Throwback Thursday Photo: Madrid

Madrid, Spain, 2010

I miss my best friend who’s moved to China so I’m posting this in memory of our crazy trip to Madrid for New Year’s all those years ago. We had a blast! All our trips together were incredible adventures. The ones you can only share with a best friend:)

 

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4 Countries You’ll Want To Visit Again and Again

Climbing aboard an aircraft and jetting off to a new vacation spot is a thrill unlike any other. You sit back in your seat, imagining the delights that await you, and all the sights and sounds you’re going to experience for the first time. Visiting new places can make you feel like a true explorer, plotting your course around the globe and ticking off countries from your “places to visit” list. 

As wonderful as the above is, there are some countries that demand more. One visit just isn’t enough; as much as you want to venture forth to new countries, you find your mind constantly returning to a country you have visited before. One stay wasn’t enough; you want to go back, time and time again, and immerse yourself in a corner of the world so perfect that you could visit a thousand times and never get bored.

The countries that are capable of inspiring return visits are rare, but when you find one, you’ll be guaranteed a lifetime full of wonderful vacations. Of course, you’ll visit other places too, but some countries find a place in your soul that you just can’t shake. Below are four such countries that, for different reasons, have the power to keep pulling travellers back time and time again…

Iceland

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Wikipedia.org

Iceland is such a small country that it may seem like repeated visits are unnecessary, even when you consider the fact the landmass is continually growing. Is there really enough to experience in Iceland to warrant repeat visits? The simple answer is: yes. Iceland is a fascinating, geologically active country that is always changing. It’s the perfect choice for those who want to experience something new with every visit, but always be promised a relaxing, tranquil experience that allows you to marvel at all the wonders of the earth itself.

The ultimate must-see for Iceland: The Blue Lagoon is a truly incredible experience, and one you will find no issue with returning to time and time again. This geothermal spa is adored by thousands of visitors every year, and no matter how many times you do it, enjoying the naturally warm water juxtaposed with the cold air will never grow dull. What’s more, the Blue Lagoon is thought to have therapeutic properties, making repeated trips an excellent idea particularly if you suffer from a skin condition.

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Need A Holiday Within Your Comfort Zone? A Big City Vacation Could Be For You

Holiday destinations are a plenty out there in the world and people are trying to get more and more extravagant with their next destination, almost as if they’re trying to outdo each other. This is not a competition, this is a time to kick back and relax rather than compete. Instead of maniacally walking around with that touristic gait and snapping photos of every single thing that dares cross your camera lens, why not take it a bit easier and just get lost in a place where you have not been before? Now, there surely are some tropical islands out there which you have not explored before, but is one necessary to have fun on a holiday? There are beautiful cities out there with more things to do in them than you can shake a stick at, so if you don’t feel like leaving your comfort zone too much but still having a nice change of pace and scenery then a big city vacation could be just the thing you are looking for.

Image source : Pexels

City of London

What better place to start with, than the city that is often referred to as “The Capital of the World”? It’s hard to find one, that’s for sure. If you’ve never been to London, then consider yourself as missing out, because London is as unique, as it is familiar to the average westerner. The incredibly busy rush hour periods, flashing lights in Soho and cinemas a plenty in Leicester Square, and a majestic casino, The Hippodrome, adorning the corner just next to Covent Garden station. London is most certainly a mixed bunch, and you can thank both the local community, as well as the tourists for that. People come to visit London from all over the world, and some decided to stay, eventually opening up their own businesses and adding even more to the existing conglomerate known as the diversity of London. That said, the locals have most definitely gotten crafty over the years and are pushing businesses which tend to be rather unheard of, probably just because everything else here has already been seen and done to death. There are so many businesses looking for that new hit, but as well as that, you just have gigantic corporations thriving, for example, Primark which now has two gigantic stores on Oxford Street for whatever reason.

Image source: Pexels

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What Makes A Vacation Truly Worth It?

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Photo from Pexels

When it comes to choosing a vacation, figuring out the purpose of your intent is relatively easy to do. Different people head on vacation for different reasons. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to go about doing this, but there are things you can do that make your investment a little more worthwhile. But then, the question arises: what makes a vacation truly worth it?  We’d argue the following:

Learning

When you head to a new culture, your primary intent should be to learn a little about it. After all, heading to a location only for the weather is a relatively shallow way to go about things. You are free to invest in vacations and experience them how you like, of course, but if you make a little effort to sample the cuisine, meet the people, and learn a little of the history, the vacation becomes more of a full experience and you will feel a little more connected in the world you inhabit while there. Not only that, but you come back with some real, tangible, practical knowledge about the world you can share. It’s one thing to read about a country on Google, it’s quite another to see it for yourself. This kind of wisdom only comes through experience, and you’re sure to find plenty of it with this attitude.

Peace

Our daily lives can often be quite intense. This means that finding the best way to relax while on vacation might be a real priority for you. However, you will only enjoy this if you can truly figure out what activities to participate in. We’d recommend trying Yoga through TantraYogaThailand.com, heading for long walks such as replicating long pilgrimage walks, or simply heading to an environment such as Sweden or Japan that promotes beautiful and deep massages. Peace also comes through the people you visit with and the memories you share.

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My English memories: Ipswich

Ipswich, England
Ipswich

I have been feeling rather nostalgic lately. Maybe because it’s ten years since my work & life experience in England. During that time I explored as much as I could of East Anglia which is where I lived. Ipswich was one of the first cities I visited. I went there by train for a day trip without a fixed plan of what to do and see. After this first day trip I visited Ipswich again to meet up with some new acquaintances but I haven’t really been to any museums or done any proper sightseeing. What I have done actually was to shop at Primark 🙂 I know, I know, there are a lot of people who belittle this brand but I still have a top I bought for only 2£ ten years ago.

Ipswich is the biggest town in East Anglia and it’s situated on the estuary of the river Orwell. The first thing I noticed on my day trip to Ipswich when compared to other smaller towns in Suffolk was the number of people in the streets and a greater feel of cosmopolitanism. I came across the Ancient House with its beautiful pargeting  and the Town Hall. I liked the old houses on the high street and the choice of shops. I also saw Ipswich’s waterfront and the marina. It was a leisurely day trip for sure.

Ipswich
Ancient House

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Carnival parade in Rijeka

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Rijeka is the third biggest Croatian city and its main seaport. Rijeka has also been announced as European Capital of Culture for 2020. The craziest time of the year to visit Rijeka is during the carnival or the so-called fifth season. The International Carnival Parade had its humble beginnings back in 1982 when only three masked groups paraded through the city. Now, more than a hundred masked groups from Croatia and other countries entertain more than a 150 000 visitors with their colourful costumes. The tradition of wearing a mask in the period before Lent in this region of Croatia goes back centuries. The most traditional costume is that of Zvončarimen wear animal skins and horns and big bells to scare away the winter and welcome in the spring. Zvončari are on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. You can see how they look like here.

A month of carnival activities includes Rijeka Carnival Queen Pageant, a masked ball, carnival dances, children’s carnival parade and carnival snowboard session in the center of the town as well as a masked car rally. The culmination of all this is the International Carnival parade which begins at noon and lasts until the evening. This year it was held on 11 February. Since we went with our baby we didn’t stay long so I don’t have a lot of photos to share with you. Therefore, I’m posting also some photos from the carnival of 2015.

I’m sure you’ve heard about Venice Carnival and Rio de Janeiro Carnival but now you also know about Rijeka Carnival. What distinguishes this carnival from all the others is that groups mainly make their own costumes which can be inspired by tradition, popular books and movies and quite often by the current political situation. For the locals the procession of Zvončari around suburbs of Rijeka and nearby villages is more important than the more recent carnival events. However, the main event for the tourists is the International Carnival Parade.

Photos from 2018 International Carnival Parade

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America The Wild: Escape It All Like Never Before

When you think America, you think big, bold, brash and, dare we say it, spoiled. It’s New York with its cloud-tickling skyscrapers, it’s Los Angeles with its star-speckled pavements and Hollywood hills, it’s the Windy City of Chicago, the beating heart of politics that is Washington DC and the Florida beaches saturated with beautiful people who haven’t lost the ability to make roller-skating look cool.

What we’re saying is, despite how massive America is, there is barely an inch that hasn’t been touched by civilization. What we’re saying is, there’s nowhere in America you can run-off to and just escape it all – the people, the highways, the cities, the everything.

Or is there?

Now it may not seem like much at first, but 5% of America is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. That’s 109 million acres. With that in mind, we’ve picked the most breathtaking parts of natural America, where man and woman are still considered to be visitors. So, if you are all about travelling in ultimate luxury, turn back now, otherwise, enjoy these hidden gems.

  1. The River Of No Return, Idaho

If you’re looking for pristine wilderness, then this is it and, what’s more, it’s slap bang in the centre of Idaho, which means you can get to it from almost anywhere. What’s there? Well, to sum it up, you have the world-famous whitewater Salmon River, a gorge that cuts into the earth deeper than the Grand Canyon, gorgeous mountains and 1.5 million acres of wilderness that have no formal trails whatsoever. Whether you’re looking for an adventure or silence, this place is special.

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