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by Jerry

Choosing A Water Filter For Travel

December 9, 2018 in Blog

When people travel abroad whether it is for a holiday or for business, many will pack the usual items such as toiletries and clothing. Some even purchase travel insurance. Most, though, never plan what they’ll be eating or drinking when they travel. Knowing what you’ll be eating or drinking, however, is probably more important than the clothes you’ll be bringing along. If you have ever gotten food poisoning, you’ll know what an inconvenience it is and how costly it can be. No one would enjoy being hospitalized in a foreign country during their holiday or business trip.

You may be able to avoid food poisoning by ensuring that the establishment you patronize is clean and hygienic. To further guard against it, avoid uncooked or partially cooked meals altogether. So that covers the food. What about the drink? Do you know what is in the water you drink? Many people incorrectly assume that tap water is safe to drink and is clean, clear, pure, and safe. Scientific and environmental studies have shown otherwise. Even if the water from a water source appears to be clear, clean, and safe to drink, consuming water from unknown sources or in countries where potable water cannot be taken for granted could be hazardous to your health.

The potential for harmful chemicals (mercury, lead, arsenic, etc), bacteria, fungi, parasites, rust and other contaminants residing in water is growing worldwide. The kind of fresh uncontaminated water available a hundred years ago is harder and more expensive to obtain due to industrialization and a growing population. If the proper precautions aren’t taken to treat the water, drinking contaminated water can cause severe illness or disease, even death.

That’s where water filters come in. Water filters and water filtration systems have become a popular solution lately for tap water. The right filter will not only treat bad tasting tap water but will also treat contaminated water.

People take a variety of actions to treat the water they drink at home. They may:

– Install faucet filters, sink filters or a complete home water filtration system
– Pour the water through pitchers with a canister filtration systems such as Brita before drinking

All these may work well for drinkable water in developed countries where water from the tap is for the most part, safe to drink. Depending on where you go, whether you are camping or in a foreign country, taking the necessary precautions to treat your water prior to drinking is highly recommended. Boiling water does not remove the contaminants within. A portable water filter comes in very handy for such cases. For the mobile warrior, a water bottle with a built in water filtration system may do just the trick.

Not all water filters, however, are created equal. Would you trust your life as well as your loved ones with just any water filter to get the emergency water you need? Consider this, if you had to go so far as to obtain water from an unknown river or source, would the water be drinkable after water treatment? With so many water filters available, how do you know what’s best? Here are some things to consider:

– What companies or organizations endorse or use the product
– What independent studies or tests has the water company done to demonstrate the ability of their water purifier to remove contaminants
– What government bodies have approved the treatment methods
– What strict quality guidelines do they follow in the manufacture of these water purifiers
– How does the purified water taste after treatment
– How many specific contaminants does it remove
– What bacteria or fungi can it remove

All these are important questions to answer. Be sure to look closely at their product specifications. So, before you go on any trip to a foreign country, remember to pack along with you a proven water treatment system all contained within the convenience of a water bottle.

Experience the Turkish influence in the Balkans

December 7, 2018 in Blog

 Welcome to the place where civilizations meet! Welcome to the Balkans! By observing every aspect of people’s lives in the Balkans, Turkey’s cultural influence is hard to miss.

 

Going back through history, you’ll notice that five centuries long Turkish domination left the mark on cuisine, culture, music, language and even gestures in many Balkan countries. If you visited Greece, you couldn’t miss the strong Turkish influence in food and not to try ‘their’ “baklava” and “moussaka”, while sightseeing through many other Balkan countries will make you think twice whether you’re in Turkey or some other country. When we talk about Balkan music, we must admit you that almost all music hits are adaptations of Turkish songs.

Religion

The Turkish influence in the Balkans can be seen not only in these aspects but also in the aspect of religion. For example, Serbian Muslims from the region of Sandžak still keep Turkish tradition and their way of living. Women from this part of Serbia wear ‘hijab’ while men strictly respect all Islamic rules. Going through Bosnia, you’ll also see different ways of living- both Islamic and Christian. The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, perfectly reflects the history and Turkish architecture, while Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, attracts tourists to visit marvelous Turkish fortress “Kalemegdan”. Since Kalemegdan is located in the heart of the city, it’s impossible to miss this breathtaking place. And…yes! The word ‘Kalemegdan’ is derivated from the Turkish language also. We guess that you also didn’t know that Belgrade had 114 Mosques while being under their boot. Serbian language and especially Bosnian has more than 3.000 Turkish words. Words like jok- no, sarma-Turkish dish, dzezva-coffee pot, kapija- gate, burek, baklava, fildzan- coffee mug, chorba-soup, can be heard on every corner.

Maybe you wouldn’t believe us, but thanks to the Turks, Europeans today enjoy the World’s most famous morning drink- coffee!  It came to Europe after the Battle of Mohacs (1526) in the Kingdom of Hungary when Suleiman the Magnificent took the win against the Hungarian army guided by Louis II (Hungarian-Lajos II). When the group of Hungarian parliamentarians went to sign a contract of peace, an unpleasant surprise was waiting for them.

How the coffee became popular?

As Turks were famous (and they’re still famous) as great hosts, they decided to serve a traditional black domestic coffee to their guests. Since Hungarians haven’t tried anything like that before, the Turkish coffee wasn’t anything else than an awful ‘black soup’ and a great humiliation. Fortunately, people have become crazy for this drink, so today Europeans can enjoy the scent and taste of this drink every day.

Travel to Frankfurt

December 3, 2018 in Blog

Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt on Main), situated in Central Germany, the fifth biggest city in Germany, is an attractive destination in Europe. Frankfurt got its name around AD 500, when the Franks ruled the area and the settlement along the Main Fort transportation route became known as ‘Franconovurd’.

The city is the financial heart not only of Germany but also of the whole European Union, playing important role in world economy. It’s been a major banking city ever since the Rothschilds opened their first bank here in 1798. Frankfurt also has a leading stock exchange.

It is home to the European Central Bank and many other banks but it also have thousands of companies, including the moguls of the German publishing industry, as well as a number of companies involved in public relations, marketing, media and telecommunications.

No other European city has so many skyscrapers like Mainhattan – a nickname referring to the exciting skyscrapers and business style. During a major event of Frankfurt, the Wolkenkratzer-Festival, skyscrapers are open to the public and spectacular laser and fireworks shows highlight the buildings at night. Frankfurt is also known as ‘the most American city in Europe’.

Frankfurt is the city with the highest percentage of immigrants in Germany: with over 51% immigrants or Germans who are the children of immigrants. It is the most diverse of all the German cities.

For tourists Frankfurt does offer some sights, some good restaurants in the Nordend, several artistic and cultural events, and excellent shopping opportunities. Sightseeing opportunities are mostly centralized in the historical core of the city, known as the Romerberg, where Charlemagne erected his fort in medieval times.

Frankfurt is also a major communications and transport center, it is well known for its airport, the fourth busiest one in Europe.

This vivid city has many things to do, one of the most important and world-famous events are the international trade fairs and trade exhibitions like International Book Fair (Buchmesse Frankfurt), ACHEMA (chemical engineering, environmental protection and biotechnology), International Automobile Exhibition (Internationale Automobilausstellung) and so on.

Frankfurt is also famous for its ‘Goethe-Haus’, the house where Goethe was born, next to the Goethe museum. The ‘Zoologische Garten’, Frankfurt’s large zoo, contains more than 400 animals. Or if you are interested in botany, you can check ‘Botanischer Garten’ which have about 5000 botanical species.

As for the weather, Frankfurt’s climate is continental. The summers are warmer and the winters can get very cold. June and July are the wettest months and the highest temperatures are in July and August. It is recommended to visit the city in autumn, or in spring.

Travel to Central America

December 3, 2018 in Blog

Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Central America offers travelers the opportunity to visit one of the world’s most amazing ecological and cultural destinations. Central America is home to beautiful jungles, sandy beaches, waterspouts like surfing and SCUBA diving, and some of the western hemispheres most hospitable resort destinations.

While Central America has experienced a tumultuous past that includes colonial exploitation and violent uprisings, travelers who visit today will experience relative safety. For those visitors who choose to travel South America, each country offers a unique experience that will engage and entertain them.

Check out the following countries and attractions when you travel South America:

Belize:
By far, the most stable country in Central America, Belize was created for travelers seeking a Caribbean flavor with a mainland location. In fact, most visitors agree that Belize has more in common with islands of the Caribbean than with its more volatile Central American neighbors. Home to a 180 mile long barrier reef, Belize is a SCUBA and snorkeling enthusiasts dream.

Guatemala:
Despite its reputation for social and political repression, travelers flock to the Central American country of Guatemala in an effort to see its natural wonders. Huge volcanoes and the regions highest concentration of Mayan ruins draw visitors to this turbulent nation.

El Salvador:
With the civil war of the 1980s long over, El Salvador is now transformed into a traveler-friendly destination with huge natural volcanoes. Travelers should certainly visit places like the Montecristo Cloud Forest, which receives over 80 inches of rain annually, and the capital city of San Salvador.

Honduras:
Honduras may appear to be a true banana republic, but travel there is easy, enjoyable and inexpensive. The slow pace, natural beauty and low-profile tourism make it particularly appealing to travelers who enjoy getting off the beaten track.

Nicaragua:
This troubled Central American nation is rebuilding after years of war. Travelers are drawn there by its wondrous natural landscapes and vast natural treasures.

Costa Rica:
Known as the most stable and ecologically stunning nation in Central America, Costa Rica is the most successful tourist destination in the region. By embracing a very progressive attitude towards the preservation of the environment, visitors who travel Costa Rica can experience the amazing natural wonders of the Central American region. With miles of beautiful coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica provides surfing and snorkeling for its guests. The rain forest of inland Costa Rica is home to monkeys, sloths, crocodiles and exotic birds as well as some rare and endangered plant species, as well.

Panama:
Except for the world famous Canal that bears the country’s name, Panama is largely overshadowed by its neighbors as a popular destination for Central American travelers. Those who do choose to visit Panama will be enthralled by numerous natural and cultural wonders that should not be overlooked. Visitors should be sure to experience the nations native birds and the thrill of off-shore deep-sea fishing.

Often Mistakes Tourists Make in Bangkok

November 30, 2018 in Blog

Thailand has become a real tourist force in recent years. Its wild spirit, fascinating tourist attractions, and delicious cuisine never left anyone indifferent.

Otherwise called ‘Venice of the East’, the city of Bangkok never sleeps. This fascinating capital city of two sides (rich and poor) offers you to experience both of them. However, these are some of the most common “mistakes” tourists make in Bangkok that should definitely be avoided.

 

Scams

Scams are very common in Phuket and Bangkok. Do not listen to people who want to “inform you” that the attraction you are planning to visit is closed. It often happens that they want to offer you a personalized tour at ‘’a much lower price’’.

Street food

Carefully choosing food and drinks when you’re in a foreign country is always a good idea. However, when it comes to street food in Bangkok, it definitely shouldn’t be missed. We are sure you’ll experience some of the best Thai specialties in street food kiosks. On the other hand, you also need to make sure the kiosk you’ve chosen is clean and proven quality.

Monks’ seats

Many seats in buses, metro, boats and even airports are reserved only for monks. You may often see signs that inform you about this. Always make sure that you did

Bangkok has two airports

This may seem like an initial mistake, but in reality, it happens very often that passengers go to the wrong airport. Not all people know that Bangkok has two international airports – the bigger one- Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and the smaller one- Don Mueang (DMK).

Insulting

Thais are known as a gentle, and very polite nation. You need to be especially careful not to insult their king or the royal family. It is strictly punishable by Thai law. Do not insult the Buddhist religion, dress appropriately when visiting temples, do not turn your feet to statues and images of the Buddha (or to other people, it’s very rude!). Always put your feet hidden below your legs when sitting in Buddhist temples.

Public transport

Bangkok’s public transport is a great experience and can be considered one of the most popular city attractions. Skytrain (BTS) and Metro (MRT) are modern, air-conditioned and clean transport systems. There is also a line from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the city, which is a great option, especially at the time of the traffic jam.
Bangkok’s river transport offers you to visit luxurious hotel complexes along the Great Palace and the famous Khao San Road along the Chao Praya River for less than a dollar. This type of transport is great for sightseeing and getting an authentic life experience in Bangkok.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel China – Beautiful Lijiang

November 28, 2018 in Blog

Lijiang is an and quaint town in Yunan, a province of China which is well endowed with magnificent and beautiful mountains, rivers and a long history. The ancient Lijiang county was put into the list of world cultural legacy by the World Legacy Committee of the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization in 1997.

The city of Lijiang has a history of 800 years or 900 years dating from the Sung Dynasty. Why is Lijiang one of the most beautiful city in the world? Firstly, it is one of the very few city which is over a mile high above sea level. Smacked in the middle of the Lijiangba Dam, surrounded by snowcapped mountains and a river that runs through an oriental forest with small streams meandering into the town. Some tourists even called the town “Heaven On Earth”.

Lijiang experienced an earth shattering 7 on the Richter scale earthquake on February 1996 which killed more than 5,000 people mainly the Naxi community being the major community in Lijiang. Since then, Lijiang caught the attention of the world and tourism growth was unprecedented. As such, Lijiang is now one of the most favoured tourist travel destination in China.

Most residents in Lijiang are of the Naxi tribe. The Naxi community makes a living by herding yaks and doing small retail businesses. The construction of the ancient Lijiang city was quickly developed in the Ming Dynasty. This is especially so because the Ming Dynasty made a large number of people in Anhui Province to migrate into Lijiang in order to station military troops and common people in the boundary areas.

As a result of this mass migration, the buildings of Lijiang ancient city were very much influenced by the architectural style of Anhui Province. The original buildings of the Naxi community can only be found in the rural areas surrounding Lijiang City.

The Yuan dynasty and the Mongol Emperor then, Kublai Khan stationed military troops in Lijiang in 1253. He brought the foreign culture alien to Lijiang and thus Lijiang was then influenced by the culture Central China, such as Buddhism and Taoism, and then affected by the Christianity and Islamic culture in the early 1900s. The Naxi community assimilated all these cultures. As such, Lijiang is also very much appreciated for its cultural landscape not only in China, but the entire Asia.

Millions of tourists travel to Lijiang each year to enjoy Lijiang’s primitive simplicity, tranquility and elegant culture.The folks at Lijiang enjoy music too. You can hear the beautiful music from the dwelling houses in Dayanzhen Town. The musicians carry their often home made musical instruments to take part in household parties all over the town.

The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang is perhaps one the most beautiful mountain range in the world, famous for its perilous, beautiful and breathtaking landscapes. The mountain is a world class tourist scenic spot. The peak of the Jade Dragon Mountain is some 5596 meters (about 17,000 ft) above sea level. The mountain’s thirteen peaks viewed from south to north look just like a flying giant Chinese dragon. A very formidable view indeed.

So if you are travelling to China, don’t miss the quaint city of Lijiang.

by Jerry

Safari Travel Tips

November 27, 2018 in Blog

Before stepping on that plane for a marvelous safari adventure, plan like there’s no tomorrow. You will thank your self for being precautious when faced with untoward incidents.

Here are the important things you should consider when going on a safari travel:

1. Remember that it is one challenging endeavor.

Planning a safari can be one of the most exciting feats one can ever manage to make happen. It is not one of the generic travels, usual jetsetters indulge in. Though you are provided with a tour brochure and a tourist guide, it still is better to research on your own regarding the various itineraries.

2. Best spots for safari should be spotted.

The most suggested parts of Africa to enjoy safari include East and Central Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands.

3. Prepare for the climate.

It is a must to know the seasonal trends and how they will affect your travel. But also remember that the weather is fickle-minded so you can never really accurately predict the outcome of your travel if you will base it one the weather alone.

If you are going to visit East and Central Africa, long rains start early in April to early June. Short rains abound during late November to December.

Southern Africa has its rainy season from late November through mid-April for the safari areas. However, during that time, it will be summer in Southern Cape.

When one prefers Indian and Ocean Islands he or she can expect the seasonal trend to be more like of that of Southern Africa. In these islands, summer rains last from November through April. Cyclones can also be experienced during those seasons. From May to October, the dry season occurs.

4. Choose your activities.

Among others, safari traveling offers these fun-filled activities:

a. gorilla trekking
b. sailing
c. birdwatching
d. participatory camping
e. self driving

5. Know what you can afford.

When choosing a trip, budget constraints should never be overlooked. Decide on a price range that you can work on. To make your budgeting more effective consider the level of luxury of your safari travel, length of your trip, activities, accommodations preferences, meals and season.

6. Determine your travel style.

Do you prefer your safari to be more luxurious, moderate or rustic? Will you let kids tag along? Are you traveling with a group or will you be one bold, independent traveler? Will you travel by air or road? What about your guide and your vehicle?

Answering those questions will more or less improve your overview of your dream safari travel.

Have fun!

by Lauren

A Travel Guide For Cologne

November 25, 2018 in Blog

Cologne is the four most populated cities in Germany. These days the city is a beautiful cultured destination with great leisure facilities, pubs and shops. However, during WWII, Cologne was heavily bombed and damaged. After years of restoration work it has been rebuilt to portray the wonderful historic Roman city it use to be.

Traveling to Cologne
Flying is the recommended choice of transport as the city has Cologne-Bonn Konrad Adenauer Airport located 10km from the centre. Also, for people arriving from countries that are outside Europe, Frankfurt Airport is the closest and provides transfers for the 200km journey. Trains and large roads make it easy to get to the city via other methods.

Accommodation in Cologne
Hotels are the most popular choice of accommodation in Cologne. However, check for the festival dates as this can seriously affect the availability of rooms. Hotels are great as they offer different classes of rooms and are conveniently situated around the city.

A Brief History of Cologne
Cologne has a vast history as it is the eldest city in Germany. The city has great importance in Roman History as it is one of four sanctified cities that formed the north corner spot of the Empire.

At the beginning of the thirteenth century Cologne was renowned for being the largest fortified city in the world. However, it has been changed around a lot since then as 90% of Cologne was destroyed during WWII.

City Attractions and Sights
Since the heavy bombing in WWII, restoration efforts have seen the city burgeon into the historic Roman centre that it used to be. The Cologne Cathedral that was originally established in 1248 was rebuilt to its previous state. It is an important feature of the city and one of the worlds most impressive Cathedrals.

If you are interested in museums then head for the Aldstadt city’s most famous museums are such as the Museum Ludwig. For relaxation check out Claudius Spa that is found in the Rheinpark area although, you will need a car to make the journey.

Shopping in Cologne
Cologne has a great range of shops that cater for everybody’s needs. The most popular shopping areas are in the centre of the city. Other smaller streets that head out of the centre have more unique shops and indoor markets. The shopping areas are sectioned off for pedestrians, attractive and well laid out.

Food and Drink
Cologne has a great range of top quality restaurants that offer all kinds of international food. There are also numerous attractive cafes and bars as well as all takeaway options.

by Julie

Spain As A Shopping Travel Destination

November 23, 2018 in Blog

It may not be on the top of your list when you think of shopping travel destinations, but Madrid has the best of Spain to offer in its shops. If you are looking for upscale chic shopping experiences, there are a number of exclusive shops available in the city. If more organic shopping is your style, there are flea market atmospheres or a number of quaint antique shops available for perusing.

The main shopping area in Madrid is the Gran Via. This street is full of shops that seemingly never close. Even when the night life kicks up, there is still shopping to be done in this area in many of the stalls around the Plaza Mayor. A word of caution, make sure you know how to bargain. Some of these booths are just looking to make a buck off those in the tourism market and are selling the same tourist junk you can buy at any airport kiosk. Look around, and look for a good deal.

If you love the idea of shopping in the open air visit El Rastro, the massive outdoor flea market in Madrid. In addition to the same touristy things you expect to find everywhere, there are treasures to be found including jewelry, old books, clothes and antiques that need new homes. If you are in the area on a Sunday there is also a coin and stamp fair nearby.

Check out the La Latina Metro Stop. This is located between the Ronda De Toledo and the Plaza de Cascorro and Ronda de Toledo. You will know you are there when you see the massive Eloy Gonzalo statue in the center of Cascorro Square.

This place is packed on the weekends, as it is a travel destination, but while the crowds are big, so are the deals to be had! There are many, many shopping opportunities. There is also some shopping potential during the week, but not nearly as lively an experience as on the weekend.

Want the latest in style and fashion? Then you want the Alcal­ area. You will be able to roam from boutique to boutique filled with dresses, shoes, and all the latest accessories. If you are using the metro as your transport, get off at the Sol or Sevilla.

Another fancy shopping destination is Calle Serrano. This street is full of the finest in shopping including art, gifts and a variety of designer clothing items. You can find a precious gift for yourself, and don’t forget to get something for those back at home that were not lucky enough to be vacationing in Madrid.

The high fashion shopping in Madrid is not just for women. Both genders of the tourism market are appreciated where fashion is concerned. The Calle Princessa, which can be accessed by the Argelles and Ventura Rodriguez metro stops, is lined with a number of men’s boutiques selling suits, accessories and shoes for the classiest of men.

For a quaint shopping experience, try the Calle Preciados. It is a shopping area that is only accessible by walking. To get there, take the Metro to Sol.

Finally get a real feel of Spain at the Mercado de San Miguel. This was once just a fish market, but now it offers a wide variety of foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other delectable items to experience.

Romantic winter destinations

November 20, 2018 in Blog

It’s widely known that winter holidays are traditionally celebrated in the family. However, thanks to the magical atmosphere that adorns many European countries in this period, the time around New Year’s Eve and Christmas seems perfect for going on romantic trips.

Buying gifts, drinking hot chocolate or mulled wine after a long walk on the snow, visiting traditional Christmas markets, ice skating, and chariot-riding are only some of the activities you can enjoy in these European cities.

Strasbourg, France

This gorgeous city on the river Rhine is situated next to the German border. It is home to the oldest Christmas store in France that every year gathers hundreds of tourists. Among the compulsory activities are the romantic meeting on skates, listening to the Christmas concerts on the square and walking through the streets of the old town where you will feel like you’ve switched to the past.

Levi, Finland

Lapland is one of the biggest regions in Finland and a breathtaking winter destination, not only because of the guaranteed snow but also because of the view to Aurora Borealis. In this country, you also have the insane opportunity to experience the safari with irks. Another crazy adventure the enjoyment in a cozy Igloo.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna glows like no other European city in winter! Visitors should definitely not miss the Christmas village in front of the Belvedere Palace, Vienna’s home-made sausages, tasty cakes and mulled wine. Before a trip, it is advisable to book tickets for different concerts and to enjoy the walk under the lights of Kärntner Street and the smell of baked chestnuts.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen boasts a festive mood, with a Christmas market and the most popular event of the season – an exhibition of Christmas dishes organized by the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Factory. Couples will enjoy a romantic stroll through Nyhavn, which is beautifully decorated at this time, and a visit to Tivoli is also mandatory.

Verona, Italy

Verona is an Italian city of love and romance and is known for the love of Rome and Juliet. This gem of northern Italy has one of the most beautiful Christmas shops, where you can find Pandoro, the famous Christmas cake, that perfectly goes with hot chocolate.