed Dublin as the City if Literature in 2010. Ireland had more Nobel Prize winners for literature than in any other country which is just the tip of the iceberg on how they take care of their young bright minds. 

There are many ways to explore Ireland, as much as another place on the planet. From the free entrance of their state museums, heritage sites, and other fun outdoor activities, one can only assume how delightful it can be to just be in the flow of everything and get lost in its many wonders. But the word ‘lost’ in travelers was never fun, and because of its diversity, list of places to visit is always a good idea. Here are some of the best places to visit Ireland. 

Grafton Street, Dublin

Just after landing in Ireland, you might want to see its lively shopping center and get to know more of the local scene. Grafton Street is teeming with performance artists, restaurants, and cafes to just get you into the vibe of Ireland’s community. There are numerous corners where you could just simply observe how locals go by in their daily routine. Grab a coffee at the café culture has taken over the city or have a very good traditional Irish breakfast at Bewley’s Oriental Cage. Walk through its many alleyways and street to see the many different facets of the Irish culture. 

The Book of Kells and Trinity College, Dublin

One of the best things to do in the land of literature is paying a visit to their oldest university, Trinity College in Dublin. It houses one of the ancient treasures in Ireland, the Book of Kells. Queen Elizabeth, I founded the university in 1592 and still remain a beautiful wonder worthy of a visit. Stepping inside the university may feel like a step back in time; its cobblestones and grounds are very much well kept. It’s a magical place wherein its majestic Long Room was in the inspiration of J.K. Rowling in depicting the library of the first Harry Potter movie. Many locals would simply retreat to the university grounds to their lunch and enjoy a simple pleasure with nature. 

The Cliffs of Moher

About an hour drive from Galway, the cliff of Moher receives an estimated one million tourists each year from around the world. The stretch of 8 kilometers of mountain trails which stands about 214 meters high along the Atlantic is majestic beyond words. One can only feel Mother Nature’s beauty and power in these cliffs. There are many who tried to describe this vertigo-inducing view but they simply understate the place. This makes the cliffs even more popular to tourists to see for themselves the majestic beauty of nature that some cannot fathom. 

Killarney National Park and Muckross House and Gardens

The Kerry region is perhaps the most visited area in Ireland because of its scenic route tours are known as the Ring of Kerry. But if you feel like going on a guided tour, then visiting this 19th century Muckross House and Gardens is definitely a must. Located in the very scenic Killarney National Park and close to the shores of Muckross Lake, one of three Lakes of Killarney is a spectacular view to see. Even royals like Queen Victoria fell in love with this beautiful view. During those times, a royal visit would mean meticulous re-landscaping and extensive renovations. Even with those bygone days, the gardens still had its charms to still capture its hundreds of visitors.

There are traditional farms nearby, and Killarney’s famous horse and traps are known as Jaunting Cars to take tourists around the place. Travelers would visit the Killarney National Park & Lakes region that is magnificent to see. Any routes going to the region will take you to different views of the lakes and mountains. The Gap of Dunloe, a narrow and bumpy mountain pass that stretches for about 11-kilometer was a proof of how powerful glaciers carved the stone into this marvelous view. But riding a bike remains as the best way to explore the region; each stopped over offers the best way to see the park. 

The Ring of Kerry

The most popular scenic route to explore Ireland is through the Ring of Kerry in Iveragh Peninsula. Some say that the entire non-stop journey will take about three hours, but most tourists would recommend allotting more time to fully enjoy the view. You can start with either Kenmare or Killarney and naturally ending on the same spot where you started. The whole journey will take you to the amazing Atlantic Ocean views with different islands to explore, mountains to behold, and many interesting villages along the way. None would enjoy more than history buffs, Iron Age forts, Ogham stones and ancient monasteries to explore. The area is also filled with everlasting outdoor activities like cycling, horse-riding, hiking, great freshwater fishing, and picturesque beaches.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Best things to do when in Nassau


There are a lot of tourist spots in Nassau, from the iconic stairs to the usual destinations. But the island is not limited on what was on the lists; there are a lot more places waiting to be discovered. You could just spend the entire day touring the historical Fort Montagu or have a taste of the best chocolatier in Nassau. But otherwise, you can do these things to fully discover Nassau on your own.

Get to know locals at the Fish Fry

Arawak Cay is one of the few places in Nassau where you’ll find more locals as many as the tourists. Located on West Bay Street, this place is teeming with authentic Bahamian restaurants. Locals call the place “Fish Fry”, after the most common seafood meals served here but others say for other hidden meaning of the word. Either way, it’s the best way to get to know the locals and most probably have a go in the famous Twin Brothers and Goldie’s and taste their bestselling cracked conch. 

Discover the many animals of Atlantis

Little kids would love to see the animals up close without getting into tiring boat rides. Bring them to Atlantis Paradise Island for a tour that they would remember for the rest of their childhood. This place houses more than 250 marine species, 14 lagoons and more than 8 million gallons of ocean water. You can get interactive with sea lions, stingrays, and other marine animals. Kids would love to have a go on a waterslide going through a shark habitat. 

Swim with the native pigs

One of the unique things to do in Nassau is to go swimming alongside several native pigs. Don’t be fooled when we say pigs, these are far from the usual pigs you see on the farm. These are native pigs living freely on the island which are famous on their own. It’s epic to have your picture taken in one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with pigs as your lifeguards. 

Get up close with Stingray City

Most people got really scared when they see stingrays. Not everyone knows that stingrays have different species, barbed tail stingrays, those we need to stay away from. But the stingrays of Stingray City Park in Nassau are the Southern Rays, which means these are gentle giants of the seas. Known for their playful antics, Southern Rays are very friendly indeed and you can get up close to know them better. This is possibly the safest photo-op you can get with these sea creatures.

Explore the mysterious caves at Lucayan National Park

Before heading out to Lucayan National Park, be sure to secure a permit first. One of the biggest underwater cave systems in the world is a protected area in Nassau. If diving in the dark is not your thing, just walking along its trail is worth it enough to get that permit. You won’t get disappointed though, the park is home to the most secluded beaches in Nassau if not the most beautiful Gold Rock Beach. Its pristine white sand hailed as 5-star rating among beachgoers around the world, and these folks had seen mostly most of the beautiful beaches on the planet.

Take the kids to Blue Lagoon Island

As Nassau is a gateway to many more exciting places, Blue Lagoon Island is one of them. This private island sits just a few miles from the central business district, its home sea lions, and dolphins. Many marine animals take sanctuary in these parts and were made of an eco-theme park. Kids would really love to see dolphins swimming not far from the beach. Let them see these marine animals natural habitat and appreciate nature at its finest. Spend the entire day relaxing in its powdery sand and basking under the sun. Although it’s a popular beach, you may find it less crowded than others.

Follow James Bond– underwater that is 

Everyone loves James Bond movies, its one film that had been around since the golden ages of Hollywood. One time or another you’ve seen Bond movies like Never Say Never Again. If you had, then you can easily recognize some of the beaches where the movie was shot. Another good thing to remember when visiting Nassau is you can dive underwater to see the freighter used to transport nuclear weapons in Never Say Never Again film. Or you might want to take the footsteps of Sean Connery when he escaped a tiger shark on a bomber in Thunderball – sans the shark of course. 

Get to know the history of the Bahamas at Clifton Heritage National Park

Learn the early inhabitant of Bahamas and how they helped shaped its modern day community at Clifton Heritage National Park. The park has a wide collection of history and other educational exhibits at the far west end of New Providence. The scenery at this park is the most beautiful so far, with white sand beaches, rock formations, and sand dunes. There are replica buildings from the Lucayan people and remnants of the old plantation during the Bahamian slave trade that is all fascinating to see.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Best Family Activities in Antigua


Antigua ranks as the best island for a family holiday in the Caribbean region. It has the shortest direct flight going into the region which parents would appreciate. There are no waiting line, no connecting flight to catch, and best of all, no long hours waiting at the airport. You and your kids will be hitting the beach water in no time.

To get the most out of your family vacation, take time to explore the island as much as you can. You’ll find numerous ways to spend quality time with your kids, as Antigua offers a lot of family-friendly tours and activities for all. From the breathtaking Rainforest Zipline tour to the unique café suspended in midair, and Jeep safari tours to take you into the most secluded parts of the island, you’ll find Antigua a very interesting place. 

It may surprise you that their culinary expertise is that of world-class prestige. They even have guided tours to take you in their exotic tropical fruits tour that will let you taste their sweet mangoes, bananas, and pineapple. Top tourist destinations in Antigua include Devil’s Bridge, Hell’s Gate, and Pillars of Hercules. Here are some of the best places to visit in Antigua.

Devil's Bridge

This tourist destination is for the brave hearts and adventurous spirit. One look at this place will treat your eyes looking at the intense power of Mother Nature. It’s truly breathtaking scenery – every bit of it. Witness as the Atlantic Ocean powerful currents wore away the limestone in each rolling waves. As great as the view looks, there’s a bit of dark history behind it. Devil’s bridge earned its name because a lot of sugar plantation slaves often threw themselves off the bridge into the deadly waters below. The place is known for its uneven rocky terrain, even for expert hikers, it’s a bit of challenge crossing the bridge. You can, however, watch from a distance and enjoy shopping from vendors selling different assortments of souvenirs.

Betty's Hope

Back in the mid-1600s, Betty’s Hope was a former sugar plantation under the British Colonial rule. Today, you can see remnants of two windmills; one was just restored a couple of years back while the other windmill is still waiting to be restored as well. If traveling near the vicinity, make sure to make a quick stopover at this place. There is plenty to learn from their sugar plantation history as well as other grim facts about slavery. There are several types of machinery on display that were used back in the days. The site isn’t manned so be sure to leave your entrance fee in their honesty box located at their small information center. 

Hell's Gate

Hell’s Gate is a rock formation within the Hell’s Gate National Park which is only accessible via boat. Many tourists are able to stop here as part of their Eco Tour. The place has calm waters perfect for day swimming and snorkeling. But for the adrenaline junkies, they walk through the cave and swim in the cave’s pool. It features a little tunnel where you can climb to the top and have this amazing view of the clear blue waters on the horizon. Nevertheless, there are plenty of photo opportunities that are all post worthy. 

Nelson's Dockyard

Back in the early days of civilization, a time when England and France race to rule the world, the famous British seaman named Horatio Nelson made Antigua his English Harbor. He stationed there to keep France from taking over this strategic location and the rest of English-ruled Caribbean region. Today, his keep was known as Nelson’s Dockyard and still a working seaport. There are a number of stone buildings, cafes, restaurants, and other high-end shops in its shorelines. 

The cobbled street will remind you a bit of its history, and there’s a museum which shows how the place looked like during the colonial era. 

Pillars of Hercules

Named after the famous mythological icon, Hercules, this rock formation is only visible by riding a boat. On its façade, it looks like Hercules standing at the front of Strait of Gibraltar while the limestone rocks stand at Charlotte Point. It’s dangerous to get near the pillars without an expert boater since rip tides occasionally formed near its shores. For years, Antiguans have been trying to put this amazing rock formation in the Seven Wonders of the World; hopefully, it will soon rein the list. 

Valley Church Bay

To top off your trip to this beautiful Caribbean region, you can swim in its most popular beach, Valley Church. Located on the south of Jolly Harbor, on the west coast, it rests on Lignum Vitae Bay. Grab the opportunity to swim in its pristine clear waters and sandy beach. You can just grab your things as snacks are widely available from local vendors, saves a lot of time in preparation. Many visitors recommend going to this beach.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Amazing Pizzeria in Italy


Every nation has their own notable food staples which are legendary on its own. Most people think that ‘Italian food’ is just about pizza, spaghetti, calzones, and gelato. But, it’s just a very tiny part of the much bigger picture. Italian cuisine is all about using the freshest ingredients and making bold flavors complement each other. It’s humble with recipes passed down from one generation to another. Its more than a delicious food served on a table, families also celebrate the history and loving memories of those created the dish. Italian means fresh, delicious, world-class food that is both humble and fulfilling. 

With that in mind, when someone mentioned Italy, one thing comes to mind – great pizza. Many nations had been topping the simple flatbreads for centuries. But Italians make it even more special in creating the term ‘pizza’ about 1000 AB near Naples or Rome. However, this 18th-century peasant delicacy was made front and center of Italian cuisine when it was first made for Queen Margherita in 1889. The Queen and her husband King Umberto toured Italy and wanted to taste the peasant dish. Her personal chef created a simple yet flavorful version to suit the Queen’s taste. The chef won her over in creating the dish with the colors of the Italian flag. They incorporated the colors red (tomatoes), green (basil), and white (mozzarella).Queen Margherita immediately fell in love with the new twist of the peasant dish and gave us the Margherita pizza we love today. 

Today, pizza becomes the front and center of many international cuisines, but none took it more seriously than the Italians. They even formed a governing body to protect the integrity and taste of their beloved pizza. The True Neapolitan Pizza Association (TNPA) was formed 1984 to uphold the authenticity of Neapolitan pizza. With that in mind, these pizzerias serve the best-tasting pizza you can eat in Italy.

Ai Marmi, Rome

This place is actually named Panattoni but its famous unofficial name goes as Ai Marmi (“marbles”) after its marble counters. They serve classic Roman-style pizza with its remarkably thin, charred, and crispy crusts with cheesy and saucy bread. You can immediately tell the place for its crowded line and cafeteria style seating. Make sure to try the salsiccia e for di Zucca topped with sausage and zucchini blossoms. But people line up for their classic Margherita take on the pizza.

Mamma Rosa, Ortezzano

Mamma Rosa rose to pizza stardom after Gambero Rosso nods its Neopolitan-style pizzas. It’s ultra-crispy crusts paired with perfectly stretchy dough and topped with fresh local ingredients. Everything on the menu is all insanely good, but there best sellers include the Margherita with red chilies and anchovies to contrast the flavors of tomatoes. Also, try their Lucifero, topped with hot salami and hot peppers. What set Mamma Rosa apart from the others are their Nutella pizza, that just right for a perfect Italian dessert – second to gelato of course.

L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Naples

If you are a book lover sort of person, then it would be good to know that the author Eat.Pray.Love, Elizabeth Gilbert had notable mention this pizzeria in Italy. Pizzeria da Michele had served the purest, simplest way of Neapolitan pizza since 1906. They only have two pizza the marinara and Margherita, but they are so heavenly above description. The pizzeria lived to the “The world’s best pizza” description, as they served the mile-long queue in front of their doorsteps. 

Antico Forno, Venice

Antico Forno served one of the most satisfying deep dish pizzas that chewy and thick but still captured it Roman-style origin. Unlike the usual pizzeria in Italy, they serve single slice wood-fired pizza and each one has a very flavorful tomato sauce topped with seasonal ingredients like olives, mushrooms, red cabbage and the ever-present buffalo mozzarella. Try their one of a kind calzones. 

Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo, Naples

One true certified pizza lover, and not by name, Gino Sorbillo is a third generation pizzaiolo who’s making waves in Italian cuisine. He inherited his grandfather’s Naples pizzeria that has been around for almost a century. To keep the family tradition alive, he did not just perfect making the best pizza, he continues to find ways making it taste even better and more accessible to people. He recently opened his second New York pizzeria with plans setting up another establishment in Milan. Although his pizzas are world class, it still has it a humble recipe for the soft-crust pizza topped with freshest local tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. 

Di Matteo, Naples

Another local favorite, Di Matteo serves one of the world’s best pizzas. It’s been in the pizzeria business since 1936, just one year shy of the Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo. With the almost a century of making pizza, rest assured this is one pizzeria you don’t want to miss while in Italy. They offer table service but also serve busy workers on the street. They can easily wrap up a fresh-out-of-the-oven pie in their signature white paper for just a few euros. Don’t forget to get their deep-fried pizza fritta, a mixture of ricotta, and provolone cheese.

Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente, Naples

Last but not the very least, the most iconic Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente which was named after Bill Clinton stopped to taste their pie back in 1994. It’s one of the most identifiable pizzerias in Italy with its chewy, stretchy crisp crust that is classically Neapolitan. They can make any pizza you want but you would not want to pass on their bestselling marinara and Margherita perfection pizza. 

As they say, when in Italy, do what Italians do, and you’ll never forget the memories of your travel especially if you just satisfied your pizza cravings.