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Looking for somewhere you’ve never been before? Or maybe you’re looking for something you’ve never seen before in a place you’ve already been.
The chances are very good that we’ve got something here for you.

In Trip and Travel Blog we are passionate travelers but most of all friends. Our website is our place on the web to share our feelings and make all of us ready for the next trip…..

Everyone knows that the travel option is the one that gives you a variety of choices. Trip and Travel blog offers both luxury options and cheap solutions as well as travel statistics, travel technology, travel art and culture, hotels, news on deals, nightlife & drinks, shopping, events and festivals. Our aim is to share the right content that inspire our readers and lead them to the best travel experiences.

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10 Natural Wonders in Northern Italy


A tour in the Northern Italy usually stops only in two big cities, Milan and Venice. But of many of you have visited its natural wonders and its unspoilt landscapes?

For this reason I would like to share with you my preferred 10 natural wonders to be explored in northern Italy, well-known or still pristine…enjoy it and let’s start discover and Italy off the beaten paths!

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1. Portofino

The pearl of Northern Italy, renowned to be one of the most chic and exclusive vacation spot. It is a lovely village that combines old traditions, art and natural wonders. Indeed, Portofino belongs to a Marine Protected Area so you can image the crystal blue sea, perfect for swimming and sunbathe!

It is also an ideal place for foodies that can taste the typical “pesto” and the local “focaccia” but also for sport lovers: here you can enjoy a variety of sports, from horse riding to sailing and fishing. Indeed Portofino is the perfect starting point for a daily excursion to Cinque Terre, 5 romantic towns perched on the mountains and overlooking the sea…the perfect place for a romantic breaks or for trekking excursions on the amazing trails of Cinque Terre National Park (Pay Attention: actually – on 2014 – the famous Love Trail is closed!)

2. The Gardens of Isola Bella

A whole Island on Lake Maggiore filled with flowers, plants and trees! It is a splendid and amazing baroque Italian garden divided into ten sloping terraces, adorned with fountains and statues dating back to seventeenth century. The Garden-Island is rich in Mediterranean vegetation but also in exotic plants that can be admired during the summer….and surely your kids will love the beautiful white peacocks that live here!

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3. Stroppia Waterfalls

Little known but really beautiful, the waterfalls of Stroppia are located in the Maira Valley, near Cuneo. The falls can be admired from the path Icardi, sliding on a vertical drop of 500 meters. The Park offers also a splendid view of wild nature with mountains, meadows, lakes and water slope and it is a paradise for trekking and biking lovers, thanks to the numerous trails.

4. Gran Paradiso Mountain

The only peak over 4000 meters entirely in Italian territory. Actually it forms the Gran Paradiso National Park and it is worth a visit because of its unique natural wonders, like glaciers, forests of fir, mountain goats and royal eagles.

During summer the Gran Paradiso Park is a perfect place for trekking, horse riding and biking and, for the brave, it is also possible to take part at rafting and canyoning activities! Families with kids cannot miss a visit at “Parc Animalier” where you can admire a lot of animals like ibex, chamois, deer, marmots, wild boars and owls. During winter the park becomes the paradise of skiers and it also held the annual competition Marcia Grand Paradiso.

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5. The Italian Boldering paradise is the Natural Park of Val di Mello

Fans of bouldering love the vast protected area that extends over the territory of the town of Val Masino and each year here takes place the Melloblocco International Bouldering Meeting, with competitions, prizes and entertainment for adults and children.

6. Lake of Resia

A place with a unique history. In 1950 the construction of a dam led to the union of three lakes that currently form the Lake of Resia. But the most shocking event was the submersion of the nearby small town of Curon Venosta. And nowdays we can admire a charming lake from which emerges the bell tower of the ancient Curon Venosta! The most unusual activities you can do are sailing and diving to discover the architectural remains of the town.

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7. Garda Lake

The largest Italian lake settled between Verona, Mantua and Brescia. Together with Como Lake and Maggiore Lake it forms the Lake District of Northern Italy. Garda Lake is also one of the most attractive in the Lake District due to the mild climate, a wide range of vegetation, the grandeur of the landscape, the cultural and historical monuments.

It’s ideal for those who want to spend sports and trendy holidays in Italy: different experiences, from catamaran to paragliding and all kind of water sports, just waiting to be lived!

8. The viewpoint of Sighignola

This viewpoint is renowned as the “balcony of Italy” thanks to the view that spans over Lake Lugano and the Alps, until Rosa Mountain and Mont Blanc. The summit of the viewpoint can be reached starting from the town of Lanzo. Once on the top, you can take a rest in a quite place, surrounded only by natural wonders and a small chapel.

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9. National Park of the Belluno Dolomites

This park extends in Veneto to 32,000 hectares. The National Park of Belluno Dolomites offers breathtaking views, high rocky peaks, green valleys and it is crossed by numerous rivers and streams that sink into the valleys. There is wide variety of trees, rocks, animals, and it is easy to plan a trekking or horse-riding excursion thanks to the smooth paths of the Park.

10. Tre cime di Lavaredo:

The Big top, the Top of the West, and the Small Top are among the most famous peaks of the Dolomites. The compact and harmoniously aligned peaks vaguely resemble three fingers pointing skyward. They are ideal for trekking and cycling lovers, but also historians will find the Tre Cime di Lavaredo very interesting: indeed they were the scene of many battles during the Second World War, from 1915 to 1917, and still nowadays you can see the remains of trenches.

Iceland Essentials and Unnecessary Items


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Travelling to Iceland? Here are a few things to keep in mind when packing for your trip.

First I must mention the gear I found necessary to bring:

- Layers
Not only do you need to worry about the chance of rain, the ever-changing weather will probably bring extreme changes. From sunshine in the morning, a light breeze with rain in the afternoon and cold gale force winds in the evening. Be prepared for both cold and wet weather all times of the year.

- Rain gear
This is also a must. With the weather changing minute by minute, a light rain layer is a necessity.

- Sunglasses
Sunglasses are a must! Even on slightly overcast days, the sky is bright. There were a few days I was caught without mine and I cursed my forgetfulness every time I had to squint.

- Bathing gear
Pools, lagoons and spas are readily available throughout Iceland. There are countless geothermally heated pools and lagoons, with a typical temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. No trip should be complete without a visit to the Blue Lagoon!

- A backpack
You will notice that EVERYONE in Iceland wears a backpack. This is because of the ever-changing climate stated above. It makes it much easier to put gloves and toques away when the sun decides to make an appearance and heat things up.

- A convertible electrical plug adapter
If you are travelling from North America and will need to use or run an electrical item, you will not be able to plug into the outlets with just the standard plug. You will need an adapter to fit European outlets.

 

Keeping in mind my list of necessary items, the reverse is also true:

- Umbrella
I always bring a fold-up umbrella on every trip. It has saved me from getting wet many times. However, in Iceland, with rain comes wind. Sometimes not more than a slight breeze, but more than not it was wind gusts enough to turn an umbrella inside out or take a hat for a flight.

- Icelandic dictionary
Everyone in Iceland speaks English. Most of the people we talked to spoke it relatively well so you will not have to worry too much about translation.

How to Prepare for Solo Travel


You probably heard of some people who traveled alone and probably told yourself you could never be as brave as they are.

But did you know that once upon a time they all felt how you feel now?

The idea of solo travel did not come easy to me as well. Like everybody else, I had apprehensions in the beginning. Heck I remember how my first commute alone made me feel incredibly anxious!

What if the people in the jeep ignore me when I pass my “bayad”? What if I forget where I should go down?

But hey look, commuting alone is now like a walk in the park to me (except for the random bad traffic and chaos).

I’ve traveled alone in BatanesSingapore, and Taiwan. Not really a long list that would say I’m an expert in this but I just wanna share that it’s totally doable. And you can do it too!

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Who is this for?

If you…

- are thinking of embarking on your first solo travel some time in the future
- need a different adventure in your life
- want to go somewhere but cannot find any companion
- want to learn how to be independent
- are curious about the idea

If you answered YES to at least one of the above then maybe it’s time to consider going on your first solo travel adventure.

Here’s how I transitioned from being too nervous about it to being comfortable with the idea of traveling on my own.

 

The Transition:

Step 1: Travel with family or friends

If you haven’t traveled before, this is a good introduction to traveling. Going with your family or friends makes traveling fun and comfortable. It can also build up your knowledge of what happens while traveling without stressing too much about dealing with it on your own.

 

Step 2: Join a group tour with a friend

A group tour is an organized tour that is open for anybody to join. Organizers will pool all joiners then go together on the trip. I joined my first group tour with Travel Factor to Northern Cebu (Malapascua + Bantayan) in 2009 with the intention of meeting people at the same time cutting the costs of doing the trip alone. But the thought of knowing nobody in the group made me extra nervous. So I brought a friend with me and we had fun. Had we done it on our own, our expense could be higher so good thing we joined a group instead.

 

Step 3: Join a group tour alone

There are then those times when you wanted to go somewhere but couldn’t find somebody to go with. Maybe your family’s not interested or your friends are not available. Either way you find that everything in your body is ready to go except that you are alone.

When the idea of doing an Indochina overland trip occurred to me, I couldn’t find someone to join the boat. I think at that time going abroad was regarded as impossibly expensive for a Filipino, especially a yuppie, that the idea of doing several countries on a single go is unthinkable. But I did. I mustered all my nerves and went ahead with the trip by joining a group tour. And I had a grand time!

Going on a group tour on my own allowed me to get a glimpse on what it’s like to travel without knowing anybody. Only that I’m not entirely alone cause I got a group to go with. It also helped me get used to meeting new people.

 

Step 4: Travel alone and meet locals

By this time you are almost comfortable with traveling solo. What you have to do now is make that step. Should you feel lonely? No. It will only feel that way if you aren’t meeting people.

Before I went on my solo trip to Singapore, I contacted some locals to hangout with. I am a couchsurfer so finding one was easy. I met up with them, a mix of locals and foreigners, and we drove around town. It was fun but most importantly I had company.

 

It’s never easy to start traveling solo but when you do you will surely find yourself traveling even more and gaining more friends.

Nice Hidden Places in Rome


Strolling through the ancient streets, passing little shops, broken walls or old doors, which have already lost half of their painting…

History is all over the place, and everything becomes “picturesque” or scenic, here in Rome.
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There are so many beautiful things to see!

Ancient Romans accompany you on every step through the narrow streets of the Italian metropolis. There is for example the Colosseum, the famous amphitheatre, build by the Roman emperor Vespasian, where the gladiators fought against lions or even sea battles took place.

Then there is the Vatican with the St. Peter’s Basilica and the huge Vatican Museums, the famous Trevi Fountain, where Anita Ekberg plashed in the water in the 1960ties film “la Dolce Vita”, the monumental Piazza Venezia, etc.

But there are still some hidden, not so well known places in Rome. Beautiful and sometimes not really easy to find.

Near to the Colosseum there is a little park, the Colle del Oppio. It’s just a small green hill, but Romans love to take a walk here on Sunday Morning, they come with their kids, play football and have a drink. This is still an “authentic roman” place, where people of the neighbourhood actually meet, come together, have “un caffè” and talk a while with the owner of the little bar, an elderly lady, before going home to have dinner with the family.

Not far from here you can find Case Romane, the excavated rests of hundreds of years old houses in the underground.

Very interesting and kind of a bit spooky is the crypt of a convent (Nostra Signora della Concezione dei Cappuccini), near to the metro station Barberini. Skeletons of monks who lived here, dead hunderts of years ago, have been used to decorate the chapels in the underground of the church.

Compared to the majority of the roman churches full of gold and treasures, the little San Pietro in Montorio, on top of the Gianicolo Hill in Trastevere, is humble and inconspicuous, but I love the two angels, standing right in the middle of the apsis. I was wondering at first, why the Spanish Embassy is located right here, next to this little church on the hill. Then I found out, that the church has been founded by the catholic kings Isabella and Ferdinand.
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And last but not least:  Rome is full of ice cream shops. 

This is no wonder, because ice cream has a long history in Italy and the Italian ice cream is really, really delicious. Every tourist guide book proposes several of the most famous ice cream parlours. They are good, but normally full of other tourists, who apparently had the same guidebook, already waiting there. I found one little shop in the middle of the Monti neighbourhood, with a delicious variety of ice creams and no tourists at all: the Fatamorgana (Piazza degli Zingari).

How to Go to a British Pub: 10 Tips to Make Things Easier


If you’ve never been to a British pub, it can take you quite by surprise if you don’t know how things are done, so I’m here to help you with some tips.

 

You should note that there are mainly three types of pubs:

- The traditional ye olde English pub
- the gastro pub
- the city pub

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Here we go:

1. When you go to a British pub, find yourself a table and note the number. If there’s no number, find “a spot” in which to hang out in.

2. Go to the bar and choose your drinks. If it’s a “gastro-pub,” there will be a menu card all along the bar. Choose your drinks. If it’s a “traditional” pub then check the hand-written black board for what’s available. Better yet, ask the barperson.

3. Look out for special offers, happy hour, 2 for the price of 1 details, and student discounts.

4. Order what you want and pay AT THE BAR. There is usually no or very little service so you need to pay sooner rather than later. In short, immediate payment!

5. After payment, take your own drinks to your table or your spot.

6. Make conversation with the locals and don’t worry if English isn’t your first language, alcohol makes everything so much easier.

7. If you’re with a group of friends don’t all go to the bar together, do things the British way and have ONE of your group take your various requests into account, then order and pay at the bar.

8. If you’re hanging out with British locals, “do your round” and the others will do the same. “Doing your round” is when you take the drinks request of your group and pay at the bar. Your friends will then individually take “the next round” and so on, until everybody in your group has gone to the bar and paid for everyone’s drinks!

9. Don’t stay in one pub but do a pub crawl and go to the others next door. It’s going to be a different atmosphere and definitely, a different crowd.

10. Britain has “short opening hours” with a few places opening “late.” If you really want to experience British pub culture then you need to be at a pub at about 18:00 and be ready to leave at about 22:00. Big city pubs like in London, Manchester and Edinburgh tend to close at about 23:00. When you hear the words “last orders,” make for the bar and order your very last drink. Drink up quickly and leave quietly. Don’t make too much of a fuss as you realize that in you own countries, you’re just starting the evening rather than ending it, because if the bouncer doesn’t like what he’s seeing, he or she might throw you out!

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Have a great time and don’t forget to dress up. In Britain, going to the pub is the highlight of our day.

Good luck!

The Jewel in YHA Australia’s crown – Sydney Harbour YHA review


The YHA’s Sydney Harbour hostel must be the jewel in it’s crown – with a prime location in the historic centre of Sydney, you really feel the buzz of “the harbour city” with its most iconic sights laid out in front of you.

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The location

Sitting right on The Rocks, you really know you’re in Sydney when you stay at the brand new Sydney Harbour YHA. With pretty squares and waterside walks nearby, the views from this hostel make it worth every penny. It’s closer to Sydney Harbour Bridge than the biggest hotels (like the Four Seasons for example), with easy transport links from Circular Quay to popular places on both sides of the water, by bus or by ferry. A few hundred metres down the road and you can be walking over the famous bridge yourself.

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Rooms and bathrooms

Zing! This whole hostel is less than two years old so everything is in tip-top condition. Private double rooms have tea/coffee making facilities, and a speaker dock that allows you to relax with tunes from the radio or your own device. The bathrooms are very nicely fitted with towels and toiletries provided.

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Facilities

A main attraction here is the big rooftop terrace, where you can enjoy sunbathing (or a sun-downer) with great views of both Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are TV rooms and other common spaces as you’d expect, but the lower level of the hostel is a revealing show of the local history and archeology. Various artifacts from the first immigrant dwellers on this part of The Rock are on display, along with what is known about them and their lives. The building itself is suspended above the site, which is part of the Big Dig project. Inside the hostel is very clean and welcoming, with nice light living spaces, well equipped kitchen facilities and decent coffees from the staff behind the counter. The breakfasts are good value too, including a cook-your-own option with eggs and bacon.

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What makes this a great hostel

The location here is not lost on anyone, with locals still wondering how the YHA managed to get hold of such a prime spot. The YHA’s staff are great and full of information which is always a pleasure for new visitors. The hostel have clearly invested in quality facilities and furnishings too, which adds to the feeling of staying somewhere a bit special.

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Top tip

Have a wander around The Rock not far from the hostel and keep your eye out for interesting tidbits of Sydney’s history detailed in statues and plaques. Walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge gives you nice views over the water and the city, and you can relax with a coffee on the other side in Kirribilli. But for a really stunning view, walk around the Botanical Gardens to a spot known as Mrs Macquaries chair – here you can see the Opera House framed by the Harbour Bridge, and the sun setting behind them both.

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The Journey

Arriving by coach or into the train station, catch one of the frequent buses heading into the city along George Street, the hostel is a short walk uphill from the closest stop. Arriving from elsewhere, the hostel is a 10 minute walk from Circular Quay. It’s hard to miss because of the location. If you end up on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’ve gone too far.

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Verdict

Well worth staying for a night even if you are on a tight budget, and great for exploring the harbours and North shores.

Most Relaxing Island Vacations


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Nothing can be more calming than the sound of waves crashing, and straw palapas swaying. Book a trip to paradise with these stunning island resorts. From the Islands of Bali, Sri Lanka to Hawaii or Seychelles, the options for a relaxing island vacation is endless.

Bali Island, Indonesia

Head to ‘Bali’ for an oriental high and you’d want to spend your lifetime here! Set amidst the Pacific Ocean, the island of Bali in Indonesia is not just an island, but paradise gained if you plan to spend a few days here. For it’s not just the beach and the skies that beckon; the quaint temples and Balinese culture is sure to soothe your frayed nerves and cleanse your soul!2

 

Ratnadweepa, Sri Lanka

There’s a treasure trove of goodies hidden in Sri Lanka, literally! Ratnadweepa or the Island (dweepa) of Gens (Ratna) is unique for its sparkling sapphires and radiant rubies. It’s believed that a plethora of precious gems lie embedded deep into the soil here. These gems have been collected and today adorn China’s Min Dynasty Tombs and also the crown jewels of Europe! How about gifting these during your honeymoon here?

Fair Island Scotland

This may seem nondescript, but Fair Island is the place you must head for if privacy is your priority. This is true escapism from the maddening crowd of urban life, for, human population is only about 70 here! Fair Island is also a birdwatcher’s haven.

Seychelles

Seychelles sounding like ‘sea shells’ is a refreshing island popular among honeymooners and the lover of luxury! Located on the western part of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles comprises about 115 islands, which offer you unlimited privacy! The marine life in myriad colors comes alive as you dive or snorkel into the tranquil waters. You wouldn’t want to swim back to earth!3

 

Tahiti Islands

Tahiti Islands in French Polynesia, which once were isolated from urbane habitation, today boasts of an international airport. Its coral reefs and hills are what set these ap

Santorini, Greece

Although Santorin has gained popularity in recent times and voted as the world’s best island by BBC. It’s an island straight out of fairytale, with its cobblestone paths and houses colored in blue and white. Homes sit atop precipitous cliffs and with donkeys meandering their way along the cliffs make Santorini an island where time seems to have stopped in a former century!

Phuket, Thailand

Famous for its water-sports, Phuket is not just a water-lover’s ‘water-hole’, but a shopper’s paradise as well. Known as the ‘Pearl of the South’, Phuket is the largest island in Thailand. Its virgin beaches and a free-spirited culture makes it one of the best among tourists.

Hawaii Islands

Hawaii with its warm tropical climate and lushness make it the most sought after island in the world. Hawaii is the place that has enchanted water-sport enthusiasts and biologists alike. Lanai one of the lesser known island in Hawaii, was once upon a time known as the ‘Pineapple Land’ for the abundance of pineapple there. You’d not be disappointed with its two popular resorts and a couple of golf courses. This is a place where you can laze leisurely and see the world go by.


Cayman Islands

The ultimate island experience is undoubtedly in this set of islands! Famed for its electrifying nightlife, salubrious, balmy beaches and adventurous water-sports, Cayman Islands are tiny pockets into which you can zero in and escape from the routine of life.

Mauritius

Mauritius and island are quite synonymous! Mauritius beckons the romantic as well as the romantic at heart. Mauritius remains steeped in history with its several historic sites and marvels tourists with its coral reefs. Palapas are thatched hut like places where you can huddle together, sipping your drink. The place is dotted with Palapas which make this island unique.4

 

 

Travel Bucket List: 3 Places You Must See


Are the winter blues setting in and getting you down?  If so, this is the prime time of the year to take a break from your day to day routine and to make a getaway.  However, instead of falling back on the same old destinations you’ve been to time and time again, consider one of these top three travel destinations.

Turks and Caicos

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Ever close your eyes and imagine that you’re lounging on a beach? If so, consider the Turks and Caicos –  a real life, carefree paradise that is an absolute must see.  It’s an under-the-radar travel destination located in the British West Indies that is still so undiscovered by many.  Complete with white sandy beaches and beautiful blue waters, this destination truly is a relaxing place to enjoy time away from it all.

Home to roughly 30,000 full time residents, Turks and Caicos is made up of 40 islands and cays, with only eight that are inhabited. The islands are located a little over 500 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, below the Bahamas chain and just to the east of Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Between the months of June and November, the islands take on hurricane season.  During this time, the average temperature ranges between 85 and 90 degrees and, from November to May, the average temperature is 80 to 84 degrees.

So, what attracts visitors to Turks and Caicos? Water Sports, whale watching, historic island tours, and taking in the natural beauty of the islands all come to mind.  Visitors also have a once in a lifetime opportunity to tour the shores on horseback or spend a day at Grace Bay taking in the local culture, restaurants, shops or simply strolling along the soft, hot sand.

If a remote, uncrowded beach is more your style, venture over to Taylor Bay while enjoying the company of loved ones. Here you can enjoy swimming while encapsulated in the clear blue water, surrounded by starfish visible in the shallow shore waters.

Hawaii

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Revel in the beauty of a classic American favorite.  As the birthplace of surfing, land of brilliant, crashing waves and home to an extensively rich culture, Hawaii is on the top of many people’s travel bucket lists.  The six major islands include Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Oahu, Lanai, and Hawaii with each offering something unique to its visitors.   The most travelled islands are Oahu and Maui, which may be due to their heavy dose of nightlife, shopping and entertainment offerings. Some highlights include Oahu’s North Shore – a famous surfing hotspot, Waikiki Beach and  Pearl Harbor while Maui is more laidback and is known for picturesque beaches and scenic slopes.

If you are looking to visit a place that allows you to simply kick back and go with the flow, consider Molokai, Lanai or Kauai  - best known for their romance factor.  Visit the beautiful Napali Coast via an eloquent boat ride in Kauai, experience small town life in Kaunakakai, a quaint town in Molokai, or enjoy Hulopoe Bay, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches located on the island of Lanai.

A must-see activity on a Hawaiian vacation is an authentic luau.  Learn a hula dance, listen to unique, native music and experience original Hawaiian cuisine at one of the many area luaus.  It really is the best way to immerse yourself into the history of the Polynesian and Hawaiian culture.

Costa Rica

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Located in the heart of Central America and surrounded by both the Pacific Ocean and stunning Caribbean Sea, you’ll find the country of Costa Rica.  When visitors choose to retreat to this lush paradise, they can expect a year round tropical climate, which is split into two periods: the dry and rainy seasons. With a steady average temperature of 80 degrees, the dry period extends from December to April and the rainy season from May until November.

While Costa Rica is a great spot to simply relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, it is also an eco-tourism hotspot and place to experience one-of-kind adventures. Staying true to its namesake, Costa Rica translates, in English, to “rich coast” and there is no denying that it truly is rich in culture and activities.

Popular activities on a Costa Rican vacation include rafting and snorkeling the clear blue waters, hiking the rainforests and trails off the beaten path or simply soaking up the sun while relaxing on the picturesque beaches.  If you’re looking for activities you can’t find anywhere else, you’ll love what Costa Rica has in store.  Visit Barra Honda National Park to see the alluring caverns that you can actually reserve an overnight bunk in (the price is low, but space is limited).  Another cannot-miss-it adventure is trailing over to Marino Ballena National Park, where you can witness the humpback whale migration between the months of December and April.  Finally, experience life as a local and take a dip in the natural hot springs.

These three locales are the ultimate in tropical travel adventures.  Each provides a little something different, but none are short on culture, adventure and beauty.  Next time you are looking to splurge on a trip and escape the real world, you’ll know exactly where to go.

Author: Bailey Martin blogs for Elite Destination Homes (www.www.elitedestinationhomes.com, a fractional vacation home ownership and vacation home rental company, based in St. Paul, Minnesota.  They have luxury homes available across the world in locations such as Paris, Tuscany, St. Barth’s, Turks and Caicos, Hawaii and more.

EMP Museum – Where Art, Music & Pop Culture Collide


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Studying our popular culture gives us insight into the power art has over us and within us, like taking a pulse on what we value and enjoy the most. To understand it is to understand how and why we consume art. The history of American pop culture is as vast as it is varied. One cannot discuss its influence without bringing up Rock ‘n’ Roll as a profound force. A historically American genre of pop music, Rock ‘n’ Roll was borne out of our need for expression, curiosity, and independence.

If Rock music rattled our cultural conventions, Seattle, Washington, has been one of its most spirited epicenters. Seattle has fostered some of Rock’s most revolutionary acts to date. Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Modest Mouse, The Foo Fighters, and Macklemore are on the short list of Seattleites who have transformed Rock forever.

  2Enter stage left: the EMP Museum, located in the bustling Seattle Center within a stone’s throw from the Seattle Space Needle. The EMP isn’t just a museum: it’s an experience, fashioned by pop culture fans for pop culture fans. Its mission is to inspire us to explore and develop our own creative and imaginative potential by making our own art.

The brainchild of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the EMP Museum opened in 2000 to unprecedented acclaim among music buffs, pop culture critics, academics, artists and musicians. Allen’s original vision for the museum was to commemorate the legacy of his childhood Rock hero, Jimi Hendrix. The EMP Museum began as Allen’s tribute to Hendrix and other pop music icons, but it has evolved into a celebration of pop culture in general. Not only does the EMP memorialize the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Hip Hop, and Disco, it also honors the legacies of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror genres.

In addition to its eclectic, 140,000 square foot interior, the EMP’s remarkable exterior enjoys international celebrity. Designed by the world-renowned, architectural virtuoso, Frank O. Gehry, the EMP’s layout is unconventionally innovative. The psychedelic and serpentine coherence of its patch-worked shapes is aesthetically compelling, urging visitors to begin an unforgettable voyage.

Its fluid, metallic sheen has an organic and futuristic elegance. It’s as if all the glamour of Rock ‘n’ Roll were reincarnated into one building—and that’s the point. In conceptualizing the EMP’s appearance, Gehry sought to capture the undulating nature of music, itself. He cut apart a number of guitars and reassembled them into a rippling collage, which became his blueprint for the final look of the museum.

  3Behind its captivating exterior, visitors can wander through the EMP’s expansive and interactive panorama and let their own fascinations with pop music and pop culture guide the way.

The Sound Lab is the crown jewel of the museum and truly makes the EMP special. The Sound Lab offers visitors an interactive, multi-media environment in which to engage their own musicianship. If you’ve never played an instrument, and have always wanted to learn, you can choose from a wide variety of instruments to experiment with. A sweeping collection of guitars, drums, keyboards, samplers, and mixing consoles encourage the creative imagination in everyone. Already familiar with the guitar? The Sound Lab features hands-on modules, which teach you new riffs and techniques. You can even jam with your friends on different instruments at the same time in Lab’s Jam Studio or in one of its Soundproof Rooms. As it opens your mind to your own, unique, creative potential, the Sound Lab will electrify your imagination well after your visit to the museum.

EMP Museum
325 5th Avenue, North
Seattle, Washington 98109
(877) 367-7361
http://www.empmuseum.org

Avant-Garde Glass as Fine Art – Chihuly Garden and Glass


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Located at Seattle Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass is an imaginative oasis that celebrates the inspiration and life’s work of local artist Dale Chihuly.

Who is Dale Chihuly?
Washington native Dale Chihuly enrolled in the glass blowing program at the University of Wisconsin in 1965. In 1968, Chihuly was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship where he went to work at the Venini factory in Venice, learning his now identifiable technique of team glass blowing.

In 1971, Chihuly cofounded the Pilchuck Glass School, and is currently known as the educational leader in blending an avant-garde aesthetic with glass as fine art.

“We use the same tools today [in glass blowing] used 2,000 years ago. The difference is that when I started, everyone wanted to control the blowing process. I just went with it. The natural elements of fire, movement, gravity and centrifugal force were always there, and are always with us.” – Dale Chihuly

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly began development plans for the 1.5-acre plot with Center Art. Keeping environmental best practice in mind, the group chose to repurpose existing buildings for the project. Chihuly decided to use specific artworks from his career, combined with new sculptures for the site.

 

Take a Tour

Journey through the breathtaking Glasshouse, the eight galleries and three Drawing Walls of the Exhibition Hall and the lush Garden exhibits of Chihuly Garden and Glass.
The Glasshouse
The centerpiece of Chihuly Garden and Glass is the Glasshouse. A 40-foot tall, glass and steel structure covering 4,500 square feet of light-filled space, the Glasshouse is the result of Chihuly’s lifelong appreciation for conservatories.

At the center of the Glasshouse sits a 100-foot long sculpture in a color palette of reds, oranges, yellows and amber.

The Exhibition Hall

The eight galleries and three Drawing Walls of the Exhibition Hall offer a widespread collection of Dale Chihuly’s significant series of work. The artworks demonstrate how he pushes the boundaries of glass as an art medium in concept, execution and presentation.

Presenting some of Chihuly’s early experiments with glass, the Northwest Room features a Tabac Baskets table, wooden shelves with Baskets and Cylinders, along with Soft Cylinders and Edward S. Curtis photogravures, Northwest Coast Indian baskets and American Indian trade blankets.
We only have a web version of this image, so we may have to cut.

Some of the not-to-miss gallery installations include Glass Forest – artwork featuring electrically charged neon and argon glass stalks or stems created by simultaneously blowing and pouring molten glass from the top of a stepladder to the floor below.

Throughout various artworks in the Sealife Room, Chihuly interprets various elements of life in the water. A Tower and vessels with sculpted sea life forms such as starfish, octopus, conch shells, sea anemones, urchins and manta rays are presented along with several Sealife Drawings.

Chihuly began the Persian series in 1986 while experimenting with new forms. Originally, he displayed Persians in pedestal compositions, often with smaller shapes nested in larger pieces. Later, working with an architectural framework, he mounted larger forms to walls and suspended them as overhead compositions. The first Persian Ceiling was presented in his 1992 exhibition at the opening of the downtown Seattle Art Museum.

 

The Garden

Anchored by four monumental sculptures, the exhibition Garden provides an opportunity for discovery and surprise. A rich backdrop for the art, it features paths lined with trees, plants and flowers.

 “I want my work to appear as though it came from nature so if someone found it… they might think it belonged there” – Dale Chihuly

Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison Street
Seattle, Washington 98109
www.chihulygardenandglass.com

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