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
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.
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
The toilet isn’t the only thing that’s primitive on this 36 foot bath toy we’ve hired for the weekend. Before we left port yesterday, a bloke with a grey beard showed us the ropes.
His language was so archaic it was like watching a foreign film. Why call it a cleat when “thing you wind the rope around” would do? He kept trying to scare us with stories about people getting beached and having to be rescued. Silly old barnacle.
I didn’t much like the way he smiled when we waved him goodbye and motored away from the wharf without pulling the rope off the thingee he called a bollard. We weren’t trying to demolish the wharf.
Nautical door heights haven’t changed since the Battle of Trafalgar – which accounts for the huge lumps on my head. Not that I’m complaining. Nothing worse than a belligerent sailor.
I don’t mind being stuck down here really. I much prefer roosting in the woody womb of the vessel to being up there white knuckling the wheel and screaming.
But I only did that once yesterday. Sailing’s like war, I’ve decided – long periods of boredom
Cenotes, ultimately, became the only water source for the Mayan civilization. Thus, the people consider them sacred spots. Perhaps the most prominent cenote in the region is the Cenote Dos Ojos (two eyes). It earned its named because of the two rivers that unite in a big underwater cavern. Dos Ojos is also very famous because it is, at the moment, the deepest known cave passage in the Yucatan. It is estimated to be more than 415 meters deep.
This cenote lies 13 kilometers north of the town of Tulum, juts a kilometer south of Xel Ha. The dirt road, which stretches 4 kilometers, off Highway 307 leads to the entrance of the cenote. This journey is an adventure in itself as you may most likely come across some interesting flora and fauna along the way. There are two hardwood decks that are set up at the entrance that serve each river. The left side (eye) is usually where the divers enter, while the right side is where more swimmers and snorkelers go.
Cenote Dos Ojos dazzles visitors with its large cave system, which features large columns and clear water. There are many ways to explore
Otway Sound (Ping¸inera de Seno Otway) is home to a penguin sanctuary, which is considered to be the most easily visited area on earth to visit these amazing creatures. The Spheniscus magellanicus or Magellan penguins are relatively small penguins that thrive in slightly warm weather. Almost 10,000 penguins migrate to Otway Sound during the month of September, which is the beginning of the Patagonian summer period. All of the penguins come here in couples! Why? They choose Otway Sound as a place to build their nests and lay most of their eggs.
The penguin couples usually have 1 or 2 offsprings. The male and female penguins take turns to feed and watching over their young. If you want to see baby penguins up close, plan a visit to Otway Sound in November and December, which is also the most common months for tourism. During this time, the adults are fishing for food for their babies. The fishing time takes most of the day so the best time to visit the sanctuary is after 5 pm, when you can witness how the penguin parents come back from the sea to feed the little ones.
The Otway Sound
It is only 50 kilometers east of the Andean Mountain Range and is within the country’s western Napo province. The Sumaco region’s isolated location makes it a rarely visited site and results in its excellent preservation. The park that houses it covers about 200,00 hectares or 500,00 acres of land area and is representative of about 8% of the Ecuadorian Amazon area.
The hike to Sumaco promises to be an incredible jungle adventure. Before you even get to the peak, your eyes will be treated to the beauty of an untouched jungle landscape, packed with diverse flora and fauna like monkeys, giant anteaters and tapirs. Such a memorable trip can only be rightfully culminated by reaching Sumaco’s summit.
Once you reach the top of the rim, you will get to see the extinct crater and marvel at the group of snowcapped mountains of Cotopaxi, Antisana and Cayambe in the distance. If you look towards the south and east, the extensive landscape of the Amazon basin unveils itself for admiration. Because of the difficult up and down trek, and forested and muddy terrain, the ascent to the summit usually takes about 4 days to complete. You will
CRUISE TIPS: There is usually open seating for breakfast and lunch in the main dining room. Be adventurous with the menu because if you don’t like something you can send it back for a replacement. And if they have two things on the menu that you like ask for both of them. My husband, John, always orders the Filet Mignon and the Lobster Tail when they are served on the same night. Many times he tells the waiter to bring what the waiter recommends for that evening.
This means you don’t have to choose first or second seating. (First seating is 6:00 to 6:30 and Second seating is usually 8:00-8:30). There can be more than one restaurant where you just walk in when you are ready to dine. Every ship will ask for your dining preference when you book your cruise. You can indicate first, second or flexible dining, whichever will make you more comfortable. The newer ships have a 24 hour dining spot which is always casual so if you don’t want to do the formal nights you don’t have to, although I find dressing up to be quite fun.
You will have many options
Cruising through South America is really not as expensive as you think. When you cruise, you save on expenses such as lodging and food, and get to travel through many South American countries at once. More and more people have already realized the cost-effectiveness of cruising – in fact, a growing number of tourists come back year after year. Gone are the days when luxury cruising cost a fortune. Now, the South American cruising experience is just within your reach.
Expect to spend only about $900 per person for a seven-day cruise. These rates can go even lower during off-peak seasons. If you are really a regular traveler, you can save money by renting out a “cruise condo” instead. Rates go for as low as $100 a day (that includes food and basic utilities). That’s just $3,000 a month – lower than the costs of living on land! With these rates, you can afford to practically live in a South American cruise ship for months, even years.
Cruising around South America is never boring. Don’t ever think that you’ll be confined to one particular deck. You’ve got plenty of space to move around and a lot
The best way to explore the Noong Nooch is to experience it on foot. Most visitors will begin with the Butterfly Hill where you will be greeted with three huge corn installations, surrounded by well- trimmed colorful flower patches. Expect a lot of people taking pictures here because of the incredibly vibrant burst of yellow, burgundy, orange and pink flowers. It transitions via a bridge to another garden full of palms. This part is a sea of dark olive and emerald green. There aren’t any flowers but a puff of pink somewhere in the middle of the garden will surprise you. They are not real but the multitude of concrete flamingoes surprisingly work well in the landscape.
The most visited of the gardens would be the French and the Italian gardens. They are separated by several other gardens but their prominence due to excellent geometrically shaped plants capturing the splendor of their European counterparts, can make you forget what the gardens in between were. These are two of the most photographed in all of Noong Nooch.
The Stonehenge that sits right beside the French garden deserves attention too. The contrasting rough rock arrangements with the neatly
Only some two weeks have passed since ‘Yay’ (water) played an important role in Burmese people’s life. That was when in Tagu (March/April) during ‘Thingyan’ or ‘Water Festival’ – the ‘Burmese New Year’ – the people poured lots of water over one another to wash away all physical filth and dirt and the spiritual sins and evils in order to enter with a clean body and soul into the New Year. Meanwhile we are coping with the heat of the summer as best as we can. All my clothes are dry again and I have recovered from the cold I had caught during that time.
And now, again, yay plays in more ways than one an important role in and for the lives of the people of Burma who are in their vast majority – some 86% – Buddhists.
Again, they pour and throw water; only this time not over one another (so you must not worry, we will stay dry) out of earthen pots (atar pots) they have bought earlier (at the full moon of Kason they can buy them literally at every pagoda corner) but over a tree (or its roots) of the genus