Touring the US to See Wyland Whaling Walls

For years Wyland has been a well-known name in the USA, with regards to ocean inspired art. Wyland is an environmentalist, and scuba diver. Before he began his artistic endeavors, Wyland spent 14 years diving around the world. He has brought these images to life in sculptures, paintings, prints, and his whaling walls.

Wyland Whaling Walls

Wyland Whaling Walls

Wyland was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1956 and first started making paintings of dinosaurs when he was four. On a visit to California in 1970, he saw his first gray whale migration. Two years later he started painting dolphins and whales. In 1974, he painted his first mural called Alps Mountain in Royal Oak Michigan.

Since 1977, Wyland has toured the world painting what are known as his “whaling walls.” Several of his walls are in California. Depending on your desires, you could start at his first mural in Michigan or travel to California to see the dozens of walls he has painted in the state before traversing other areas of the USA.

The “Whaling Wall” concept was started because Wyland wanted a larger canvas for his work. He finished the first official Whaling Wall in 1981 in Laguna Beach, California. It is 140 feet wide and 14 feet high.

His next wall was completed in Dana Point, California. One of the easiest to see is at Sea World in San Diego California. It is called One Man Show.

In 1984, he unveiled four new whaling walls. The first was Walling Wall III in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Two were completed in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada. His fourth for the year was completed as Whaling Wall V and is located in Seattle Washington.

For a tour of his whaling walls, you might start in California, drive up through Oregon, stop in Tacoma to see his XXI whaling wall and visit Seattle to see the 1984 wall, before crossing the border into Canada.

For some of Wyland’s walls you will need to travel to Hawaii. If you have a desire to see Hawaii and need another excuse to plan the holiday, then make certain you stop in Honolulu, as well as two other locations on Oahu, Hawaii.

For a southern vacation, traverse various cities of Florida. There are two whaling walls in Orlando, as well as one in Sarasota on the Mote Marine Laboratories building, which is a local aquarium dedicated to preserving the oceans and the lives that depend on it. To finish your tour of Florida, head to Marathon Keys, and Key West.

If you wish to broaden your trip to see Wyland whaling walls, you’ll have to expand your trip out of North America. Wyland has also produced work in Japan and Australia. A tour of Wyland’s work in Japan would take you to Funabashi and Osaka. He produced two walls in Australia located in Bundaburg and Sydney. There is also a wall in Nice, France.

His art truly takes you below the ocean waves, as well as on the surface, where the whales come up to breathe. It is work that makes you feel a part of the scene because of the detail and near 3D quality of the images.

Touring North Carolina’s Coast – Looking for Pirate History

North Carolina is known for its pirate lore and history. The coast was perfect for treacherous pirates to do their work during the height of the pirate period. Although, at the same time the coast was extremely dangerous for those who didn’t know where the dangerous rocks resided. North Carolina is known for its “Graveyard of the Atlantic” where many ships fell, not because of war, but because of the dangerous rocks barely covered by the ocean. Those who charted the area could slip in during the dark hours and bring their stolen loot onto the shore.

Blackbeard

Blackbeard

North Carolina was home to Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, one of the most feared pirates. But, he was not the only one to leave his mark on the Outerbanks and areas such as Bath. Plenty of pirates learned the treacherous pathway to make it ashore and protect, even sell the items they stole from the East and West India companies, as well as other ships sailing from Europe, South America, and the world.

Blackbeard

Blackbeard is the most famous pirate, perhaps because he has a movie about him, as well as plenty of books and other media. North Carolina does its part to bring forth his history to anyone who will listen and travel to Beaufort, Bath, and Ocracoke.

Edward Teach began his career aboard the Queen Anne’s War, joining the pirate crew and eventually taking over a French ship. He renamed the ship Queen Anne’s Revenge, and began his infamous captaining as a buccaneer. He ran a blockade in front of Charleston, South Carolina’s harbor. He also ran his ship aground in Beautfort Inlet to take his treasure to a safe place. However, his actual home was in Bath. Captain Robert Maynard was responsible for Teach’s end, when Maynard drew him onto his ship and laid in wait to kill Teach and his crew.

Stede Bonnet

Bonnet was almost as notorious as Edward Teach. He was known as “The Gentleman Pirate” because he was born to wealth. He also owned a plantation on Barbados prior to becoming a pirate. In 1717, bonnet joined Blackbeard’s fleet naming his ship Revenge. Bonnet did not last long with Teach, as Blackbeard turned against him in the Beaufort Inlet incident. Bonnet was able to get a pardon in Bath, get a new ship, and started sailing with revenge in mind, under the name Captain Thomas. He was only a pirate for a year before he was hanged for his buccaneer ways.

Charles Vane

Vane spent most of his time in Ocracoke. He was notorious as a cunning, cruel captain, who would cheat his men of their part of the treasure. He would run ships to ground, seize their goods and often capture their crew. He also took the port of Nassau, rejected a royal pardon, and shot the new governor. Unfortunately, his career came to an end when a hurricane marooned him on an island and the only rescue came from a ship that recognized him as a pirate.

On a tour of the Outerbanks, you can enjoy more of this history by visiting Ocracoke, Money Island, Beaufort, and traveling inland to Bath.

Tour the US National Parks

The 100th anniversary of national parks is on most US residents’ minds, if they live near a national park or traveled for summer 2016. These beautiful places were established because of a few men’s belief that the landscape should be protected and preserved for future generations. But, which National Parks should you make time to see on your holiday or vacation? Is there a way to tour more than one national park, while you have a week or two weeks off from work? Discover some of the best national parks to tour, when you have two weeks.

 Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Most of the US National Parks are in the western states. A start in Yellowstone can bring you two weeks of amazing views, stunning natural geysers, and wildlife. Bison, moose, elk, deer, and small mammals can be spotted with a trip through Yellowstone. You have four entrances to choose from, depending on where you are driving from or flying into. Yellowstone is a great two-week tour on its own, or you can take a week there and head south through Utah. Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and the Arches are all on the southern border of Utah, near Colorado, which is close to four National Parks.

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and the Arches are in the desert of Utah. Here you are going to see striking rock formations like the Chimney Rock pillar, Hickman Bridge, and the white sandstone domes. Capitol Reef is sixty miles of park land from the north to the south. Canyonlands National Park is known for its flat-topped mesas and Horseshoe Canyon, which has a Native American rock painting on it. Canyonlands has a total area of 527 square miles, but you can enjoy the main road in a day, depending on whether you wish to stop and hike any of the trails. The Arches are also in the desert of Utah and known for their red sand formations. With three days in this area, you would still have time to see the four parks in and around Colorado.

Gunnison National Park

Gunnison National Park

You will want to start with Black Canyon of the Gunnison. You will be taken from the desert landscape to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which stretch from Mexico up to Canada. The Black Canyon is named for the black cliff walls, the river that runs through the canyon and the beautiful waterfalls. Roads and trails will take you through the north and south rims of the canyon where you can see Precambrian rock and the Painted Wall cliff. Golden eagles, elk, deer, and other birds are often spotted in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde, which is further south, is the home to an ancient Anasazi site. It will leave you speechless and be the perfect way for you to turn northeast towards the Great Sand Dunes, before you head up to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is home to a plethora of wildlife from bears and moose to coyotes and mountain lions. In this park you can take one of the highest trails in the mountains over the top from Estes Park to Grand Lake.

The Grand Tour Of The US – What Spots You Should Really See

One might argue that there are too many places in the United States to see. In fact, depending on who you ask, you are going to receive at least ten different answers. Sure, this list could begin with things like Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot, but really? It’s that a known answer, if you have kids. Rather than go with the spots everyone wants to see, this list is going to tell you about the spots you should really see because of the beauty or wonder they impart. It is not about the most popular tourist destinations like Niagara Falls, NY and Canada. It is about the locations you might not think about.

1. Mendenhall Glacier and Caves, Juneau, AK

Mendenhall Glacier and Caves, Juneau, AK

Mendenhall Glacier and Caves, Juneau, AK

Mendenhall Glacier has changed in the last 12 years. Global warming has taken a lot of the glacier away, but the glacier is still there and so are the ice caves, which are more reachable now. In the Mendenhall Valley of Juneau, Alaska you can see the 12-mile glacier that allows you to see inside of it. Walk the West Glacier Trail and with safety in mind, you can get inside the caves without any climbing equipment or dangerous maneuvers.

2. Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Going from the extreme Alaskan ice to one of the hottest places in the USA, you can find Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona. The canyon is beautiful in its reddish brown colors. Here you can walk through tall canyon walls, which used to be underwater. The rocks have strata that help you determine the time frame of when they were underwater, as well as how long ago they were formed. You may want to book a stay in a Lake Powell campground and drive a few miles to Page to see these red-orange canyon walls.

3. Maroon Bells, Snowmass Wilderness, Aspen, Colorado

Maroon Bells, Snowmass Wilderness, Aspen, Colorado

Maroon Bells, Snowmass Wilderness, Aspen, Colorado

Snowmass Wilderness is certainly a popular location, with its proximity to Aspen. However, the Maroon Bells are big enough for you to lose yourself in the beauty of Colorado. It is 181,000 plus acres of wilderness land that is part of the Gunnison and White River National Forests. The aspens provide a beautiful ambiance in the fall months, with the changing of the leaves, as well as the snowcapped mountain in the background.

4. Oneonta Gorge, Bridal Veil, Oregon

Oneonta Gorge, Bridal Veil, Oregon

Oneonta Gorge, Bridal Veil, Oregon

Perhaps your holiday will take you from the wilderness of Colorado to Oregon for a quick stop at Oneonta before heading to Alaska. No matter, how you plan your trips around the US, you do not want to miss Oneonta Gorge in Bridal Veil, Oregon. Multnomah Falls is often a busier location in this region, so Oneonta trails are typically overlooked. The trails will take you through a creek bed, waterfall areas, caverns, and close to the Oneonta Gorge scenic area.

Consider, going from Arizona, to Colorado, up to Oregon, through Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls, and up to Bellingham for a ferry trip up to Alaska. Your Grand Tour can also take you east for stops at Whitaker Point in Arkansas, the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, and up to Watkins Glen State Park in New York.

The 1,000 Lakes of Minnesota – Which Lakes Should be on Your List

Minnesota has 1,000 lakes, and yet not all of these beautiful lakes is equally worth visiting. Many of the lakes are small, offering little recreation, or off the beaten path in the protected forest land. The lakes that make the list are definitely places you can go and enjoy, without breaking laws by going into restricted areas or being bored because there is nothing to do in or on the lake.

  1. Rainy Lake:
    Rainy Lake

    Rainy Lake

    The party potential of this lake is low, offering you a quiet place to fish and take out your boat. It is one of the best lakes for canoeing. Anglers are going to find the bass are superb.

  2. Lake of the Isles:
    Lake of the Isles

    Lake of the Isles

    Quiet is also the name of the game here. You won’t find people partying late on this lake, but more likely fishing and paddle boarding in summer. Lake of the Isles is known for its stately houses surrounding it and the least busy lake in the chain since there are no beaches.

  3. Deer Lake:
    Deer Lake

    Deer Lake

    Located in Itasca County, Deer Lake is known for its boat access, fishing, canoe, and kayak options. The lake is mineral based ensuring it is a magnificent turquoise shade. There are a few country bars in the area, but the party level is also low.

  4. Lake Winnibigoshish:
    Lake Winnibigoshish

    Lake Winnibigoshish

    Here you are going to find an increase in the party level, meaning it is moderate. There are fishing lodges, resorts, and campgrounds , so there are nightly entertainments the other three lakes mentioned do not have. You are going to be near Chippewa National Forest for hiking. There is a perfect balance of wilderness and lake in this north-central lake. You might know this lake better as Lake Winnie. Bemidji is also close by for more civilization if you need it.

  5. Lake of the Woods:
    Lake of the Woods

    Lake of the Woods

    Another moderate party lake, Lake of the Woods, provides canoeing, kayaking , paddle boarding, swimming, fishing, and boating. This country lake is a “self-declared walleye capital of the world.” It certainly provides a high number of walleye for you to fish, if that is your favorite thing. Besides fishing, you can take out an ATV, sled, or 4×4 to explore the country landscape. You might wish to be careful or you could wind up in Canada!

In terms of beauty all five of these lakes deliver. They also offer a different level of business, entertainments, and good ole’ fashioned relaxation. Yes, Minnesota has 1,000 lakes, but if you can find what you love with a few, without damaging the scenery, then why not take a minute to add these five lakes to your tour around Minnesota.

For those who are looking for a higher party potential, you can also find plenty of options throughout the state. Pokegama Lake is one of the busiest and most party central lake in the state. Swimming, fishing, and boating are the top three activities, but you also have rental cabins, giant homes to view, and party pontoons to rent.

Exploring Tiny House Communities – See if the Lifestyle Fits You

Are you interested in a tiny house? Do you know if the lifestyle is going to fit for you? Is there even a place you can park, when you are out traveling? Loads of questions are being asked by people considering going tiny, with plenty of confusing answers and sometimes myths.

If you want to see if the lifestyle fits you and your family—check out one of the eleven Tiny House Communities. Hey, why not check out all eleven, while you are at it. Many of the communities offer full time homeowners a place to park, as well as vacation rentals. Lyons, Colorado is just one community where you can rent a tiny home, determine if you will love it, and start your tiny living.

Opportunity Village and Emerald Village – Eugene, Oregon

Emerald Village

Emerald Village Eugene, Oregon

Oregon has offered a collaboration of housed and unhoused options for a self-managed, self- governed tiny house village. Safe housing is provided for those in transition, as well as more permanent living options. Emerald Village is meant to be a model for affordable, long-term tiny house living.

Quixote Village – Olympia, Washington

Quixote Village

Quixote Village Olympia, Washington

This location was once a tent camp location for homeless individuals. Today there are 30 tiny houses, common space with showers, and a community garden.

Washington D.C. Boneyard Studios

Washington D.C. Boneyard Studios

Washington D.C. Boneyard Studios

You probably didn’t think the capitol was actually on board with tiny house living. However, Boneyard Studios will certainly change your mind about that. This tiny house village is a demonstration of how urban living can be tiny in size, but perfect for your needs. The community will support tiny house builders, the benefits of tiny house living, and help model what tiny house communities can become in the near future.

Community First Village – Austin, Texas

Community First Village

Community First Village  – Austin, Texas

The village is still in its inception, but already 27 acres have been provided for a tiny house community. Tiny houses, RVs, mobile homes, and other tiny living options will be available in this community at an affordable, sustainable price. The focus is on helping disabled and homeless individuals in Austin and nearby areas, find a place to live.

Tiny House Village – Sonoma, California

Tiny House Village:

Tiny House Village – Sonoma, California

Sonoma’s tiny village is also still in the planning stages, according to the main website, but there are plenty behind the movement. Jay Shafer, who founded Four Lights Tiny House Company, is working to zone a village as an RV park, but also a Coop location, where there will be a community garden, water, and other shared common spaces. Spaces will rent for at least $425 per month.

Tiny House Village – San Francisco, California

Tiny House Village, San Francisco

Tiny House Village, San Francisco

Chelsea Rustrum is behind the creation of the San Francisco location. While, it is still in the planning stages, the village is meant to offer Wi-Fi for those who wish to be connected, as well as a place to be in the tiny house loop, with a community of other tiny house enthusiasts.

Micro Communities – Portland, Oregon

Micro Communities - Portland, Oregon

Micro Communities – Portland, Oregon

TechDwell is a part of the Micro Communities planning. Portland has approved of the plan to offer affordable housing to the workable poor. Other locations include Dignity Village in Portland, Second Wind in Ithaca NY, and Occupy Madison in Madison WI.

Top 10 Free And Fun Things To Do In Switzerland On Holiday Trip

Switzerland is considered to be one of the most expensive destinations in the world. Finding great things to do that will not cost a dime is therefore no small deal.
From incredible landscapes, beautifully clean cities, fresh air, friendly people, chocolate and cheese Switzerland is a lovely place to go to. Below is a list of what to do in Switzerland that will be free of charge;

Zytglogge

Zytglogge

Zytglogge

Switzerland is known for its quality time pieces and Bern’s main clock is an astronomical clock that was built in 1530 but still works. The Zytglogge chimes after every 15 minutes and the show starts at the top of the hour. The jester rings the bells and medieval human and a bear dance round and round in a musical frenzy.

Bern’s Old Town and statues

Bern’s Old Town and statues

Bern’s Old Town and statues

Strolling around Bern’s old town center is a great experience. To make this walk fun, start walking from the Bahnhof which is the main train station to the Barenpark. You will see over 100 fountains some topped with renaissance figures that have their own unique history and you will also come across the Ogre Fountain in Kornhausplatz that has an ogre devouring children. It acts as a cautionary tale for inspiring good road manners.

Aare River swim

Aare River swim

Aare River swim

There is a public pool area which is located below the parliament buildings in Bern. Here one can enjoy swimming in the Aare River which is fast moving and cold because it consists of Alpine melt water. It is quite an exhilarating experience that you just have to try.

The Parliament Building

The Parliament Building

The Parliament Building

There are some free guided tours into the Parliament building in Bern. You can explore into the Council chambers, domed hall and the lobby to discover the building’s history and how the parliament works.

 

Munster Cathedral

Munster Cathedral

Munster Cathedral

This gothic cathedral was completed in the 19th century and is one of the top places to see in Switzerland. After a climb of 344 steps, one can take in the beautiful sights of the city of Bern and the Alps. There is also a portal over the main doors that reveal the detailed sculpture of the Last Judgement.

Bicycle rides

Bicycle rides

Bicycle rides

There are free bike for rent at the Bern Rolt where you could go for a spin around the old city. You can find rental location at Bahnhof and what is required is your ID and 20 Swiss francs to serve as a deposit. You will then comfortably ride through the streets and over cobblestones for 3-4 hours.

Bear viewing

Bear viewing

Bear viewing

It is a large area where bears roam from time to time along the banks of the Aare River. Above it is a tourist information center with interesting displays of the history of Bern.

A leisurely walk at an animal park

animal park

animal park

Tierpark Dahlholzli is a forested animal park where you can walk across the Aare River from the Old Town. Here you will see beautiful reptiles and other animals and there is also a playground for the children.

Take a sunbath

Worshipping the sun at Ufschotti in Lucerne while taking in beautiful views across Lake Lucerne is among the best things to do in Switzerland. To cool off from the summer heat, take a refreshing dip into the lake.

Fraumunster church

Fraumunster church

Fraumunster church

This convent is one of the landmarks of the city of Zurich. The artwork here is truly magnificent. The stained glass windows by Augusto Giacometti in the north transept and the rosette by Marc Chagall are captivating.

7 Most Popular Places to Eat in Switzerland

Switzerland is a favored tourist destination known for both its linguistic and geographical diversity. The landlocked country prides in having four official languages including; German, French, Italian and Romansh.
Owing to its diversity of language and geography, Swiss cuisine is also multifaceted. Even though chocolate and the cheese fondue are popular delicacies the country is famed for, there are plenty of other finger-licking foods you have to try out in some of the best restaurants in Switzerland.
Below are the 7 most widespread places to eat while in Switzerland;

Hotel Helvetia

Hotel Helvetia

Hotel Helvetia

The Hotel Helvetia serves delicious regional cuisine and has been awarded 15 points by the Gault-Millau Gourmet Guide. The hotel restaurant is located in one of Zurich’s most lively cities and is perched just above the Sihl River where one can enjoy views above a rooftop terrace.
Hotel Helvetia consists of 2 luxury apartments and 14 guest rooms which have a classic interior, heating, free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. It also has a spa center and sauna where one can relax.

Kronenhalle Restaurant

Kronenhalle Restaurant

Kronenhalle Restaurant

Situated in Zurich, this bar and restaurant is well- known among locals and travelers alike. It has been the ideal meeting point for writers, artists, business partners, designers, friends and family since 1921 due to its perfect blend of art and cuisine.
Kronenhalle employs top class chefs from Alsace, Bavaria and its hometown to provide the some of the finest international and Swiss food you will ever have.
The classic traditional dish which is a tasty sliced veal in gravy will never miss on the menu. Other regional specialties will include Rosti, smoked pork and filet of sole.

Rathaus Brauerei

Rathaus Brauerei

Rathaus Brauerei

This serves as Lucerne’s restaurant and brewery. One can enjoy some alpine cuisine in this pub-like set up. On the menu, the highlights include; a savory cheese cake and macaroni cheese pasta served with applesauce. All meals in Rathaus Brauerei go with the two in-house beers served namely; Rathaus Bock and Rathaus Naturtrub.

Wein & Sein

Wein & Sein

Wein & Sein

This restaurant offers a huge variety of seasonal menus and wine. It is located in Bern and the wine cabinets are lined along the walls of the bar with over 300 bottles forming the key decoration.  The lunch menu keeps on changing with seasonal favorites being retained and the evening menu involves a five-course meal that can be served either with meat or without. The sommelier will then recommend the ideal wine to accompany the presented dish.

Altes Tramdepot

Altes Tramdepot

Altes Tramdepot

Situated in Bern, the Altes Tramdepot has lovely views of the Bear Park, Bern’s Old Town and the Aare River from its front terrace and beer garden. Its menu is quite extensive offering many options of what to eat in Switzerland. Some of the delicacies you have to sample are the Bernese plate, Swiss pasta dishes, Asian plates and French cuisine. Altes Tramdepot also has a brewery where the in-house beer is produced.

Schauenstein Restaurant

Schauenstein Restaurant

Schauenstein Restaurant

It ranked 5th place in the world’s best restaurants in 2015. It is found in Schloss Schauenstein in the little mountain village of Furstenau.  The overall room lighting is kept low with the tables being well lit to provide a romantic atmosphere. Food served here is quite exquisite from its smell, flavor and texture. The service is good all year round and there is a beautiful terrace where a cold drink can be enjoyed in fine weather while admiring the scenic views.

Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville

Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville

Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville

This restaurant took the number one spot for world’s best restaurants in 2015. It is located in Crissier and is known for serving classic French food.  The restaurant has had three Michelin stars since 1998. The restaurant is known for its high level of hospitality and consistency in its dishes and the perfect balance of flavours that most of its clientele are regulars. Be sure to stop by this elegant restaurant for a taste of heavenly delights even before checking into one of the cozy hotels in Switzerland.

Top Hotels to Stay In Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a marvelous city known for its potential for a fulfilling exploration. The city of a thousand spires is a haven for the avid adventurer. You not only get to visit ancient chapels and marvel at architecture that is centuries old but also stumble across lovely gardens, cafes and old fashioned bars.
When it comes to travelling all that is needed is a good shoe and a good bed. If you are wondering where to stay when in this brilliant city, here is a list of Prague’s best hotels you should stay in;

Alchymist Grand Hotel

Alchymist Grand Hotel

Alchymist Grand Hotel

The Alchymist is an outstanding 16th century palace is only a 5 minutes’ walk from the Charles Bridge. The hotel has vaulted ceilings and antique furniture with décor that is in the style of Habsburg baroque. It also has a spa and health club in its cellars from the 11th century that offers sauna, fitness and pool facilities that will leave you completely relaxed. You will also enjoy chocolate pralines, cheese and wine tasting sessions each day.

Four Seasons Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel

This is five star hotel is situated in Old Town. It guarantees awesome views of the Prague Castle and also the Charles Bridge. It was built by connecting three structures from different architectural periods. Its 161 rooms have chic décor with marble bathrooms. The Allegro restaurant provides a fine dining experience with mouthwatering delights and friendly service all year round. The hotel also offers airline reservation services and translation services.

Hotel Hoffmeister

Hotel Hoffmeister

Hotel Hoffmeister

It has been a family-run hotel for decades and also a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The hotel has 14 suites and 27 rooms with classical furnishings. The windows are soundproofed from the noise of the busy street. Its restaurant, ADA serves international cuisine with traditional Czech influences. The restaurant also stocks some of Czech Republic’s best local wine collections.

Hotel Josef

Hotel Josef

Hotel Josef

This sleek and contemporary hotel is close to the Old Town Square and the Jewish Quarter. It has minimalist rooms which are stylish and some even have balconies with in-room yoga mats and fitness sets. The hotel offers free parking and breakfast buffets that can either be served in an elegant restaurant with floor to ceiling windows or the lovely seasonal garden. Amenities to be found here include a sauna, bar and a bakery.

Iron Gate Hotel

Iron Gate Hotel

Iron Gate Hotel

This luxurious hotel is housed in a UNESCO protected building that dates back to the 14th century. It has its own private courtyard with a remarkable atmosphere it makes the ideal choice for enjoying Prague’s wonders. The hotel has 43 rooms each with their own unique designs and stocked mini bars. You can have light snacks and fresh salads in the exquisite summer garden in the courtyard or traditional Czech treats in the Zelezna Vrata restaurant.
After checking yourself into any one of these exclusive hotels, you can also enjoy the night life the city has to offer. By heading to one of the best night and day restaurants in Prague, the Duplex Restaurant is a fabulous place for lunch and dinner. Owing to its unique position, one can enjoy terrific views of the spires. The Duplex transforms into a music club from 10 pm bringing in some of the best DJs from the city.

10 Dazzling Destination in Prague

In over three decades, Prague has been one of the most popular tourist destination in Europe with over 4 million visitors each year. Prague is considered to be one of Europe’s architectural gems for Gothic, Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Baroque styles dot the city. There are also splendid luxury hotels that make the trip worthwhile. Below are 10 serene destinations that you cannot afford to miss when you visit Prague:

Powder Tower

Powder Tower

Powder Tower

The Powder Tower connects history to the present. It was built in the 11th century and served as one of the original gates into Old Town. It was later rebuilt in the 17th century by King Vladislav. It was where both the coronation and the royal route used to start on their way to St. Vitus Cathedral to crown the king. The tower was also used to store gun powder in the 17th century and this is where it got its name. The tower has a spiral staircase with 186 steps that leads to a gallery where fantastic views of Old Town can be enjoyed.

Dancing House

Dancing House

Dancing House

It was created by Valdo Milunic, a Czech architect and Frank Gehry, a Canadian in the 20th century. The Dancing House is such a remarkable structure with dynamic design elements that lets it stand out in complete contrast to the classical architecture designs around it. The building resembles a female dancer swinging in the arms of a male partner. Dancing House is a private office building found in Resslova Street with a restaurant, the Celeste on the seventh floor which is open to the public.

Municipal House

Municipal House

Municipal House

This is the best place to be to sample the finest of Art Nouveau designs. It was constructed in 1912 and serves as one of the largest concert venues in the Smetana Hall. The Municipal House has plenty of striking features such an interior styles with fine stained glass windows and significant paintings. A lavish façade with a huge mural on the arch just above the second floor balcony and a dome above the arch.

National Gallery

National Gallery

National Gallery

The National Gallery acts as home to some of the most significant art collections in Europe.  Majority of the collections are housed in the Veletrzni Palace that keeps works from the 19th to 21st century. Here you are bound to find great art pieces from Czech artists as well as foreign artists like Picasso and Monet. You can also find other art forms apart from paintings such as sculpture, fashion ,applied arts and photography.  The Kinsky Palace holds Asian art, Baroque collection and ancient art. You will find European art from the Middle Ages at the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia and for the most famous pieces, the Sternberg Palace has them all from Classical era European art, ancient Greek and Roman pieces to Italian masterpieces and 16th to  17th century works of Rembrandt, Van Goyen, Goya, Van Dyck and El Greco.

Church of Our Lady before Tyn

Church of Our Lady before Tyn

Church of Our Lady before Tyn

It is among the popular attractions in Prague and is also known as Tyn Church. Its original building was a Romanesque church for foreign merchants in the 11th century.the church has been altered through the centuries with shifting allegiances. The present church was completed in the 15th century. Tyn church is unmistakable due to its twin spires that soar 80 meters on each side of the building while supporting four other smaller spires. The Tyn church can therefore be seen from all parts of the city. It holds numerous works of art in Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic styles.

St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral

It is the largest and most important Christian church in Czech Republic. The Roman Catholic Church also serves as a tomb ground for three Bohemian kings and a number of saints. The cathedral took over 500 years to complete resulting in a mix of 14th century Gothic and modern Neo-Gothic designs along with Baroque and Renaissance styles. Points of interest here are the rarely displayed Czech Crown Jewels which are exhibited once after every 8 years. The stained glass windows depicting the Holy Trinity are also a spectacular sight.

Old Town Square

Old Town Square

Old Town Square

This is a good place to start exploring the city. It is situated between Charles Bridge and the Wenceslas Square. It is the historic center of Prague as you will find numerous architectural styles represented in the outstanding buildings around. There is a central statue in the Square of Jan Hus who was a church reformer and also a martyr.

Klementinum

Klementinum

Klementinum

It is among the largest groups of historic buildings around Europe. They were designed in the Baroque style and used to be part of a Jesuit College. It went on to become state property to become a National Library. It has a huge collection of Jesuit books and copies of any book published in Czech Republic. The highlights here include the Astronomical Tower which is 68 meters high, the awe-inspiring ceiling artwork in the Library Hall and the exquisite décor in the Mirror Chapel. The Klementinum also hosts classical concerts and jazz music.

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

Once the home of Bohemian kings, the largest ancient castle in the world towers above the city. It was first built as a walled fortress but the castle buildings have changed intensely over the years. Prague Castle consists of St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, Old Royal Palace, Powder Tower, and St. George Basilica. You will also find tomb grounds for emperors and kings.

Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

You can book one of the cheapest flights to visit the most iconic landmark in Prague. It is about 600 years old and connects Old Town and Lesser Town over River Vltava. Commissioned in 1357 by King Charles IV, there is a great deal of superstition as it was built in alignment with the setting sun on the equinox and the tomb of St. Vitus. Highlights to be enjoyed here are the statues of the country’s most revered saint, John of Nepomuk and that of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. The views over River Vltava are magnificent and the Gothic gates.

Get To Know The Best All Inclusive Mexico Resorts

Beautiful sandy beaches, endless sunshine and a spectacular scenery are some of the amazing gifts of nature the colorful nation of Mexico has to offer. The country has a wealth of history, cuisine, traditions and jaw- dropping architecture that was left behind by ancient civilizations.
Mexico also prides in having great resorts especially those at the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. They have the perfect setting for weddings, honeymoons, family vacations and singles rejuvenation retreat.
The all-inclusive Mexico vacations vary by resort. The package can have all meals, entertainment, sports, accommodations and airfare included in one price. Tourists therefore need to check the amenities in the all-inclusive list. This helps a traveler know what their vacation will cost beforehand.
The following is a list of the best all-inclusive resorts in Mexico you should know about;

Barceló Puerto Vallarta

Barceló Puerto Vallarta

Barceló Puerto Vallarta

This beach resort makes the most of nature as it is surrounded by the sea, the mountains and the jungle. There are numerous excursions that an avid traveler can take part in such as; horseback riding, mountain biking, kayaking, deep-sea fishing and snorkeling. The resort is family friendly due to the activities that are suitable for children. There are three pools that guests can have a fun dip in, a spa treatment center to release the tensions and a court for playing tennis. Their all-inclusive package includes all meals, minibar access, non-motorized water sports, the gym, tennis courts and games room access for ping pong, billiards, air hockey table and 2 poker tables.

El Cozumeleno

El Cozumeleno

El Cozumeleno

Situated on Cozumel Island in the Caribbean Sea, El Cozumeleno is on a white sand beach and is ideal for both adults and families into water sports. Guests can be taught how to scuba dive and snorkel. They can also go kayaking, parasailing or ride a wave runner. For its fine dining restaurant, the resort has a dress code but casual wear is accepted in its other eateries. Their all-inclusive package includes all meals and beverages excluding bottled wine, aerobics, water fitness and dancing are also included. For the children, supervised activities for those aged between 5 and 12 years is included but child care, laundry, motorized sports are not in this package.

Melia Cabo Real Beach Resort

Melia Cabo Real Beach Resort

Melia Cabo Real Beach Resort

It is located 20 minutes from Cabo San Lucas and has 306 luxury rooms all decorated by a Mayan theme. It offers scenes of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez on one side and a desert scenery on the other. It is considered to be among the best family all-inclusive resorts in Mexico because of having the only swimming beach that is safe in the area. The reason for this is because it is in a secluded location. For parents with children who like swimming in the ocean, this feature is very important.

The Royal Resort Playa del Carmen

The Royal Resort Playa del Carmen

The Royal Resort Playa del Carmen

This Riviera Maya resort allows guests to check in within 48 hours in order to select available suites online. The resort caters to adults and it has 513 luxury suites. The amenities included in the all-inclusive package is really long. Some of the offers provided include; a pillow menu, tequila tastings, wait service on the beach, a fully stocked premium bar among others.

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort

It is among the top all-inclusive resorts in Mexico as it has been awarded the AAA 5-diamond rating for seven years in a row. The resort is on top of its game in terms of offering the best accommodation and service. It is situated at Cancun with 602 suites which have views of the ocean and the sand at each turn. Some of the activities to look forward to are swimming, jet skiing and snorkeling. It also has a variety of activities for children such as hunting for sea shells, building sand castles at the beachfront and other interactive games.

Top 10 Things to Do in Mexico on Holidays Trip

Mexico is a vibrant nation that has numerous places to visit and a variety of activities to take part in. The land is rich and filled with a diversity of sandy shores overlapping the coasts, ancient ruins scattered through the mountains and jungles for an exquisite adventure.

There can be no shortage of excursions in this magnificent destination. Mexico prides in having 31 World Heritage sites and pristine beaches. The cuisine has been replicated all around the world. The most popular are chilies, tequila, chocolate, tacos and enchiladas.

Some of the best places to visit in Mexico are; Valle de Bravo which is great for water sports, Puerto Escondido is a haven for surfers, Cancun for its numerous resorts and beaches and the state of Jalisco for a taste of Mexican culture, tequila, Mariachi music along with its capital city of Guadalajara to appreciate ancient monuments and artwork.

Mexico has something to offer for every kind of traveler. There are so many outdoor activities, places to visit and water sports to indulge yourself in. There can be no room for boredom here. The following are some insights on what to do in Mexico:

Butterfly watching

Butterfly watching

Butterfly watching

Experience a rare nature experience with the annual butterfly migration of Monarch butterflies in Michoacán. The Monarch butterflies make a journey of more than 2500 miles from the eastern side of Canada to the forests of western central Mexico. This happens each year in late October and their arrival coincides with the Day of the Dead holidays. It is believed that deceased relatives are coming home so they are honored with feasts and celebrations.

Lucha libre wrestling

Lucha libre wrestling

Lucha libre wrestling

There is no better way to enjoy the Lucha libre than from its birth place. This is a form of freestyle wrestling that goes way back to the 19th century. It is based on the ancient Greco-Roman disciplines where the fighters, known as luchadores conceal their identity in colorful masks that depict their persona and perform breath taking aerial stunts and athletic maneuvers to outdo their opponent. The best place to relish Lucha libre in Mexico City is at Arena Mexico. The fights are held on Tuesday and Friday nights.

Tour eco parks

Tour eco parks

Tour eco parks

Ecotourism is among the many pleasures you get to enjoy while at Cancun and the Mayan Riviera. There are numerous ecological parks to choose from and each has different fun activities and beaches to relax on.

The most visited in Cancun is the Xcaret Eco Archaeological Park. It has a swim with dolphins program, snorkeling in an underground river and great night shows. Xel Ha Ecological Park is also located in Cancun and it has a natural lagoon that serves as home to dozens of fish species and sea turtles. Chankanaab Eco Archaeological Park is a wonderful place to spend the day. It is situated in Cozumel hence offers a great sight to the Caribbean Sea. Here you get to swim with dolphins, see beautiful ruins and enjoy the Mayan culture.

Volcano hiking

Volcano hiking

Volcano hiking

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, the Iztaccihuatl Volcano hike is a must-do activity while in Mexico City. An experienced guide will take you through the journey and you will be divided into groups.

The hike starts at an elevation of 3700 meters and you will see four snow-covered peaks that are known as the sleeping woman. Depending on your group members, you may go up as high as 4200 meters and reach near glaciers and snowcapped peaks. Here you get to take in the sights of the valley of Mexico below and the active volcano of Popocatepetl that is at the south of Iztaccihuatl.

Zip lining

Zip lining

Zip lining

Zip lining is an adventure that cannot be missed at Cancun and Riviera Maya. Discover the incredible view of the Mexican Caribbean while flying over the jungle in a zip line. There are a few precautions to take for this activity such as; minimum height of 3.6ft, minimum weight of 88 lbs. and maximum weight is 300 lbs. the equipment and safety gear you must put on are a harness and a helmet. Zip lining in Riviera Maya is an adrenaline filled thrill as you glide through the air and traverse suspended bridges including a water slide.

Horseback riding

Horseback riding

Horseback riding

Rancho Pitaya provides a good getaway from the hustles and bustles of the city. It is located in the rural village of Rojas de Cuauhtémoc at Oaxaca. On horseback you will experience the unique culture and nature of Oaxaca first hand. The horses are well taken care of and the saddles are comfortable. Riding hidden trails past towering cactus plants will lead you to be surrounded by the rich biodiversity and traditional culture in Oaxaca.

Water sports

Las Palmas,

Las Palmas,

Acapulco is the ideal spot for every variety of water sports. Best sites for snorkeling are at Las Palmas, El Ripio and Bahia de Yerbabuena beaches. Parasailing offers a magnificent view of the bay and windsurfing can also be enjoyed here.

Cozumel is a famous destination for scuba diving and snorkeling as it has some of the most beautiful coral reefs and variety of tropical fish. Espiritu Santo is a great place for kayaking as it has shallow azure inlets and pink cliffs.

Dance to Mariachi performances

Take a stroll through the lively streets of Mexico City and get to Plaza Garibaldi which is famous for its mariachi singers and traditional cantinas. Be sure to dance to your heart’s content to the delights of the mariachi bands.

Explore the Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

A major highlight of going to Mexico is discovering its many ruins. They offer a glimpse into the rich architecture left at the peak of its ancient civilizations. The Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is considered to be the best works the Mayans left. It has 365 steps that represent 365 days of the Mayan calendar. It features incredible stone carvings and structures such as the ancient ball court, wall of skulls and an astronomical tower.

Visit the Tulum ruins

Tulum ruins

Tulum ruins

The Tulum ruins are a sight to behold, they preside over a rugged coastline, turquoise waters and a strip of the beach. To best enjoy these ruins, go early in the morning by booking cheap flights to Mexico.

5 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Czech Republic

Czech Republic is an ideal destination for those who crave older architectural designs. The country has been owned by various nations throughout the century and this has led to it acquiring different influences in its architecture. Czech Republic tourism has been on the rise because airfare prices are lower and tourists are likely to find the best deal.
The 5 most beautiful tourist attractions in Czech Republic include;

Castle Karlstejn

Castle Karlstejn

Castle Karlstejn

It is a Gothic castle built in the 14th century and served as the home of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Castle Karlstejn is situated about 18 miles from Prague. The building was designed with three terraces and from the lowest level we have the Imperial Palace that was occupied by the emperor and his knights followed by the Marian Tower which the empress occupied and then the Big Tower that had a chapel.

Kutna Hora

Kutna Hora

Kutna Hora

Kutna Hora used to be the first Bohemian monastery but the town began to prosper as huge silver deposits were discovered at its mountains. At the time, the town was under German control and that is why there are a number of lovely Gothic buildings around. Highlights here are the St. Barbaras Church, Ossuary, Stone Haus which is the museum and the Italian Court.

Prague

Prague

Prague

Prague is the not only the largest city in Czech Republic but also the most culturally diverse. It has served as the capital of Bohemia and the Roman Empire. It prospered during the Gothic and Renaissance eras and has architectural highlights from different centuries. Prague managed to escape considerable damage from the Second World War and this is how it managed to leave its Romanesque, Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance buildings unharmed. Prague was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 and since then it has been able to get over 4 million international visitors checking in to cheap flights to Czech Republic to marvel at all this historic center has to offer. Dazzling places to visit include; Charles Bridge, National Gallery for significant art collections in Europe and the Dancing House for modern art lovers.

Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary

As with many hot spring regions, this town has been believed to have healing waters for many years. The waters were transformed into a large spa area by Charles IV in the 13th century. The architecture found here is luxurious because at the time, spas were for nobles. Despite a series of natural disasters which have resulted to the destruction of most buildings, the spas are still open and the town still beautiful.

Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov

The lovely castle city has a timeless charm. It has restored and well-maintained 18th century buildings that give the place the look of being a medieval town. It has a Bohemian Castle built in the late 13th century as a trade stronghold when the area was owned by Bohemians. The castle is strategically placed over the natural crossing of River Vltava.  The town is quite picturesque with crooked cobblestones and the stucco facades which are brightly colored add to its uniqueness.

7 Best and Fun Things to Do in Cyprus

The Island of Cyprus offers an ample opportunity to enjoy something fresh and exciting. Found in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea just south of Turkey, the island is known for its warm weather and picturesque beaches.
Among the great things to see in Cyprus are historic villages and ancient ruins which depict an island with a wealth of culture and history. Its cities are vibrant and its mountains incredible.
Commandaria Wine Route, Protaras Beach, Avakas Gorge, Psokas Forest, Omerye Hamam and the Zenobia wreck dives are among the top tourist attractions in Cyprus. There are so many fun things to do while in this island and here is just an overview of the activities you will find to be very exhilarating;

Wreck Diving

Wreck Diving

Wreck Diving

The Zenobia is among the top ten wreck dives in the world. Zenobia is the name of a ferry which was 172 meters long that sank in 1980 during its maiden voyage. It rests on the seabed at the depths of 18-42 meters. Divers go inside the vessel to explore the ship’s restaurant and cargo deck. There are also amazing natural attractions to be viewed while under such as the Amberjack, Tuna, Giant Wrasse and shoals of Barracuda.

Wine Tasting

Sample one of the oldest wines in the world known as the Commandaria from its birthplace. While here, have an exploration of the Commandaria Wine Route to see the vineyards. The island of Cyprus has one of the oldest wine industries around the globe. Pafos and Limassol are villages popularly known for their wineries. For the finest Cypriot wines, the winery of Chysorogiatissa Monastery offers tasty homemade specialties. Be sure to try out the famous locally distilled spirit known as red Zivania which is produced by the Kykkos Monastery.

Attend Festivals

Carnival

Carnival

Owing to their rich history, cultural and religious festivals are carried out all year round. Carnival starts 50 days before orthodox Easter with festivities taking place in numerous towns and the climax takes place in Lemesos on Carnival Sunday. The Anthestiria Flower Festival goes way back to celebrations in ancient Greece for the rebirth of man and nature. It is held in May with colorful parades of decorated flowers floating through the streets.
The Kataklysmos Festival marks the Pentecost with its roots representing the ancient rites of passage celebrating the transition of man from spring to the new season. The fun starts at the coastal cities where there are fireworks, boat parades, folk music and dancing.

Walking the Avakas Gorge

Avakas Gorge

Avakas Gorge

The Avakas Gorge is truly a nature masterpiece. Found in Paphos, this is a great experience for every avid walker. Here you not only get to discover the island’s spectacular fauna but also challenge yourself a difficult path that is worth it. The Gorge is 30 meters high and it gets narrow at one point. The stream that is responsible for creating the Avakas Gorge amazingly runs along it.

Sea Adventure

Sea Adventure

Sea Adventure

Nothing compares to feeling the sun kissing your skin, warm grains of sand between your toes and having your eyes in the limitless views of shimmering blue waters. This tranquil scene that awakens all your senses can be relished for most part of the year in Cyprus. Indulging yourself into trying out a new water sport will not only be a thrill but a memorable experience. Coral Bay Beach, Santa Barbara Beach, Pissouri Beach and the Protaras Beach are all Blue Flag beaches where one can take a dip in the warm Mediterranean Sea waters. Swimming, water skiing, snorkeling and sailing are some of the activities that you can enjoy in these calm and transparent waters.

Cycling

Cycling

Cycling

The rural terrain in Cyprus has attracted some world top road and mountain bike teams for trainings and competitions. The best time to tour the countryside is during spring. To make cycling even more fun, the Psokas Forest Reserve is a great place to be. A worth trip to book the nearest cheap tickets to Cyprus and see the Cyprus Moufflon, a rare wild sheep that can only be found on this island.

A steam Bath at Omerye Hamam

Omerye Hamam

Omerye Hamam

There was a time the Hamam e was the only public stem bath in the island’s capital Nicosia. The first was built by the Ottomans who ruled Cyprus. After being restored, it has become the ideal spot to step back in time after a busy day.

5 Best Places to Live in Amsterdam

The wonderful city of Amsterdam only started out as a modest fishing village to become one of the most noteworthy ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age. Today, it is not only the capital of Netherlands but a prominent financial center.
It is an exciting new step in life to move into Netherlands. In case you are wondering where to stay in Amsterdam, there are a number of places that are beautiful, have local amenities close by and are free of crime. The top 5 places to live in Amsterdam include;

5) Old South

Vondelpark Amsterdam

Vondelpark Amsterdam

The Old South is a posh area that is near the city center and provides well-maintained, spacious and privately owned houses. Duivelseiland is a good place here with restaurants, market shops and apartments. Parking is not as congested as in the center and waiting time for parking permits shorter. The Vondelpark has a variety of luxury shops, cafes and upscale restaurants to give the best of urban living with a suburban touch.

4) Plantage

Plantage Amsterdam

Plantage Amsterdam

In the 17th century, this is where the middle class citizens of Amsterdam would buy gardens to build garden houses. The area has remained true to its heritage since then. Plantage is home to the city’s zoo and botanical gardens and it is a quiet and leafy area. There are a number of grand buildings which are spacious making it an ideal place to live.

3) Westerpark

Westerpark Amsterdam

Westerpark Amsterdam

Westerpark is known mostly for its enormous park but recent regeneration have transformed it to become a chic place to live. Some new housing projects have provided affordable three and four bedroom apartments. It borders Jordaan and has easy access to the Amsterdam ring road and highways.

2) The Pijp

The Pijp

The Pijp

It is also known as the Latin Quarter of Amsterdam. Pijp is a multicultural district that is lively with long, narrow streets that are parallel. Government initiatives and city regeneration efforts have increased private home ownership opportunities here which benefit expatriates seeking accommodation in Amsterdam. You will find the city’s largest open air markets, the Albert Cuyp Market here and many eclectic restaurants and shops.

1) Jordaan

Jordaan Amsterdam

Jordaan Amsterdam

Jordaan is one of the coziest places to live and also the most expensive. Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht are the three main canals in Amsterdam that provide views of leafy trees and water. It is made up of small canals and streets that run perpendicular to the Prinsengracht. Jordaan hosts a variety of restaurants, cafes and markets that are usually open on Saturdays and Mondays. Parking in Jordaan is limited and quite expensive.
As you make the most of your time away from home, here are some very important cost decisions that you will eventually have to make;

  • The cost of location.
  • The cost of education for the children. The language of instruction is also something to consider.
  • Public transport and car costs. Parking is something to look into.
  • The cost of social life.
  • The cost of food.
  • The cost of TV, internet and other utilities.