Destinations

Patagonia: Wine-therapy in Argentinta

A decade ago, a group of adventurers discovered a corner to cultivate fertile grape-vine in Patagonia, San Patricio del Chanar, launching into quality wine production, Black: Merlot, Cabernet and Pinot. To convince yourself just go to Bodega del Fin del Mundo or Enoteca Valle Perdido. Besides tasting, visitors can stay in the 18 rooms available and can avail of the spa that specializes in treatments based on grapes.

Destinations

Algarve among top travel destinations for 2012

If you are a travel enthusiast, then you must be familiar with  Faro and Algarve. The southernmost region of Portugal is renowned for being one of the top travel destinations not just in Europe, but also on the planet. Known for its amazing coastline, wonderful beaches, limestone formations and exotic caves, the region is the third richest in all of Portugal and tourism is the driving force behind its thriving economy.

With economies across the world now starting to get back on track and people far more willing to once again spend cash on luxury vacations, the tourism industry is gaining momentum and the experts at New York Times believe that Algarve is among the best places to visit this year. The region has something for everyone thanks to its mild climate year round and booming luxury hotel industry that is only expanding by the day.

The city of Faro is the ‘seat of the Faro District’ and capital of the Algarve region and the place where your trip kick-starts. Around 7 million international tourists visit the region each year and the best way to get here is obviously flying to Faro. The region is very well connected and flights operate on a daily basis from various parts of Europe and even across the Atlantic.

The limestone caves around Lagos, unending fun on the many beaches and the delectable cuisine, along with this amazing connectivity and the safety of the region make it the tourist hotspot that it is. With a total of 10 million tourists each year and many expatriates from countries like the US, Germany, Britain and Holland coming to spend retirement years here, Algarve tourism industry can only experience an upswing in the years to come.

How about you tell us if the NYT was right or not? Pay Algarve a visit and let us know in the comments below!

Travel Deals

Top 5 Money saving tips to book a cheap holiday

The holiday season is not too far off and if you are seriously thinking about having a great trip that will be both memorable and affordable, this is the time to book your travel. Here are a few money-saving tips, which will help you plan your dream holiday on a budget.

Take advantage of the off season:
You don’t need to travel during the peak holiday seasons. Different parts of the globe have different time periods and seasons where tourist traffic is at its peak. Not only are flight charges higher during this time, but so are hotel rates and prices of other amenities. That is precisely why it is best to enjoy the off-season when there is no rush.

Do not book tickets too early or too late:
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is booking airline tickets way too early. You will not get any great discounts by booking tickets well in advance. Best time to book is approximately 3 months in advance.

Pick hotels smartly:
If you are planning a very small vacation and you would be out for most of the time, then there is no point in opting for a lavish room with expansive hotel TV systems, stylish and luxurious interiors and world-class facilities. Pick something that is both economical and provides the minimum facilities needed.

Look for attractive travel packages:
Instead of picking and booking each of them separately, opt for a travel package from one of the leading travel sites of agencies, which adhere to both quality and relative flexibility. Do double check though on the authenticity of the deals and reliability of the sites before shelling out hard earned cash.

Alternate travel and cheap flight dates:
For domestic travel and holidays, there are far better ways to go around than just flights and often trains and buses can be a lot more fun as you can enjoy the journey as well. Apart from that, surveys show that Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are the cheapest days to book flights; something everyone can take advantage of…

Air Travel

Southwest credits AirTran Airways for its new services at Des Moines International Airport

One of the industries to have taken the biggest hit in the last few years is the aviation sector. The global economic squeeze along with struggling companies, fewer jobs and pay cuts across the board have resulted in individuals and companies drastically reducing their spendings on trips and holidays.

This along with the several fold increase in fuel rates has left many reeling, but the road to recovery might have just started with many airlines starting to find their feet once again and economies on their way back up.

Southwest Airlines are one of those who seem to be doing ‘just fine’ as they made their entry into the Iowa market riding on the wings of AirTran Airways. The integration of both Southwest and AirTran has meant that new avenues have opened up for both and at the end of the day it is the consumer who benefits the most from it. With AIrTran already having a presence in the state of Iowa, the new service between Des Moines International Airport and Chicago’s Midway International Airport was only a matter of time.

The new expansion from Southwest connects the people of the region with their largest service in the country and with two daily flights now on offer, one can expect greater connectivity and quality service that is better than ever before. While the services of AirTran previously offered just 100 seats, the merger sees Southwest flying a Boeing 737 into Iowa, which will offer 274 seats each day, all seven days of the week.

This definitely great news for business travelers, who now need not wait and change over several flights to reach their destination and will have an easy access to Chicago, from where they can easily fly to any other domestic and international destination. Great news for the people of Des Moines indeed!

Destinations

The Goblin Valley in Utah

 

We walk in the Goblin Valley, as complete strangers, probably overshadowed by so many American landscapes. The Goblin hoodoos or fairy chimneys, are actually the erosion-resistant rock tops that left standing after the softer lime stones got eroded.

Hoodoos in Goblin prevail all across the valley forming a unique landscape and a rounded so that resemble giant mushrooms (rather than goblins which gave the valley its name).

Goblin Valley State Park is located in Utah, United States, and you can tour through three marked trails. It is an arid environment with limited wildlife.

 

Destinations

Relaxing in Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

 

Located just two hours by car from Boston, Lake Winnipesaukee has been one of the most popular vacation spots in New England for years. Much of the lake is full of houses worth millions of dollars.

An example is this vacation home in Lake Winnipesaukee which has a price tag of $1.6 million. It has 4 rooms and 3.5 bathrooms. This contemporary property overlooking the lake has a master suite with vaulted ceiling and a living room with walls of glass that allows residents to enjoy the views of the nearby Belknap mountain. Other features include granite ledges, art appliances, a fireplace and a professionally landscaped garden.

Earlier this year, sellers subtracted  $100,000 its price, making it an even more attractive. Rents on properties reach about $ 6,000 per month.

Destinations

The Forest with “Superpowers” in California

 

They have curious ways, even somewhat convoluted. They look strong and resilient. They are supertrees, or specifically, long-lived pines, a species that typically reach ages of 100–1,000 years, some even more.

These species just grow in mountains of western North America, in California, Nevada and Utah and are believed to be cloned of the oldest  living organisms in the planet. Often, barely have leaves and even dead trees appear. The simply survive in extreme conditions, so that even as the worse the conditions, they are living longer.

They are found in the White Mountains of the United States, and in certain areas with higher density, eventually form a small forest and in the county of Inyo, eastern California (Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest). The particular species is Pinus Longaeva  or Bristlecone pine,  a type of tree that grows to about 3,000 meters above sea level, sometimes even in the middle of a forest of other species. One of the oldest is about 4,750 years old, a tree dubbed as the “Methuselah Grove”, which is not marked to protect it from vandalism. But even existed there is the oldest tree, which is estimated to be some 5,000 years old.

 

 

Backpacking Destinations

A Walk in the Milford Track

If you want to experience the nature in its purest form, you must venture deep into the jungle. To know more about the nature and its surroundings, you must make it a point to walk your way. The most famous trail ride in New Zealand is called Milford Track, a hiking trail that crosses an area of mountains and temperate rainforest in the Fiordland National Park.

It is one of the most beautiful walks in the world (between glaciers, giant waterfalls, lakes, giant lived trees, steep cliffs between fjords and waterfalls). Of course, no one would forget to bring anything to guard against the moisture and water falling. This area is one of the wettest spots on earth. Southwest of the South Island of New Zealand receives rain between 6,000 and 8,000 millimeters per year, an amount of water that leaves its mark on the landscape with hundreds of “rivers” that fall on steep slopes of the mountains and forests that are saturated mosses and fungi, as in an enchanted landscape.

The points to be joined are the Lake Te Anau, to go north to the area of Milford Sound, or the country’s fjords area famous for its hot mirrored dozens of waterfalls and streams fall in the sea. All the way you cross forests, wetlands, and to a great mountain pass, all in a way that was used by the native Maori and today is one of the tourist attractions of the country. The following is a selection of images from the trip that do not follow a linear path, but rather, they serve to illustrate the incredible scenery that can wait for those experiencing the place.

To start the journey, we must start from Te Anau, a small town by the lake. Mostly between October and April, you can cover most of the routes north and over four days, sleeping in cabins in specially delimited areas managed by the Department of Conservation. Only allowed a maximum of 90 hikers a day, so it is important to book months in advance.

 

 

Destinations

Traveling to Costa de la Luz (Cadiz)

 

The Costa de la Luz is known as the coast with the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Snow-white sea areas will help tourists unwind as they enjoy the constant breeze and gentle waves of the Atlantic. And Tarifa Africa seems close enough to touch.

Two provinces share this beautiful piece of earth: From Tarifa just talked to Sanlucar de Barrameda which is translated as the “Coast of Light” in Cadiz , the other part – from the mouth of the Guadalquivir River to Portugal – is the province of Huelva.

With over 300 days of annual sunshine, the name Costa de la Luz really suits because the yellow celestial bodies never seem to go down here. Places like Conil de la Frontera, Rota or Sanlúcar act sleepy and fewer tourists visit than its neighbors on the famous Costa del Sol .

West of the provincial capital Cádiz primarily speaks Spanish. The Germans seek their recovery especially around Novo Sancti Petri and Conil de la Frontera. Those who likes stormy place and the waves for kite surfing, surfing and sailing needs of keep their best at Tarifa, Barbate or Zahora. The lighthouse at Cap de Trafalgar is basically the dividing line between Bath and active holiday.

The villages on the coast and in the hinterland are full of history: Cadiz is the oldest city in the Western world, Conil counts with Vejer, Medina and Tarifa to the white villages . In Jerez, El Puerto de Santa Maria and Cadiz are the famous sherry at home. Trips away from the beaches do not only leave formative impressions but it also relaxes the soul.

 

 

Destinations

Three Cheap Eats in Montreal

 

 

Montreal is a foodie’s heaven. Best of all, you don’t have to shell out your precious pennies to enjoy it. There are a variety of tasty cheap eats available at your finger tips.Thanks to several large university campuses located on this tiny island. You just need to know where to look.

1. Le Cagibi

Cuisine: Vegetarian, Mexican
Average spend: breakfast €2 – 7, lunch/dinner €6 – 8
This indie cafe/bar features an appetising menu of fresh soups, salads, burritos and sandwiches accompanied by an excellent selection of tea and coffee. It also offers a simple brunch and breakfast menu that is definitely easy on the wallet. The free Wi-Fi is ideal for travellers on the go and the music isn’t so bad either, so stick around a bit. Check out the daily soup and salad combos. Lentil, lemon and coconut never tasted so good together! See the menu.
5490 Boulevard Saint-Laurent

2. Restaurant Boustan

Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Average spend: pitas €2.50 – 3, combos for €6
For authentic Middle Eastern food on the go, Boustan serves up vegetarian and meat shawarma varieties and platters to satisfy your nightly cravings (open from 11 a.m. until 4 a.m.). Menu highlights include the shish taouk (also known as a kebab, doner or shawarma) and roasted potatoes smothered in the house garlic sauce. The line-up out the door shows just how much Montrealers love this little hole-in-the-wall. See the menu.
2020 Rue Crescent

3. Les Folies

Cuisine: Vegetarian, French and Canadian
Average spend: starters €3 – 5, brunch €8 – 10, mains €11 – 12
Les Folies (meaning crazy-ness) is a lovely little brunch spot with an outdoor patio overlooking bustling Avenue Du Mont Royal East in Montreal’s Le Plateau neighborhood. Brunch items like omelettes, crepes and homefries are a staple of any Canadian cosmopolitan diet and are worth a try at this unique restaurant. Also featured are creative salads and juicy burgers for your meat-eating friends. Try La Fraîche: refreshing greens mixed with fresh fruit, seeds and creamy raspberry vinaigrette. The cocktails are also surprisingly delicious (like the tart raspberry mojito), which are available in pitchers to share. See the menu (French only).

Miscellaneous

Three French Tourists Arrested in Sri Lanka for Kissing a Statue of Buddha

 

 

We need to internalize the habits and customs of the destination we visit in order to avoid situations that would be offensive to people who welcome us. Our Western ways are very different from the rules of conduct practiced by Asian countries and some of them could have serious consequences.

Three French tourists, two men and a woman,were arrested in Sri Lanka after the woman was photographed kissing the lips of the statue of Buddha.

Sri Lanka is predominantly Buddhist and its people are very sensitive to the lack of respect of the image of Buddha, as well as visitors’ behavior in the sanctuaries.

The country’s authorities specifically accused the tourists of ‘desecrating’ the Buddhist shrine town of Kandy; showing disrespect to the Buddha by kissing the holy statue (in another photo a man is pohotographed as imitatingthe Buddha’s posture. These behaviors deeply offended the Buddhists.

The misconduct of the French was denounced by the employee of a local establishment, who alerted authorities when the tourists tried to print photos and were detained.

Subsequently after paying a fine of 1,500 rupees (8.6 euros), they were released. They were originally sentenced for five years. The judge also ordered their deportation.

Beyond its status as a tourist, visitors must be be aware about the holy places and remain silent silent during prayers Tourists should be silent and should dress properly.