Post Date May 29

The Culture Spots of New York

The Culture Spots of New YorkFamous around the world for its beautiful sights and bustling atmosphere, New York is one of the most cultural places on earth. If you’re planning on taking in the wonders of this much celebrated city, make sure to include some of the culture spots listed below on your itinerary.

Walk Among the Statues of Central Park

In Central Park Mall, you can walk among statues celebrating the greats of the literary world from American poet Fitz-Greene Halleck to English playwright William Shakespeare. Known as the Literary Walk, the statues here stand tall on stone plinths either side of the much-photographed Central Park Mall flanked by beautiful elm trees, which is a sight in itself. Central park is also home to various war memorials dedicated to those who fought in WW1, including one near 5th Avenue celebrating the 107th Infantry Brigade.

Visit the Former Home of One of America’s Most Influential Writers

Keeping with the literary theme, it’s possible to visit the former residence of American poet Edgar Allen Poe while out in The Bronx. Now called the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage, this is where he spent his final years while writing such poems as Ulalume and The Bells. An interesting thing to note is that the cottage has been the subject of much debate over the years since Poe’s death as to how to preserve its heritage, and it has since moved from its original location.

Experience the History of Grand Central Terminal for Free

Grand Central Terminal is the heart of transportation in New York, but look up and around while in this building and you will see the main attraction. Etched into the walls of this cavernous space is a rich history that tells the story of New York. The ceiling, particularly, has an astronomical pattern reflecting the skies above. Look closely and you will be able to spot little details in this ceiling which represent significant events of New York’s past, such as the small dark circle above Pisces left there by the Redstone Missile.

Take a Trip on Broadway

Walk this famous theatre district of New York where many of the most respected actors in the world plied their trade and still do to this day. There are many tours available to take you along Broadway while detailing the history and stories that have made this location so well known and highly regarded today, including surviving the Great Depression and competing with the advent of Motion Picture. While out in New York visiting sites such as Broadway and taking in the culture, it’s wise to have Holiday insurance to cover all eventualities and to ensure a dream trip doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

Take in the Culture of New York

Of course, there is much more to see in New York beside the activities listed above, but if you want to experience the culture of New York then places like Grand Central Terminal are a great start.

 

Post Date May 21

South Africa’s Garden Route

Lovely drive! A great thing to exclaim when you’ve got yourself a vehicle and some exploring time. There are many lovely drives around the world from Australia’s Great Ocean Road to Canada’s Cabot Trail. They tend to give breath taking views and an immersion into the local life. As stunning as the wild views can be, sometimes, getting a little more civilized along the way is good too. This is where South Africa’s Garden Route stands out. Not only does this self-driver provide sweeping vistas of the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua Mountains, it also features wineries, quaint little villages, artisan communities as well as cities. Stopping often is necessary because keeping your eyes strictly on the road will allow many wildlife view opportunities to slip by. Whether it is the abundance of birds on the forest side or the near to shore presence of southern right and humpback whales, bottlenose and common dolphins, or killer whales, you will probably want to take a minute or two off the road.

Garden Route

Photo Credit: atlanticstorm (Christopher_Griner)

While it is a lovely drive, it will take a little more planning than getting in the car and heading out. It is in South Africa, which will require a little more planning, unless you are currently in South Africa. Since you are likely to fly there, you might as well stick around for a little while. The drive generally fills about four days, depending on how much meandering you are prone to while on vacation, so you are likely to have some extra days before or after. South Africa is more than just the Garden Route and worth spending sometime poking around the country. A good starting point is to check out online resources like eShores because they have various South Africa holidays that feature the Garden Route. This is a great way to build an itinerary for yourself or to let someone else do all the planning.

Travel Planning

Photo Credit: HighTechDad

The Garden Route is blessed with one of the mildest climates in the world. This means picking the wrong season is impossible, there is no wrong season. There is no brown dry season, or nasty sideways rain season. You should still pack a brolly because it can rain anytime of the year which is what keeps the drive lovely. Ocean breezes and lush forests make for a comfortable backdrop to the drive. At the same time, the mild weather will also make the numerous little bays inviting for a dip in the ocean a regular temptation, so pack the swim costume too.

Swim Costume

Photo Credit: ChrisL_AK

Post Date Mar 24

Ahoy, Not Your Parents’ Love Boat

Ocean Race

Planning a cruise is typically for the retired or nearly retired set it seems. Short distances to walk, non-stop food, carefully planned entertainment schedules and a drive-by view of exotic locations. Exactly what a person who wants to travel and rack up the countries on the visited list could want. Luxurious and convenient. Well, that is the media image left over from The Love Boat days. There is all kinds of marketing to tell you that it is fun and family now but deep down, you think that taking a cruise means you are really travelling.

The Classic Cruise

Photo Credit: lyng883

There are other options that involve getting on a boat for your time away from work and the shore. For one, the network of river boats in Europe that will give you unique views of different countries is worth considering. From taking river cruises on the Douro for a chance to sample wine along the way, to cycle and cruising trips on the Danube where you get your exercise while enjoying some fine food and wine, put you much closer to the countryside than any of the ocean going bulks will ever get you. River cruising also comes without the waves and rough weather that can make ocean cruises a nightmare rather than the advertised dream. The land is right there beside you the whole time if thoughts of open water is frightening.

Waves

Photo Credit: sub_lime79

If safety and the sight of land are what you are trying to avoid, then there are the other end of cruising to checkout. Everything from comfortable crew charters in the Mediterranean where you get to play sailor for a week under the watchful eye of a seasoned captain as you island hop from taverna to taverns, to signing up for open ocean racing on clipper ships where you serve for a leg or for all the ways around the world. Extreme open water adventures or even having a bit of a job while on board can not be confused with the grey haired floating hotel experience that cruising brings to mind.

Ocean Race

Photo Credit: jeanfrancois beausejour

Post Date Mar 18

Far From Home?

Magical China

Asian travel still has a sense of mystery for many especially when compared to hopping across the channel for a weekend lunch in Paris or Brussels. The rules are different. The language is different. The food may be inscrutable. The signs will baffle some. It certainly isn’t Blackpool. That is exactly the reason to step out of a comfort zone and try something different. There can be magical China holidays just as much as there are screams from the young ones for holidays at the Magic Kingdom.

Magical China

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Naming some of the countries like, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Burma, Nepal, India will stir ideas of exotic, foreign or mysterious adventures. It is most likely that any memories of childhood stories from Tin-Tin or Kipling are far from the modern reality for any of these countries. It doesn’t make travel in Asia any less magical, it just means that the magic will be heady mix of ancient and modern. Monks with smart phones texting their friends. The largest networks of high speed trains winding their way between millennium-old cities. Memorials to wars both modern and ancient. Travel in Asia extends the juxtaposition between old and new further than anywhere else in the world.

High Speed Train

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Then there is the food. While many of the flavours and styles will cause a strict meat and potato lover to blanch. The possibility that sushi or century eggs are the only thing to eat can scare away some. Bugs and eye-balls are mostly for show and even picky eaters with a talented guide are likely to find out that they are not going to starve. It may not be Sunday roast but clay pot pork or a steaming bowl of ramen can go a long way to fill the belly. Chicken from the grill is a standard everywhere in the world and just a little sense of adventure may just push the envelop for people’s palette in a good direction. The new reality is this may not be the problem, now that the curry takeaway is more popular than the chippy for a late night snack. Traveling in Asia may feel more like a quest for the mother of dish that spawn all late night cravings.

Delicious Ramen

Photo Credit: avlxyz

Post Date Mar 15

Catching a Break

Cup of Tea

Journey, travel, getaway, vacation or holiday can all mean the same thing or be slight variations for different people. Some is language regionalization, or the peculiarities of family history that defines how you interpret each of the words. In the end, it is about taking a break from the regular routine, reconnecting with yourself, your family, or friends. It doesn’t matter if you need to book holiday rental cottages in The New Forest to accommodate a family reunion or if the goal is to be the toast of the town while chasing down the best in London nightlife, you aren’t following the same old, same old.

Same Old, Same Old

Photo Credit: star5112

Where you go and where you stay when you get there will define what that valuable break looks like. The cozy cottage, nestled in a quaint town, surrounded by forrest can bring the centring, rejuvenating energy to your time off. The glitzy party suite steps from the club scene will provide the space to completely blow off excess energy. Tailoring the type of accommodation you are looking for can set the tone for the entire experience. A nondescript concrete bunker on the side of the motorway is unlikely to offer much more of an experience that a place to sleep and shower.

Friendly Motel

Photo Credit: cliff1066™

Knowing what you want from your time off is important before you start searching for a place to stay. Once you’ve arrived at a lovely family-friendly campground is a bad time to realize you wanted to be in the heart of a city with pubs and clubs at your doorstep. Trying to get the little ones to sleep early while the bass is just starting to thump from the club below your room is unlikely to lead to anything like relaxation. It is the questions and the honest answers before your travels that will set the tone for your experience. It may even be a simple thing like, I really would like a kettle in the room because a little cup of tea whenever I want makes the day so much better.

Cup of Tea

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

When the criteria is set, it makes knowing you are done searching easier. You aren’t chasing down the perfect experience that belonged to someone else. You are finding exactly what you want, and when everything aligns you are done. It doesn’t matter that some random person at work tells you about the amazing place they stayed on their last trip. It was their amazing trip and you are planning your amazing trip for yourself. One is not better than the other objectively, only subjectively and that is what matters for your break.