Search Results for: Special Occasion
Friday, February 22, 2013
Who has not been captivated by tales of knights and dragons, of medieval feuds, battles and betrayals? Serving as the backdrop for each of these stories is a castle. Visiting a castle can provide a playground for the imagination, allowing the mind to revel in legend and lore. Walking through grand halls past suits of armor, torches and tapestries, one cannot fathom so many stories embedded in stone. More than a getaway from the stresses of everyday life, castles have the ability to transport visitors to another time.
Castles come in all states of repair. Many are still occupied and many more hang on in some state of ruin. Each has its own personality, calling out to some hidden part of our curiosity about times shrouded in mist. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the spirits of those who occupied the halls of Europe’s castles beckon to us, calling … Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Charlotte, North Carolina is commonly neglected by the multiple books and websites that create lists of the best places to visit. When people think of the state, a couple things usually come to mind: either the talented athletes at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and Duke University or the gleaming beaches of the Outer Banks.
What many do not realize is that Charlotte is a bustling metropolis and an important financial city of the United States. With the amount of money and residents that have been pouring in since Bank of America made the Queen City its home base, the cultural features have also expanded. Charlotte now offers a variety of activities for both locals and tourists alike to explore its rich historic and artistic aspects.
For Civil War buffs, the Levine Museum of the South offers details of how life in the area changed after the South surrendered. This museum … Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
If you want to explore an old city European town with a youthful vibe without bumping into one too many collegiate themed party scenarios, consider booking a fall trip to Ghent. Become infused with the energy of 32,000 students returning to the Ghent University, as the city gears up to welcome international musicians and other artists for its fall festival season.
If possible, try to catch the Festival of Flanders which celebrates its 55th season this year. Every year over 55,000 visitors converge on this city to hear over a hundred concerts presented by over 1,500 artists. Among this festival’s musical offerings include the “Avanti!” (a musical cycling tour), a Venetian ball, “KidsOdeGand” and “OdeGand” (the grand opening event). A listing of this year’s line-up which runs from September 15th through the 29th can be downloaded here.
While savoring the festival flavors, be sure to also take in … Read more
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Nothing quite surpasses nature’s design in southern California’s inland desert plains of cacti and boulders, bordered by rose and ochre mountains. At the same time, the modern world has contributed creatively in the flourishing towns that lie just off Highway 111 in this region. One such development on the human side that stands out these days is within Palm Desert, a desert community attuned to the civic and commercial benefits of a diverse art presence. For anyone visiting Palm Desert, here are some ways to access some of that local artistic and cultural innovation:
- Downtown Public Art – Palm Desert became the first in Riverside County to institute a public art program over two decades ago. Since then, city law has required all developers to place art in a publicly visible area or to pay a fee to the Art in Public Place fund for each new structure built.
… Read more
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Botswana, with a population of just over 2 million people, is one of the most sparsely populated countries on the planet. If it were a person, standing next to South Africa, boasting nearly 25 times that figure, it might feel inadequate. But the fact that it is so sparsely populated, more than anything, is an undeniable charm. There are few places in the world you can be comfortable with space – a sleepy city or a long stretch of road in a densely populated country feels more unnerving than anything else. A bit too B movie for comfort.
I arrive in Botswana on a crowded bus from Johannesburg, South Africa to Gaborone, the country’s capital, touching down in the middle of the night at a service station surrounded by eagerly awaiting taxi drivers. Much like my first point of entry – the service station – I soon find that the … Read more
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Sure, we’d all love to quit our jobs, run off to some unpronounceable locale and join the Peace Corps. But what if you can’t quit your job or commit to a 27-month stint away from home? Long-term placements aren’t for everyone, but don’t worry: they’re not the only option.
At the ripe old age of 17, I decided I wanted to backpack across Europe — by myself. After my parents recovered from their initial shock, my mother turned to Google and stumbled upon a little-known organization called Volunteers for Peace. Founded in 1982 as not-for-profit corporation dedicated to “promoting peaceful relations among nations,” VFP was accepted into the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service at UNESCO in Paris and its Board of Directors remains comprised of former volunteers and individuals committed to promoting peace through voluntary service projects.
Having never been a fan of follow-the-flag tourism, I knew … Read more
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The origins of its name are shrouded in some mystery: Delray Beach is said by some to derive from Spanish colonial times, while others suggest an even wider range of possible roots. What there is no doubt of nowadays is that this once sleepy southeastern-Florida coastal town has emerged to make its mark as a regional destination with its own distinct highlights. How it has managed to do so reveals a dedication to preserving the finest of its past while looking to the future by encouraging local fine dining, cultural, outdoor and active attractions along this stretch of Florida’s glittering shoreline.
What to See
Delray Beach stretches inland and eastward from the Atlantic for several miles, but most points of interest lie within easy walking distance or at most a short drive from downtown Atlantic Avenue, its main boulevard. Park along one of the side streets of Atlantic and west … Read more
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Many tourists in Italy make the fatal faux pas of ordering a cappuccino at the end of a meal, like after a pizza at lunchtime (a bit of a no-no in itself). A good waiter will swallow his pride and allow the tourist to swallow all that frothy milk on a full stomach, but as you have likely read elsewhere, it is considered a “rule” in Italy not to have a cappuccino after a certain hour.
After more than a decade of living in Italy, I can tell you that, despite its reputation for being a laid-back country, Italians follow a lot of rules … mostly centered on eating. And while outsiders can laugh about these rules, they seem to work: Italy is known worldwide for its great food, and Italians, in general, tend to be slim, attractive and enjoy particular longevity. You gotta figure they are doing something right. … Read more
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Many’s the time I’ve been traveling on a lonesome highway in the West and been mesmerized by George Strait’s song about this town tucked away in the Texas Panhandle. Here – as in nearby Oklahoma – the wind really does come sweepin’ down the plain. And so does a long string of surprises, among them the most legendary steakhouse in America, interesting museums, restaurants ranging from Route-66-diner to classic Mexican, sacred Native American spots, natural beauty and fascinating eco-systems…and the second-largest canyon in America.
If you’ve seen the magazine or TV ads for Texas, you’ve seen the symbol of Palo Duro Canyon: an incredible, multi-colored tower of rock looming over a canyon 120 miles long, up to 20 miles wide, and over 800 feet deep! The 5.75-mile (round-trip) Lighthouse Trail is the most scenic route to the top, and you’ll have the added benefit of working up quite a sweat. … Read more
Monday, April 23, 2012
Walking down Barcelona’s Passeig de Gracia the other day, I looked to the horizon and saw green. Spring had sprung while I was updating Twitter, and there it was suddenly, fresh and vibrant on Barcelona tree limbs! It’s hard to say when the people of Spain celebrate the most, as there are festivals and holidays galore throughout the year. However, spring seems to be one of the busiest seasons for fiesta in the country, kicking off with Semana Santa, or Easter Holy Week, and going strong until San Juan in June, a festival that marks the summer solstice. Here are three festivals worth observing during this vernal time.
Feria de Abril – April Fair in Seville
Sherry, bullfighting, and lots of polka dots and ruffles make the Feria de Abril one of Spain’s most famed festivals. What began as a livestock fair in 1846 is now the party in the … Read more
Friday, February 10, 2012
The word safari is Swahili for travel, trip or journey. In the travel industry, safari refers to a type of travel that typically involves these elements:
- At least one country in Africa
- Extensive sightseeing, with an emphasis on wildlife sightings
- An expert guide (although some self-guided safaris can be arranged, it is not recommended)
For animal and nature lovers, few types of travel are as rewarding as a safari. Many who have been will tell you that the countries of Africa connect with the human psyche like few other places… Africa is not a destination – it is a point of origin.
An African safari is a trip like no other. On safari you come face to face with creation in all its glory, with nature at its most untouched. Few people come away from a safari the same as they first arrived. A safari is an opportunity to travel … Read more
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
The Sunderbans Bengal Tiger Reserve takes some finding; and getting to it is no mean feat either as the three-hour road trip to Basanti from Kolkata is rough and regularly found my rickety taxi at the bottom of deep potholes which caused it to strain every metal sinew to escape, only to continue on a sea of corrugations that made it creak and rattle in protest.
I arrived at Basanti, where my ferry waited, in the white-hot haze of midday, Being the only white face, my guide soon found me. Niranjan Raptan, is a rugged and amiable fellow with a firm handshake and the look of a man who stood next-door to indestructible. Following formal introductions to the rest of the crew my bags were stowed. Niranjan encouraged me, the only passenger, to make myself comfortable on a thin cushion strategically placed in a shaded area of the deck. He pulled … Read more
Friday, December 16, 2011
Though best known for their colorful Carnival, Aruba has all kinds of cool festivals, annual events, and visitor-inclusive celebrations happening all year round!
Though Carnival lasts for three months, it really doesn’t matter when you visit Aruba as there are all kinds of gala events going on all year-round. And you need never worry about the weather for outdoor festivals: Aruba is outside of the hurricane belt and boasts a balmy average of 85 degrees with only 20 inches of rainfall per year! Here are some of the most popular offerings, but there are many more. Visit their tourism board calender of events (http://www.aruba.com/thingstodo/events.aspx) to discover what’s happening when you plan to visit and to check for updated information on dates and locations.
Carnival takes center stage on Aruba beginning from early January right through to March, bringing all 100,000 residents out into the streets to celebrate in high style. This is tropical glitter and pageantry at its finest, … Read more
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Trying new foods is one of the most wonderful aspects of travel and for some, the weirder, the better. Of course, few people ever get hooked on those fear factor foods that make for interesting travel tales and a fun Facebook photo – deep fried grasshoppers, beating cobra hearts, scorpion on a stick or a whole sheep’s head eaten out of the skull – but there are weird eats across the globe that actually taste good . Here are eight foods that sound all wrong, but taste so right.
Deep fried Mars Bar (Scotland)
Invented in a Scottish chip shop, the Deep Fried Mars Bar sounds like something that started as a drunken craving and should have remained that way. It’s a bold idea – you take one of planet Earth’s least healthy foodstuffs, a creation loaded with calories, sugar and fat, then you devise a way to make it … Read more