Category: Travel

Buck Island

This gorgeous island covers 176 acres of land area and is enveloped with the elk horn coral barrier reef. The coral system is highly admired for its extraordinary formation, and is home to an abundant number of underwater animals, which include reef fish, crustaceans and hawks bill turtles.

Since the island is a highly protected destination; don’t expect to find the usual water sports like jet skiing, fishing, surfing and kite surfing conducted here, as they are all prohibited. But what you can truly enjoy while here is hanging out on the beach, having picnics, swimming, snorkeling and just soaking in the tranquil and secluded ambiance. Although scuba diving is not permitted at the underwater trail, there are two scuba moorings in the north lagoon. There are no tourist accommodation facilities on Buck Island, and it is closed to visitors during sunrise and sunset.

To reach wonderful Buck Island, which is less than two miles north of St. Croix Island, you need to take one of the boats from concessionaires authorized by the National Park Service. Once aboard, you can sail to the island and admire it from different perspectives. If you are coming from overseas, you can first fly to Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix and then plan a trip to Buck Island.

You have the option choose whether to sign up for a half day or full day trip with the concessionaires. But if you do have the time, it is highly recommendable to linger on the island for as long as you can. It is the perfect spot to feel that you are away from it all. It is even more special for those who adore snorkeling, beaches and lush forests.

You can find the concession boats docked at Green Cay Marina and Christiansted Wharf. If you wish to come to the Island by private vessel, note that it is only allowed if you have obtained the necessary permit. Permit applications are processed by the National Park Service visitor contact station at Fort Christianvaern, located in downtown Christiansted.

Once you step foot on Buck Island, you can easily access the outer reef and underwater trail by boat. There is only one foot trail on the island and it connects Turtle Beach and the reef area. The trail takes about 60 minutes to complete, and makes a nice hiking experience. Turtle Beach is a very famous destination on Buck Island. Hailed by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, this is a dream-come-true destination for any beach lovers or romantics.

Bend Oregon

During winter, Bend becomes a playground perfect for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding. The mountains all around Bend receives an average snowfall of 30 feet. Among these mountains is Mt. Bachelor, which has its own ski resort that has become a favorite among families, especially because kids who are 12 and under get to ski for free! The resort offers plenty of opportunities when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. You can also sign up for a snowshoeing guided tour into the stunning forests near Bend. There are many local tour companies that are happy to organize such adventures for you.

Summer is equally fun in Oregon, including the months of August through September. There are many activities to choose from; Cycling, golfing, kayaking, fly-fishing, rafting and more. It is difficult to get bored in a place like Bend. The outskirts of the city is a hiking mecca. Hiking enthusiasts from all over make their way to this American city to complete the Bend Ale Trail, dubbed by many as the biggest beer trail in the west. This distinct trail showcases 14 of the best breweries in the region. Tackling the Bend Ale Trail means adhering to a set of rules. Some of them are quite fun such as getting a trail passport that will be shown and stamped at each brewery you visit.

There are also multitudes of more traditional hiking trails in and around Bend. One of them is the 3-mile loop Deschutes River Trail that starts at Farewell Bend Park. This trail promises to be quite scenic leading you to waterfalls and whitewater rapids. Other equally picturesque trails are the ones at Century Drive, Shevlin Park, Smith Rock State Park, as well as the Green Lakes Trail.

Hardcore nature lovers test their limits by climbing Smith Rock, and they are greatly rewarded by the spectacular panorama when they reach its top. Smith Rock is located within a state park that was named after it. The park covers a land area of over 600 acres, and is set on the high desert plateau with an elevation of approximately 3000 feet. Even if rock climbing is not your cup of tea, you can still visit the park year round for picnics, camping and hiking.

Saas Fee – Switzerland

The town represents a true mountain village with its narrow streets, cow sheds and quaint chalets. It is actually one of the four villages in Saas Valley, Valais Switzerland. But it is most often called the Pearl of the Alps because its consistent snow and spectacular surroundings, made up of mostly alpine peaks standing at about 14,000 meters!

Saas Fee boasts more than 20 lifts and pistes stretching to 100 kilometers. If you are not an Alpine skier, you can also try to out walking trails, cross-country skiing paths and toboggan runs which are also available. You can explore the Allalin Ice Pavilion, which reveals the beauty of glaciers, or if you are up for some adventure, take on the fixed rope route that crosses the brook gorge. On this route, you will have to use cables and rope bridges, but you will be assisted by a professional mountain guide. Another attraction that is popular among thrill seekers and adventurous travelers is the Adventure Park. This is a suspension rope park that challenges its guests with a range of rope obstacles of various levels of difficulty. And while you are sweating it out in the park, you will always have a gorgeous glacier backdrop to remind you why you’re here.

Doing a toboggan run is a great alternative to skiing. The Feeblitz toboggan run is an excellent example. It features a 55-degree inclination that will guarantee an exhilarating decline! And if you think this is not special enough, try going tobogganing at night. The adventure will be magical with the route lit up to provide contrast to the darkness. All these activities will make you very hungry at some point. Although there are many restaurants and cafes in town, why not dine in style? Saas Fee’s Revolving Restaurant on top of the Mittelallalin glacier promises a dining experience like no other as you eat your delicious meals while looking over the fantastic alpine landscape.

From Saas Fee, you can get a lift pass that can get you to the other neighboring villages like Saas-Grund and Saas-Almagell. Saas-Grund lies at the center of the valley, and is a good jumping point for skiing trails, while Saas-Almagell, is renowned for natural dam Mattmark. The third Saas community is Saas Balen, whose main landmark is the late Baroque style circular church which is a national heritage.

Impressive Skytree Tower, Tokyo

This prominent structure was originally built as a television broadcasting tower and was opened in May 2012. Despite its modernity and hi-tech features, Skytree was designed to depict the traditional traditional Japanese architecture, particularly the concave sori curves and convex mukuri curves as seen in most of the country’s ancient temples and buildings.

Some of the highlights of visiting the Skytree tower are its two observation decks. The first observation level is named Tembo Deck, and is located about 350 meters above the ground. But its height is not its only jaw-dropping feature. This observation deck has 5-meter high panels that unveil a 360 degree view of the Tokyo and the whole Kanto region.

Just an elevator ride away and 100 meters above the Tembo Deck, lies the Tembo Galleria. Considered the highest skywalk in the world, this special deck is composed of a sloping spiral ramp that circles the tower. This ramp leads visitors to a 110-meter long glass paneled flooring. If you dare look down while walking the transparent flooring, you will be seeing Tokyo and its skyscrapers at your feet. Now this can be very challenging for those who have fear of heights. But if you overcome such fear, you will be rewarded by a wonderful experience – a bird’s eye view of the urban jungle of the prominent Japanese city.

If you have not had your fill of being up high above the city, then make your way to SoraKara Point, which marks the highest accessible point of the tower. With a height of about 451 meters, being here feel like the floating with the clouds in the sky. Aside from its observation decks, Skytree is a commercial hub filled with sections that do not fail to impress and entertain guests during their visit. The middle floor of the tower is occupied by a souvenir shop and the Musashi Sky Restaurant. This sky restaurant offer diners by a superb French-Japanese fusion cuisine menu. There is also café on the ground area.

About Travel and Disorientation

During the months we’d been gone, we drove back to check that all was well but stayed only for a few days; sort of feeling like visitors here, strangely more at home in our cozy, tiny space in the RV.

While it feels great being back in our home, I feel disoriented by the spaciousness of our home compared to the 400 square feet we lived in for 120 days. Also that I’ve missed out on time here; mostly Christmas. Back around December 22nd, we decided to have a party at home with our Nevada friends and their kids. Probably the best party we’ve had in years, I raced like crazy to put up Christmas decorations the morning of December 22nd, the day scheduled for the party, because we were expecting several children at the party. We had purchased gifts from Santa for them; giving them out made the party for us and everyone else but then we left only a few days later to return to the California coast leaving all those Christmas decorations sitting here in our empty house.

Since we just returned home yesterday, this morning was the first chance I had to put away the Christmas decorations and to switch out the wreaths on the front door from Christmas to Lent. Doing so made me think about Christ, of course, and for the first time since I’ve been a Christian, I counted up the days from the end of Christmas-Epiphany, this year on January 8th, to Ash Wednesday: 41 days.

Forty-one days to cover the birth of Christ, the smidgen we know about the lives of the child, his mother and father in Bethlehem, Egypt and Nazareth, his public ministry then whap; we’re in the forty days of Lent. He lived for 33 years and we cover his entire life in 89 days or so it feels to me as I ponder the timing of the liturgical calendar.

Argenton-Sur-Creuse

We had a late dinner, and by the next morning I found myself on a train heading south to new destinations. The train station is connected to the airport. It is even dirtier than Charles de Gaulle aéroport. Tar stains on the walkway from decades of foot traffic, and the smell of unkempt bodies mixed with grease. But beyond the city were sights to cleanse the eyes. Lush green rolling farms, and postcard towns throughout the countryside.

This was a business trip with my new boss, yet it became so much more. The people, the food, the history, the architecture. My sensory perception felt inadequate to the task. The further south we traveled the more my anxiety grew. That I might not be able to remember it all, to be able to recount the wonderful experiences.

The highlight occurred at a place I least expected. A small town in central France, more to the south than the north, more east than west. Argenton-sur-Creuse. I can best describe it as a poor man’s version of Venice. A river runs through, with water lapping at the edge of buildings. Throughout the town are cobblestone sidewalks, rough on the feet but apropos to the setting. The multi-colored buildings, some with a slight lean, provide an architecture which could make you believe you are a character in a Charles Dickens setting.

Our morning meeting was short, leaving us four hours to wait on our train. We found a sidewalk café, the smell of baked pastry wafting from the inside. I ordered a glass of white wine. The food in France is fantastic. Basic dishes you might turn your nose up to in the States. It is all fresh. Something as simple as french fries, called pomme de frites, assaults your nose with cooked potato, oil, and salt. Even a cheese plate opens your senses; the sweet smell of slightly sour milk, in beautiful yellows and beiges.

As the waiter set my glass of white wine on the table, a slight sweat on the outside of the sparkling glass, she arrived. Did I mention the women of France? They are beyond beautiful. Slim figures with thin Parisian faces, highlighted by tight lips from years of pursed pronunciations. Slightly pronounced cheek bones, accentuating luring eyes.

But this lady stood out above the crowd. Long legs with tight jeans, tucked into tall black boots. I am partial to blondes, but she had long brunette hair, ending at the small of her back. Dark eyebrows on top of olive skin, and piercing brown eyes.

She sat at the table next to mine and stared directly at me with a pronounced smile. My heart skipped a beat. Not because I was suddenly in love. More out of embarrassment that she might have caught me gazing at her beauty.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca

Puerto Escondido has something for almost every type of traveler. It has gorgeous beaches, and tons of activities to engage in. Some of the popular activities include sport fishing, diving, snorkeling as well as whale and dolphin-watching. Puerto also offers a vibrant nightlife, made possible by its plethora of restaurants, cafes and bars blasting live music. One of the best spots to party at night is El Adoquin, which is the town’s main pedestrian street. El Adoquin is frequented by revelers who love to hop from one bar or club to the next.

One of the beaches to look forward when visiting this Mexican town is the Bacocho Beach, which lies on the northwestern end of the town. Bacocho is very relaxed and has a number of hotels to choose from. At the heart of town is another sandy stretch called Playa Principal. This beach is more a favorite among families. If you would like to go fishing or sightseeing, there are boats moored on Playa Principal ready to take you.

Zicatela is the cosmopolitan beach, which is arguably, the most popular among all Puerto Escondido’s sandy spots. It lies in the southeastern end of Puerto Escondido. Zicatela is an excellent surfing beach that challenges international surfers to conquer its gigantic waves. And even if you are not a surfer, you can still enjoy strolling along this beach while watching experienced surfers expertly maneuvering their boards through the angry ocean.

If you would like to learn how to surf but are not ready to tackle the humongous waves of Zicatela, you can head out to the smaller beach of La Punta. Here, you will easily find an instructor to guide you through the beginner-friendly waves of La Punta. Other lovely beaches with calm waters include Angelito and Manzanillo.

Those who enjoy the company of nature do not need to go very far. Just a few kilometers outside of town, there is mangrove forests and lagoons, waiting to be explored. Some of the wildlife inhabiting these areas includes spoonbills, pelicans and hawks. One ecological reserve worth visiting is called Ventilla, and it is just a 15-minute drive away. Puerto Escondido is also rich in culture and tradition. Just around the town are indigenous communities, who have successful kept their traditional way of living. You can easily visit these villages, and sign up for eco-tours.

Holiday to Salzburg

With a multitude of activities to take part in, you will probably want to spend as little time as possible thinking about details like transfers from your flight and back. However, a clever booking plan can save you time, which can be spent on breathing in the atmosphere of the city.

While on the way to the centre of Salzburg, airport transfers afford you the time to revel in what lies ahead of you. A historic Alpine citadel, the birthplace of Mozart has seen various transformations from the Middle Ages until the present time, and its famous skyline and heritage has so much to offer the tourist. You can see it as a base for Alpine explorations, as a haven of Baroque beauty and serenity, as a historic testament to central European culture in its Alldstadt, or as a means to dive into Austrian culture on the banks of the Salzach. The key to booking your accommodation so as to make the most of your time in the city is to select which of these delights is to be your priority. Then you can book your transfer and settle yourself in a location that means you spend as little time stuck on the roads as possible.

When travelling to Salzburg, airport transfers can deliver you into the city at any time of the year. The season will, of course, influence the ease of travel and time consumed when getting to and from your flight. Whether you want to see the Hohensalzburg fortress glow purple during an autumn sunset, or enjoy a music festival ring against the backdrop of pristine snow, you should be smart and take the weather into account when booking your trip.

Salzburg airport transfers give you more options than the obvious. The obvious is, of course, a trip to and from the terminals in the city. Located just four kilometres from the city, the W. A. Mozart airport is a capable hub that will link you to many major European centres. But while this local hub is the second largest in Austria, Munich’s Franz Josef Strauss Airport is the seventh largest in Europe by number of passengers. Being only 28 kilometres away from the Salt Fortress and needing only an hour an a half worth of driving to take you there, it may be more convenient for you to book your shuttle from here.

There are many affordable flights to the city, and there are also various companies offering Salzburg airport transfers. Once you have determined your trip and route, the next matter is to pick a reliable company. This comes down to price, experience and versatility of service. The best companies will give you a chance to organise much of your ride online. Being clever about your choice can save you from hassle and give you more time to enjoy this iconic Alpine centre.

Ghent Belgium

Due to its small size, Ghent is easy enough to explore and partly exudes that cozy feel that provincial towns possess. These days Ghent is a vibrant university town, equipped with lovely cafes, reasonably-priced restaurants and accommodation. But during the Middle Ages, it was one of Europe’s most powerful and among the richest cities. As you walk around town, you can still see imposing and exquisite structures that remind you of Ghent’s glorious past. The cosmopolitan and dynamic energy that the student population brings seems to mix well with the medieval look of the city.

Get to know the city quickly by checking out its most notable attractions. The Castle of the Counts, also known as the Gravensteen Castle is one of the impressive buildings Ghent is proud of. This formidable medieval fortress mostly intrigues its visitors with its torture chamber and the battlements which are perched high on the keep. The Castle was rebuilt in 1180 under the direction of Philip of Alsace. During your visit, you will learn more about the history of this powerful structure through a unique and interactive movie guide.

After visiting Ghent’s famous castle, you have the choice of exploring any of the city’s hundreds of historical buildings, 13th century Gothic churches and 18 museums! At Saint Bavo Cathedral, you will find the priceless polyptych (panel Painting) called The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. In the middle of Saint Bavo and Saint Nicholas Church lies the Belfry, which symbolizes the city’s independence. Just beside it is the Cloth Hall, which shows off the Brabant Gothic design. When you walk to the corner of Cloth Hall, you will encounter another historical landmark: the old jailer’s lodge.

You can stroll around Ghent freely, especially in its lovely center where cars are not allowed to enter. But if there is one place in the city that will take your breath away due to its picturesque setting, it will be the Graslei. This medieval port features a row of historical buildings, whose structure is famously reflected on the long river.

It is truly a distinct and very atmospheric place that locals and tourists make their way to enjoy one of the several cafè patios to just enjoy the scenery. Some of the prominent historical houses in Graslei include the Guildhall of the Free Boatmen, the Spijker and the house of the Grain Weighers. Just on the other side of the water lies another scenic neighborhood called Korenlei.

Northern Coasts of Sardinia

Northeastern trails

The northeastern trails of the island are a great place to start your outdoor adventure on your holidays to Sardinia. The area around Supramonte is the best place to start, and the rugged region is one of the least populated in Europe. You will come face to face with chalk walls and stunning gorges and, at the Supramonte di Oliena, you can follow the trails of Stone Age tribes who fled to a hidden cave near Monte Tiscali. If you are feeing energetic, take on the challenge of the highest peak in the range: the Monte Corrasi, stretching up 1463 metres. If you enjoy a bit of a hike but still want your beachfront within reach, plan a trek that begins or ends on the Costa Smerelda. These trails won’t take you up any huge mountain peaks, but they will give you a chance to experience some truly breath-taking natural beauty.

The Northwest

For a spectacular hike taking in the very best of the island’s interior, head to Monte Limbara. The abundance of trees, streams, waterfalls and undulating trails often makes the experience a highlight of holidays to Sardinia. As you ascend you can visit the lovely mountain church, Madonna of the Snow, and if you fall in love with the region you can even stay in a hotel situation up the mountain.

Another excellent hike is along the pink granite cliffs of Garulla. The cliffs here spill on the beaches lapped by the most beautiful waters in the Mediterranean. You can enjoy a leisurely swim, diving off the boulders, before carrying on to the cove at Tinnari – where you’ll get an unequalled view over the ocean (don’t forget your camera). This is an area that is mostly untouched by tourism and, at times, it can almost seem like your own private beach.

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