Daily Archives: 13.04.2014

Blyde Canyon River, South Africa



Blyde Canyon River, South Africa

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There is no end to the infinite list of nature’s wonders. Canyons are just an example to show the grandeur of nature. These are mostly formed due to the action of river water which leads to a gorging effect. They are also formed from earthquakes. The tourist spot that we are going to talk about is the  second largest canyon in South Africa and the third largest in the world. Located in Mpumalanga, the Blyde River Canyon roughly stretches for about 25 kilo- metres in length. It surrounds the Drakensberg Escarpment from the Northern side. The depth of this canyon roughly goes for about 1383 metres.

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Covering the Drakensberg Escarpment from the Northern end makes this canyon provide the tourists with the rarest scenic beauty of the Drakensberg Escarpment. The canyon cuts throught the Drakensberg Mountains and stretches through the grand Blyde River. The canyon mostly consists of red sandstone. The highest point of the Blyde Canyon is Mariepskop and it is 1944 metres above the sea level.

echo caves

There is no end to the number of things and activities which can be carried out at this wonderful tourist spot. These activities range from various kinds of trails to excursions and safari. Leopard trail, Guinea- Fowl trail, Hiking trail, Kadisi- Tufa trail and the Horse trail are some of the trail sports available over here. One on hand where Tufa trail is quiet easy to complete and takes roughly an hour; trails like the Fowl and the Leopard trail require good amount of fitness. The two trails are comparitively even more time consuming. Safety is the primary issue of concern over here. Though the activities make you feel rejuvinated but then it is suggested that the tourists should register about the trail they are going for in the resort where they are staying so that those people can keep a track of whether the tourists are safe or not.

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There is another activity called the five hour link route in which the Kadisi- Tufa and the Guinea- Fowl trails are mixed together and a trail which varies roughly around a span of five hours is achieved. Fitness is the primary pre-requisite over here and unless one is fit, he or she will not be able to enjoy the wild beauty of this place. There is also a facility of Horse trails. It is basically for those people who cannot readily walk over long distances. It is meant for family purposes which includes even the children and the other aged people who are not likely to go walking on a trail.

potholes

Another delight to the eyes sight over here is the God’s Window. It is called so because of it’s splendid character and beauty. Standing over here would give you a simultaneous sight of the Rondawels, also popularly known as the Three Sisters. Apart from this, you will get to see Mozambique and the Kruger National Park. Not only this but you will also get to see the highest point of the Blyde Canyon, Mariepskop.

river scene

Pot holes are another great example of the scenic beauty of this place. These pot holes have been beautifully carved out centuries ago. It is also called Bourke’s luck potholes. It has been named after the gold digger Burke. It has been formed by the swirling  whirlpools. They are found in the beginning of the canyon.Another wonder to be visited over here is the echo- caves. The history of these cves is quiet interseting as it was accidentally discovered by a cattle herd owner. Later on some passes were constructed to make it accesible and after the completion of this route in the Paranoma area, these caves were declered to be amongst the National Monuments. It has got it’s name so because on tapping the walls of the caves distinctive echoes were heard. They are even heard till date outside the caves.

fauna

The Pinnacle Graskop is another beauty. It is made up of quartzite and aloe.  There is a whole plethora of restaurants and lodges where people can stay and and take rest. The lodges leave no picture untold when it comes to the beauty of the Blyde River Canyon. The place at the same time is quiet rich of some of the rarest species of Flora and Fauna. Flora includes mainly Cyclades, orchids and lilies.

waterfall

Blyde River Canyon, as it gets it’s name from ‘blyde’ which means ‘glad’ is definitely a namesake place.  Blyde River Canyon, just like it’s name says is a place which definitely cannot make the tourists leave a single bit of happiness while the are amidst this wonderful piece of nature’s art. It is a mixed mag which has everything in it. It has beauty, adventure, flora, fauna, good food and facilities. What else does a tourist need? Blyde Canyon is not a place to be missed if you are a nature lover. You simply cannot afford to.

Tokyo Disney Sea



Tokyo Disney Sea

Tokyo sea disney

Are you a cartoon lover? Are you obsessed with the cartoons of Disney? Have you loved to mimic the cute, little mice that the Disney has given us? Then this place is where you need to go in order to pamper this obsession of yours. Tokyo Disney Sea, as the name suggests is related to the world of Disney. It is a theme park based on Disney. It is located in the Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan.

american waterfront

The theme based park was set up not somewhere in the past but as recently as in 2001. Tokyo Disney Sea is not the first theme park to be set up in the Tokyo Disney Resort. It is the second one in the queue. Before this; the world has eight Disney based Theme Parks in different parts of the world. Tokyo Disney Sea is the ninth one. It will not be a wonder to call it the fastest growing theme park in the world. There are facts to substantiate the statement. In 2009, it was the fifth most visited theme park in the world whereas immediately in the 2011 it was promoted to the fourth rank for the same.

Lost River Delta

It has a number of attractions; some of them being the Mediterranean Harbour, The American waterfront, The Port Dioscovery, The Lost River Delta, The Arabian Coast and many more. Thwe Mediterranean Harbour is a re- creation of the beautiful city of Venice, Italy. It has three main lements included. The first one obviously that without which Venice is said to be incomplete, the Venetian Gandolas. Then we also have the Disney Sea Transit Streamer Line and the Fortress Explorations. The layout of the land of the Mediterranean Harbour differs from the other parks of Disney because unlike those, it’s entry is made in the form of a ‘v’.

mediterranean harbour

Popularly known as the ‘tomorrowland’ of the Tokyo Disney Land; the Port Discovery is somewhat a hybrid of the Discovery land of the Disneyland in Paris and a yet to be built idea of a discovery bay. Like the Mediterranean Harbour, iy also has three main attractions: the Disney Sea Electric Railway, Aquatopia and the Stormrider. Disney Sea Electric Railway is a a connecter which takes the visitors to the adjoining American Waterfront and also brings them from there. Aquatopia is a boat ride which uses a special trackless system to spin through the waterfalls, whirlpools and narrow gauge. Stormrider is a stimulator ride.

mysterious island

The American watrefront has many sections to it. Here we have the Tower of Terrpor, the Toy Story Mania, Big City Vehicle, Village Greeting Place. Disney Sea Transit Streamer Line from the Mediterranean Harbour and the Disney Sea Electric Railway from the Port Discovery are also a part of the American Wavefront. It also has the Turtle Talk section which has quiet recently been upgraded. This section is the hub of live entertainment that take place in the Tokyo Disney Sea.

Mermaid Lagoon

The Mysterious Island, another great feature of the Tokyo Disney Sea has two centres of attractions. One is the Journey of the Center of Earth and the other is the 20,000 leagues under the sea. Located within Mount Prometheus, the main center of attraction of the theme based park is this smallest ‘port of call’. It describes the mythology of the volcanoes mentioned in ‘vulcania’ and Jules Verne’s storytelling.

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Then we have the Mermaid Lagoon. Mermaid Lagoon is abode to all the characters of the famous cartoon show, ‘The Little Mermaid’. It is inspired by the sea- shell architecture and gives a feeling of being underwater, the world which was actually shown in this cartoon. The rides available in this section of the Tokyo Disney Sea are quiet enjoyed by the children. It has many rides and that to the famous ones which include the Flounder’s Flying Fish Coaster, Scuttle’s Scooter, Mermaid Lagoon Theatre, Jumping Jellyfish, The Whirlpool, Ariel’s Greeting Grotto. Ariel’s Playground and Blowfish Balloon Race.

port discover

Another section of this theme based park is the Lost River Delta.It is the ruins of an ancient pyramid, Aztec. It is quite dingy in it’s aura. The Lost River Delta has many rides like the Indiana Jones Adventures, Mickey and Friends Greeting Trail, Raging Spirit and the Greeting Dock.Each and every section of the theme park has proper facilities of shopping and food.

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Tokyo Disney Sea has won the Thea Award for the best themed park. There is not a single reason as to why a person should miss this ever- fabulous world of Disney. The kind of rides which this theme park provides has no words to describe it but amazing. Mainly, If you have children at home and if you are planning to take them on a fun- filled excursion then the Tokyo Disney Sea is the best place to go to.

Beautiful, Pleasant and Safe: Haarlem, Netherlands



Beautiful, Pleasant and Safe: Haarlem, Netherlands

Located on the northern edge of Randstad in Netherlands, Haarlem is a charming city offering great cultural scene, friendly atmosphere, exotic beaches and some excellent food and shopping opportunities. There is a place named Harlem in New York that has nothing to do with Haarlem so it should not be confused with that. Haarlem is provincial capital of the North Holland and lies on the banks of the Spaarne River. Haarlem is the main export hub of flower bulbs and there are beautiful flower fields and famous Keukenhof gardens near the city. The name Haarlem means “Wooden place on high sandy soil” which was first mentioned in the 10th century. If you are looking to explore North and South Holland then Haarlem will be an excellent choice to stay in.

Haarlem

Haarlem has a maritime climate just like the rest of country. It has mild winters and relatively cool summers with rare extremes. The temperature remains easily tolerable around the year with maximum of 60 degrees and minimum of 1 to 6 degrees. August is the warmest month and March and April are the coolest months. Precipitation is quite common and you can expect rain anytime because of its oceanic climate. The best time to visit is from December to March.

How to get here?

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Haarlem is situated just 20 minutes from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport which is one of the busiest airports around. There are frequent trains running between Amsterdam and Haarlem’s Central Station. You can also come by train from Schipol and Newcastle easily. If you prefer to come by your own vehicle but keep in mind that most of the parking here are paid. You can get around the city by hired bikes or bicycle. There are also buses and taxis running around the city.

Accommodation and Food

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Whether you want a boutique hotel, holiday apartment, camping or a budget hostel, Haarlem offers accommodation for all needs, budget and tastes. One of the best is Ambassador City Hotel, located in the city centre, has 29 rooms each having free internet, two restaurants, one swimming pool and one health club. You can also choose Amrath Grand Hotel Frans Hals which is very close to Grote Market and Philharmonie. In other good options, there is Carlton Square which is a four star luxury hotel with all the facilities you want, Golden Tulip Lion, Hotel Amadeus, Hotel Bloemendaal and many more.

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Haarlem may not have a long list of restaurant and cafes but surely it has much to offer in its limited range. There is Jopenkerk which was a church and now it has become a brewery now offering breakfast and lunch with cocktail hour. You can also try Lambermon’s and Truffels with its exciting six course meal each month. Other options include Restaurant ML, Café Restaurant Stempels, Hofje Zonder Zorgen, Grand Café Nobel, Restaurant Zuidam, Brasserie Van Beinum, and Dodici.

The Attractions

Frans Hals Museum

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Frans Hals was a well known painter of seventeenth century in Haarlem and his collections are stored in Frans Hals Museum. The Museum is located at Groot Heiligland in Haarlem and was opened in 1913. The Museum remains open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm and sometimes opened on Sundays and public holidays. The entrance fee is free for under 18 and $8.33 for adults. The museum has free wifi all over and you can also enjoy some shopping at the Museum Shop offering exhibition catalogues, cards, gifts, glassware and children’s items.

Grote Kerk

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Grote Kerk, located in Grote Market of Haarlem, is a Protestant Church famous of its amazing interior furnishing. The view starts from the west door going towards the choir which was built in 1400 and the wooden vaulting was forwarded in 1538. The interior was designed by Gerrit Berckheyde in 1698.The Admission is free and don’t forget to see one of the great organs of the world built by Christian Muller in 1735 to 1738.

Toneelschuur

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Toneelschuur is a famous theatre located at Lange Begijnestraat, Haarlem. It has two stage theatres where plays and dances are performed and two movie theatres where movie shows are organized. There is also a bar on the ground floor with good range of drinks and snacks. The building was designed by a Dutch cartoonist, Joost Swarte and the theater was located in the building in 2003 which was in Smedestraat earlier.

City Hall

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City Hall is the seating place of Haarlem’s government and it is located on the Grote Market of Haarlem. You will be amazed to see the beautiful rooms of City Hall where all the important decisions are taken regarding the city. You can plan a tour of City Hall or even get married here. It was built in 14th century after shattering the Count’s Castle. If you are visiting the City Hall on Friday you can see brides entering and leaving from the stairway. This tourist place is really worth a visit.

Haarlemmerhout

Haarlemmerhout

Haarlemmerhout is a public park located in the South Haarlem. You can see children playing at the petting farms, families coming for picnic and some people doing running just when you enter the park. On May 5 every year, some national and international artists gather here and give some magical performance and thousands of music fans enjoy it. The park is just on a 15 minute walking distance in a straight line from Grote Market.

Haarlem is a cool city with clean streets, historic buildings, grand museums and fine cafes so you have all the reasons to visit this beautiful city.

Cotton Castle: Pamukkule, Turkey



Cotton Castle: Pamukkule, Turkey

Pamukkule or Pamukkale is one of the best wonders of the nature. The photo seen above is quite misleading as actually Pamukkule is a place where people may actually bathe..! It consists of natural small pools formed due to nature’s activities. Pamukkule is a unique kind of the place in the world itself.

Pamukkule situated in Turkey has been declared as one of the UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific And Cultural Organization) world heritage sites. This place along with Hierapolis is among the oldest thermal cities of the world.

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Pamukkule in Turkish language literally means “cotton castle”. It is a place in Denizli Province of south western Turkey. River Menderes is the river which flows here in Denizli Province.

It is a place for natural beauty and health benefits. This place is being used as spa since hundreds of years.

Formation Of Pamukkule:

Pamukkule is a wonder of nature’s creation. It is composed of travertine (a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, mostly the hot water springs). It is formed from deposition of carbonated minerals with the help of hot water springs. Pamukkule is a perfect example of carbonate depositions that can turn into a famous tourist visiting spot.

The Name: Cotton Castle

The name of this place termed to be cotton castle because from plains far below the place seems to be like that of cotton castle. Moreover, the city of Hierapolis which was built (now some parts of the place remains though, that is the place had been destroyed) which seemed like a castle built on the top of it.Thus from other side of the province, this place seems to be a cotton castle and people there named it Pamukkule.

History and Legends Associated

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The place has got many legends associated with it. Many stories float around regarding the curative powers of the place. Some say a Goddess visited this place to beautify her and quite a few say that it has got curative powers and beautifying powers since ancient times.

The city of Hierapolis is built on the top of it (the remains of the place remain), which was one of the fertile regions. Hierapolis utilized the thermal water carefully. There a sacred pool is also there in which visitors love to take a bath.

Sightseeing- A pleasure from viewing paradise

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The whole day here could only be spent by merely seeing nature. The place will fill you with immense admiration for nature’s awesome creation, a sense of satisfaction and happiness. Viewing the formations of carbonate of basically white and cream colors, the shapes in these formations giving it a snow like viewing, where actually hot water spring is there is just spectacular to watch and feel. After taking bathe in hot water, people here normally prefer sightseeing so as to soak themselves in the nature and its beauty.

A spa and its curative powers:

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Pamukkule has been used or famous as spa many years ago, and is now also famous for it. It is also famous for its curative powers from various skin infections. The water has a temperature of about 35 degree Celsius. In addition to scientifically proven benefits from bathing in hot water, many legendary curative powers (as it is said) are also said to be there in these springs. The place is famous for having beautifying powers(from the legends) and that it also provides a cure from the ailments, various infections and other diseases.

How to reach the place?

Local transport is easily available to reach the place once you are here, as Pamukkule is a famous tourist destination. Booking facilities are also available and almost all tour bookings provide a visit to this world heritage site.

Along with it the sightseeing along the way is also breathtaking and it can’t be missed. Obviously, it is the road to paradise or to say cotton castle where you will be spending the whole day.

Nearby Areas

Along with a hot water bath Pamukkule also provides with an opportunity to visit the remains of the famous Turkey cities such as Hierapolis.

Hierapolis

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Hierapolis means “Sacred city” is believed to be city of/by God Apollo. This city has many noted interesting places to watch for. Pamukkale Museum (displaying coins, artifacts etc), Plutonium (a sacred cave of God Pluto), sacred pool, theatre, Apollo Temple and more interesting architectural sites are worth visiting here. Necropolis is also famous among those interested in architectural designs (it is a cemetery of Turkey and has different types of tombs). Along with Pamukkule, Hierapolis is also a must visit place to know the ancient history and architecture of Turkey.

With the place Pamukkule having legendary health benefits or to say as the story goes to have health benefits (due to hot spring water) and a perfect scenic beauty, this place a miraculous example of nature’s perfections. Once you are in Turkey, this place is a must visit and whole day could be easily spend here just admiring nature and its beauty.

This is one of the favourite tourist destinations among visitors and is definitely one of the natural wonders of the world and once you have visited the place you’ll surely long for another visit to the place.

Visit the Heroic City: Cartagena, Colombia



Visit the Heroic City: Cartagena, Colombia

Colombia is an amazing country mainly known for its tropical landscapes, emeralds, leather goods and beautiful women. It is one of the most famous tourist places around the world and most of the visitors are attracted by its city Cartagena. Located on the northern coast of Colombia was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It is the fifth largest city in Colombia with a population of more than 9 million. The city has got quite a colonial architecture which provides a great platform for the cultural festivals, which are very common here, and a suitable atmosphere for businesses. Cartagena has been a centre for political and economic activities in Colombia from a long time. The city was founded in 1533 by Spanish colonists has today become an ultimate destination for spending holidays.

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The climate of Cartagena is tropical savanna with dry winters. The summers are longer and last from May to September. The temperature sometimes reaches 90 F during June. From December to March is the cold season with lowest temperature at 19 C during January. October and November produce some rain and fresh breeze blows around the city from December to April making this the best period to visit the city.

How to get here?

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The Rafael Nunez International Airport near Cartagena is one of the busiest airports in Colombia and receives flights from all the major countries and neighbor cities. There is also Tocumen International Airport but it is not much preferred by the visitors. You can easily get cabs, taxis and other transport means outside the airport to get to downtown. Central Caribbean Road links Cartagena to other parts of the Caribbean Region and the road passes through Riohacha, Santa Marta and many other famous cities. You can get around the city in taxi or the bus.

Accommodation and Food

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You will find wide variety of accommodation around the city in all price range and suitable locations. Hilton Cartagena is the most famous staying spot for visitors because of its central and scenic location with 288 room, three pools and three tennis courts. You will also like Hotel Caribe Cartagena, Decameron Cartagena, Sofitel Santa Clara, Charleston Cartagena Hotel, Hotel Casa La Fe, Las Americas Global Resort and Casaloma. If you are looking for a budget hostels then there are options like Casa Sweety, Makako Chill Out Hostel, El Viajero Cartagena Hostel and Hostel Real.

food

Cartagena is surely a place to eat well because of its delicious offerings. You will surely like famous tiraditos made of thin strips of fresh tuna of La Perla. You can also enjoy the classic Ceviche Corvina or the Lomo La Perla along with some fine range of cocktails at this famous restaurant. Another famous eating spot is Don Juan offering seven starters, thirteen mains and four desserts at very affordable prices. Apart from these, there is Marea by Rausch with its famous Mojarra Frita, Malagana Café with fresh ceviche, empanadas and stiff margaritas and La Cas de Socorro with its seared seafood, homey chicken stew and great salsas.

The Attractions

Rosario Islands

Rosario Islands

Rosario Islands is a Natural National park located at Bocagrande just outside Cartagena. It is a beautiful place with natural landscapes, crystal clear water and some unique coral formations. You can get a full day pass for $50 which includes transportation and lunch. The boat departs from La Bodeguita pier taking you through the Rosario islands.

Las Bovedas

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Las Bavedas are a series of structures attached to the walls, located at the Old City of Cartagena. There are 47 painted archways and 23 domes from Santa Clara to Santa Catalina Fortress and near them are a lot of colorful souvenir shops. They were built for military purposes at the time of independence and served as a prison, armory and barracks for the Spanish Military. Now, it is one of the most visited tourist sports in Cartagena.

Walled City

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Walled City is a historic district of Cartagena which is one of the most beautiful historic cities of the Caribbean. It is very well preserved and you can stroll here through the streets seeing the terraces decorated with flowers and then have a relaxing time in the parks and walk along the fortress. You will see many musicians and artists there giving some interesting performances.   There is the monastery of Santa Cruz nearby on the La Popa Hill from where you can get a beautiful view of the entire city.

Estadio Jaime Moron Leon

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Estadio Jaime Moron Leon is a multi purpose stadium of Cartagena, located at Calle 31B, mostly used for the football matches. It has seating capacity of 16000 people and Real Cartagena team plays its home games here. The stadium was built in 1958 and was firstly known as Olympic Stadium Pedro de Heredia. You can reach the stadium by taxi, bus or cab from any corner of the city.

Templo de Santo Domingo

Templo de Santo Domingo

Templo de Santo Domingo is the oldest church of Cartagena, located at Calle Santo Domingo. It was founded in 1534 and finished in 1551. You will be amazed by its spacious and gorgeous interior with massive stone columns and marble altar. The church remains open from Tuesday to Sunday and the ticket costs just $6 per adult.

So, just pack your bags and explore this tremendous city.

The Pleasant Capital of Uruguay: Montevideo



The Pleasant Capital of Uruguay: Montevideo

The largest city and the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo, is surely one of the beautiful cities around the world as its vibrant atmosphere and scenic views attract the visitors. Montevideo is located on the east bank of the Rio de la Plata, Uruguay. There are some skyscrapers in the city along with some museums and the Minnesota and Chippewa Rivers join at Montevideo and provide some fascinating landscapes. Don Bruno Mauricio de Zabala founded Montevideo in 1724 and the design of the city was done by Pedro Millan. Today, the city has very well informed population and progressive government that has introduced legislation like gay marriage. The main attraction of the city is Montevideo Carnival which is celebrated at eh main street, de Julio Avenue, in the city.

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Montevideo has quite a warm and humid temperate climate with no dry season and hot summers. The temperature is hardly below 34 F around the year and reaches to a maximum of 81 F sometimes. From May to August is the cold season and July is the coldest month. In summers, hot winds come from north and you would need cool cotton clothes during this period. The best time to visit Montevideo is anytime during the year.

How to get here?

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Mostly, roadways are preferred to travel to Montevideo by visitor than by plane, car or other means. The airport of Montevideo is situated about 15km from the city center and you can easily find bus services outside airport to reach downtown. You can also take the service of the airport cabs. From the city terminal to colonial, there are always the buses running and you can book a ticket in advance for it. You can also get to the city in you own vehicle through either Chui or Jaguar.

Accommodation and Food

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You can easily find hotels, hostels, apartments, suites and other type of accommodation within your budget and requirements. There are more than 130 hotels from 5 stars to budget hotels. Most popular option is Sheraton Montevideo Hotel with 207 air conditioned rooms, an indoor pool, a health club and a spa tub. In other options, there are Hotel Lafayette, Pacitos Plaza Hotel, Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel, TRYP Hotel and Days Inn. You can also find hostels around like El Viajero Ciudad Vieja Hostel, Downtown Hostel, Pocitos Hostel and Caballo Loco Hostel.

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Hunger might be the last reason to die here in Montevideo as there are a lot of restaurants, bars, café and pizzerias around the city.  One of the best is Bambu which offers a very good vegan selection and the food is quite healthy and light with fresh salad. You can also try Zenchai at La Vegetariana and ultimate Uruguayan Parrilla at La Otra in Picitos. At La Otra you will find some really tasty meat of every variety and genuine and fresh Sushi. Other eating places that offer some great food and drinks are Don Peperone, Panini’s, El Fogon, Es Mercat and many more.

The Attractions

Pocitos

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Pocitos is the city beach of Montevideo and remains occupied throughout the year by visitors. The beach is not affected very much by winds because of its location opposite of east side. The sand here is good and the best time to visit is July. The beach has facilities for a lot of sports like soccer, volleyball and others. Pocitos is just 10 minutes from the Montevideo city centre and you can get here by any mean of transport here.

Centenario Stadium

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Centenario Stadium is a football stadium with a seating capacity of 74,000 spectators, located in Parque Batlle, Montevideo. It was the host of the FIFA World Cup 1930 and is the largest capacity stadium of Uruguay. The Uruguayan soccer team plays in this stadium during their home games. The stadium was declared a Historic Monument by the FIFA World Cup in 1983 and it is the only building in the world that holds this title.

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You can take a full tour of the stadium and its museum inaugurated on 15th December, 1975. At the museum you can experience the peak moments of football matches and a wide collection of historical objects like flags, trophies and clothes of wining team of Uruguay in 1924 and 1928.

Plaza Independencia

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Plaza Independencia is a plaza in Montevideo which separates Ciudad Vieja from downtown. There are some famous buildings and sites here like a monument of Jose Artigas which is called Artigas Mausoleum. There is the presidential building on the left side of Plaza called Executive Tower and you can explore the building if you want. The landmark of Plaza Independencia is Palacia Salvo which is an apartment building. You will see people walking here or sitting on benches with something to eat or drink.

National Museum of Visual Arts

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National Museum of Visual Arts is the most famous museum of Uruguay, located at Avda Thomas Giribaldi in Montevideo and exhibits the works of local artists. You can see some fine works of Mario Buela, Jacqueline Lacasa, La Dolce Vita, Material & Geometry collection and increase your awareness about art. The Museum remains open to public all year round and holds workshops for children and families totally free. The Museum was founded in 1911 and since then it has become the largest art museum of the country.

There are many other visiting spots in Montevideo like Museo Torres Garcia, Metropolitan Cathedral, Punta Brava Lighthouse and the Executive Tower so come and experience this awesome city yourself.

Jamaa el Fna – the Mosque at the end of the world



Jamaa el Fna – the Mosque at the end of the world

Jamaa el Fna, sometimes spelled as Jemma el-Fnaa or Djema el-Fna or Dejmaa el-Fnaa, is the main square of Marrakesh located in the medina quarter of Marrakesh (which is the old city). This is a square and a market place of Marrakesh which is used by locals and the tourists. Being a very famous place in the world, it has now become the political, cultural and economic centre of Marrakesh since long time.

History:

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Marrakesh was the capital of Almohads and was founded in between 1070 and 1072 by the Almorvaids. The place was a major centre for the country’s political, economic and social central tasks since then. The western Muslim world consisted of the population under the Muslims rulers of North Africa and Audalusia. The major monument of that period is Koutoubia Mosque which has an exceptionally tall and unmatchable minaret having a height of 77 meters. This is a very essential monument in the architectural history of the Muslims. Many other monuments were later introduced in the town like the Ben Youssef merdersa, Badia Palace, Bahia Palace, les Saadians tombs, etc. But the Jamaa El Fna has been the most amazing one for most of the tourists. Jamaa El Fna fell in the hands of the Almohads in the year 1147. They renovate most of the city and the square was also renovated a little in the process. Abou Yocoub Youssef extended the city walls. Everything surrounding the square, like the hospital, the Palaces, the Mosque, the parade ground and all the gardens were overhauled. But the Jamaa El Fna was always the way it is today. The Square is listed in the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage and is like an open-air theatre for them. The square is very well-protected and most of it is original, well-conserved and cultured. This Medina of Marrakesh has been original in culture as well as nature which make it even more attractive than the rest of the city.

Masterpieces:

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The Jamma El Fna is the place where you can find a number of masterpieces, each of which is more impressive than the other. The exanples of such masterpieces of art and architecture include the ramparts and gates of the monument, the Koutoubia Mosque, the Saadians tombs, the Badia Palace’s ruins and remnants, Menara water feature, and the Bahia Palace. Each of these buildings and art mentioned are masterpieces in themselves all alone and if you combine them at one place, they create a recognized Universal Value. The boundary of the Jamaa El Fna’s land was inscribed in the World Heritage List which is the exact boundary that is defined by the original surroundings. These borders were revised to increase the space for protection and security of the property as well as the surroundings. The Outstanding Universal Value of the property of Jamaa El Fna Square is increased by the surrounding mosque, tombs, palaces, gardens, water features and pavilions, etc. The interior structure of all these architectural buildings is pretty much original.

The Square:

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The Square of Jamaa El Fnaa is mostly found occupied by the juice stalls offering orange juice, water stalls, youngsters wearing chained Barbary apes, people wearing colorful costumes selling water, carrying traditional leather bags for water, some snake charmers that will also pose for the tourists who want to photograph them. As the time speeds the method of entertainment on the street changes. The snake charmers leave their spot and more people start gathering around the square. You will find some Chleuh boys who dance, some Arabic story tellers, some magicians, others selling traditional medicines, etc. all of who guarantee to entertain you whether you are a local or a visitor. As the day passes and turns into night, the square gets crowded by a number of food-stalls and also the visitors increase. The square is maximum crowded when darkness falls.

Attractions:

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The attractions of the square are the games like ‘Hoop-the-bottle’, the fortune tellers who find a spot to fix their umbrellas along with a peck of cards, some ladies with piping balls that are filled with henna paste which will your paint hands, arms or feet and make tattoos (these tattoos lasts for 3 months), etc. The tattoos may be harmful for your skin if you see that the lady is using black henna for making that tattoos as it contains toxic chemicals, whereas if they are using red henna then you have nothing to be afraid of as red henna is pure natural. The story-tellers, magician and performers sometimes request the tourists to participate in their tale very generously which can be rejected if you do not want to. But participating in these sorts of entertaining things is fun and causes no harm to you in any way. But beware of the pickpockets in the crowd who may steal your wallet or watches.

The Name:

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The name Jamaa el Fna comes from very serious words in the local language. The term “Jamaa” is the term for ‘Congregational mosque’ in the Arabian language. The term “Fna” means ‘death’ or ‘some courtyard’. The overall meaning of the name, hence, becomes “the mosque of the death’ or the ‘Assembly of death’ and also ‘the Mosque at the end of the world’. But the locals sometimes get offended by this explanation and prefer calling it as ‘la place’ which means “the Square”.

Nandi Hills, Bangalore: Glimpse of Paradise



Nandi Hills, Bangalore: Glimpse of Paradise

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Nandi hills, also known as Nandidurg is famous as hill of happiness. Ancient hill with the ancient origin and importance is located in the southern India , state of Karnataka, near chikkaballapur district and near Bangalore city. Famous hangout spot for the locals, the hill is above 1478m above the sea level. Nandi hill is the Bangalore’s most popular hill station and the perfect place having one of the best sunrise all over the world.Nandi-Monolith-Chamundeshwari-Temple

Nandi hills is full of serene view with exciting serene spots all over the place. The place is resplendent with picturesque view and its ultimate beauty of cloud beds. The hill is famous as it acts as a bedrock to the condensation of cluouds in the morning and the view of it just breathtaking. The divine beauty of the nature attracts lots of tourist from all over India. The best time for such beautiful view of nature is in early mornings before sunrise and winters is the best and perfect time of the year to visit. The breeze early in the morning with the cloud formation trespassing through the dense trees makes the place beautiful beyond imagination. It’s like God’s early morning show on the desgining of nature at its best. The view is just perfect to make anyone’s soul lost in the serenity of nature. It has a divine sensation of feeling all around the place, specially in the early morning when cloud formation trespasses from the dense trees with its cold breeze soothing one’s soul. The view from the top of the hill is more stunning and divine during that time, it actually gives you a feeling of u standing in heaven and the world is beneath you. There are layers and layers of clouds all below you, and the clear view of the sun shining on you directly is just the perfect divine beauty beyond imagination and beyond describing. Thus lots and lots of tourists are attracted to explore the divine beauty of nature.

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Nandi hill also spots as a popular picnic spot, for there are various other attractions in and around the hill. Attractions like gardens which are maintained by horticulture department. Various restaurants giving the valley view also is a good place for refreshments. Nandi hill’s is also famous for Tipu Sultan’s summer palace and fort. There is a place known as Tipu’s drop from where ke killed his prisoners, which is also a tourist spot. From the foothills or the entrance of the hill, there is still 3 more kms to reach. There is a temple with ample of parking and many things to do around. The 800 year old temple has a beautiful little pond with the blend of peace and serene. It also has an old Nandu statue over thousand years old which also has a great significance and attracts tourists. The way to the hills are surrounded by sunflower gardens and vineyards. The place is very rich in birdlife, which attracts lots of photographers and bird watchers. Nandi hills is also a home to migrant species like nilgiri woodpigeon, shaheen falcon, peregrine falcon etc. nandi hills also has several activities like paragliding, cycling, biking etc. appealing lots of tourist to explore the place. The beauty of the cloudy, misty and foggy hills makes it different hill station altogether from others. One can get to feel the clouds and fogs from so near and watch all the movements of the passing clouds. The cool breeze of the place touches your soul deep within making it feel more divine.

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There are many hotels, restaurants and accommodations easily available in and around the Nandi hills. The foothill’s also serves with many hotels and resorts. Restaurants are easily available at top of the hill and near the parks. If not nearby Nandi hills, there are ample of accommodation options in Bangalore, which is 60km away from the hill. There are lots of development schemes coming up for the place, with the development of Tipu sultan’s fort, a food court modeled after the international food chains serving all types of foods including ice-creams and bakery products, a stage to conduct events, botanical gardens, art planetarium etc, making the place more friendly and transforming it into the tourist hub

The best time to visit the hills is winter, from the months of October to February. One should not miss the main attraction that is the view of sunrise above the bed of clouds and hence should make sure to reach the place by 5.30am and not late than that. If coming from Bangalore it’s better to leave by 4.30 am. Spending some quality time along with the beauty of hills and other attractions of the place with the hot breakfast, there are sunflower gardens and wine-yard too to explore while returning from the hills.

Nandi hill is accessed by roads from the most connected Bangalore city. Private vehicle or public transport through roads is the only way to access Nandi hills. Nandi hill is thus aptly described as glimpse of heaven for its breath-taking divine views and is a glory in the tourism of Karnataka. One should thus not miss a chance to explore the divine beauty of nature, when in Bangalore.

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Fez – The Imperila Town of Morocco



Fez – The Imperila Town of Morocco

Fes or Fez is the oldest city in Morocco and is popularly called the ‘Old Town’. Fez, also called the imperial town of Morocco, has been titled as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city is an urban town but is largest car-free area among all the urban areas of the world, which is pretty amazing and brings a lot of respect for this city. In size, Morocco’s third largest city is Fez and has a population of about a million residents. The city if Fez is also called the ‘Mecca of West’ for there are two old medinas located in this city. Some people also call it ‘The Athens of Africa’ as the city is a very deep-rooted cultural and religious city. The oldest university in the world is Qarawiyyin University which is located in Fez, Morocco. City is similar to the walled city of Jerusalem and is an ancient city in world’s history.

The city has three parts – the Fes el Bali, which is the old and walled city; the Fes Jdid, which is the new Fes and the home of Mellah; the Ville Nouvelle, which is the newest section of Fes created by French people.

The Medina:

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The Medina is located in the Fes el Bali region of Fes is the major attraction of not just Fes but also Morocco. To enter the religious Medina, you will have to cross through the Bad Boujeloud Gate which has decoration of green and blue faiences. Walking down the area will give you a lot to explore. But if you take a guide along with you, you can understand the place better. The little alleys of this place, fountains on the way which are fabulously tiled, the local artisans work in the open for you to watch their work, have a good scrub from a local Hammam. The two main alleys are Talaa Kebira and Talaa Seghir. Both these will take you to the gate Bad Bou Jeloud. There is also a little rooftop restaurant of square shape which is definitely worth enjoying.

Kairaouine Mosque:

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The heart of medina is the Kairouine Mosque which is a very huge and large mosque. But the vastness of the mosque is barely evident from the hundreds of homes and shops located all around it. This mosque is capable of holding a crowd of more than twenty thousand Muslims. And for the non-Muslims, you can only see this big architectural building from the outside as only Muslims can enter the area of the mosque. Recent renovations in the building were held recently after which, the tourists are allowed to peek in the mosque and witness the marvelous and beautiful tile work on the floor. The library of this place is one of the most ancient and old libraries of the world. The alley is full of wooden beams which may bang against your head if you are not careful.

The Tanneries:

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Fes is a very popular city in the world for its leather products. The leather bazaar in the old Fes is the site where most of its leather products are made. These tanneries are operated since medieval era and not much has been changed since then. This makes the place even more fascinating. The leather shops will be filled with handbags, slippers, jackets, etc. for every size and every color you can think of. The tanneries are best watched from such shops. Do remember to carry mint with you so that the stinky animals and pigeon poop don’t bother your nose. Morning is the best time to visit a tannery as you can clearly see all the dyes of different colors.

Museums:

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There are three main museums in the Fes. The Nejarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts is a very beautiful museum which has a beautiful building that is too good for a museum. There is a very nice and comfortable rooftop restaurant and café on the top of this museum’s building. Another museum is the Dar Batha Museum. The artwork display of this museum is truly amazing and the specialty if this museum is the blue-colored pottery which is the traditional pottery of Fes and is famous worldwide. Other museum worth visiting in Fes is Belghazi Museum. This museum has artwork which is very much similar to that of Dar Batha. The difference here is that this museum is offering to sell the art pieces. This museum is located inside a palace and is very much suitable for lunch.

Merenid Tombs:

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Outside the walls of old-Fes, you can find the Merenid Tombs. From the Merenid Tombs, you can see most of the roofs in the city of Fes. All the tourists must go up the hill to get up to the tombs and have a panoramic view of the city. Also, the sunsets are very beautifully amazing. The tombs themselves are not very good, but the view over there is exceptionally amazing.

Other thing that you should go to visit at Fes is at the Mellah which is the old Jewish quarter and the architecture of this quarter is very much different from the rest of the medina. Overall city of Fez is a very spiritual and at the same time, a very urban land. Going to Morocco is almost incomplete without visiting this imperial city.

Essaouira: The Pearl of Atlanta



Essaouira: The Pearl of Atlanta

Essaouira is a city located on the Atlantic shores and actually comes under the economic region of Marrakech Tensift Al Haouz. The city is also famous by its Portuguese name – Mogadore or Mogador since the 16th century. The name itself meant the walls that refer to the fortress walls that were present from the old centuries and were build enclosing the city. The city of Essaouira has always been the city of ancient world. You will find a lot of ancient collection in many places of this city. The Rabat Archaeological Museum and the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum are the famous museums with huge collection of ancient artifacts. The city also has a UNESCO World Heritage Site- Medina which is a fortified town that belongs to the 18th century. The city is not full of attractions but has some really amazing places to visit.

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Medina, the main attraction of Essaouira, came into the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage in the year 2001. The place is very well maintained and well preserved from the late 18th century. Medina symbolises the European military architecture in the whole region of North Africa. The place with its mellow atmosphere, colourful shops in the narrow winding streets, old wooden doors and whitewashed houses is a wonderful place to hangout. On its boundaries the wave-lashed as well as dramatic ramparts are the things to talk about. The beautiful view of the rampant was also captured in the Orson Welles’ Orthello as a panoramic shot. The easiest of all places is Skala de la Ville to access the ramparts. Skala de la Ville is a very impressive sea bastion situated along the cliffs. The amazing views of the sunset and the sea are also a treat to the eyes of the visitors from these cliffs.

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Famous activities in Essaouira are the water sports on the sandy and wide beach of Essaouira. The water sports of windsurfing, kitesurfing, football, swimming and sunbathing are the famous ongoing activities that happen in Essaouira. People should also take a walk along the beautiful Ksob River. The remains of the Borj el Berod, which was an old pavilion and fortress half covered in sand, can be found along this river. Take a walk on the sands of Cap Sim and visit the village of Diabat, and you will have a great experience.

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The most favourite place of food lovers of Essaouira is Riad Al Baraka which is a restaurant cum cafe. The cafe offers lunch and dinner only and is located in the 113 street Rue Mohammed el Qory. The cafe is designed in a former Jewish school style. The whole place has many dining rooms as well as bars with a large courtyard. The main food is Moroccan with a glimpse of Jewish and Middle Eastern food. People can also enjoy the live music of some the local bands that perform in this restaurant cum cafe.

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Another happening place in Essaouira is Ile de Mogador which is full of interesting structures. Ile de Mogador is actually a pair of two islands along with some tiny islets. All these together are known by the names- the Purple Isles or the famed iles Purpuraires of antiquity. People visit the Essaouira beach with their own binoculars to get a clear view of the uninhabited islands of Eleanora’s falcons. People can even arrange a personal boat for their whole journey on the island and can even take their boat outside the breeding season. But a permit is necessary for that. People can issue that permit from the post office. With a permit in hand people are free to travel in the small fishing boats also.

Almost all kinds of ancient artefacts of the city of Essaouira are on display in the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah Museum. This museum is a refurbished one in an old raid. Small but interesting things are in display in this glorious museum. People can witness the perfect collection of weapons, musical instruments, carpets belonging to different regions, many costumes and some jewellery also. A separate section is given to the symbols and signs of the local craft people. A small collection of beautiful and creative photographs of Essaouira is also there. Some of the Phoenician and Roman objects that can be found in the bay are also on display. Thus, the whole museum actually depicts the ancient era of Essaouira.

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One of the best places to visit in Essaouira is the Skala du Port. Skala has some cannons and many picturesque views in store for its visitors. There is a curtain of seagulls between your eyes and the walled medina. The port is very much lively with lots of activities going on a regular basis. A plenty of ferry boats are there with their nets being repaired regularly. Even the traditional boats are made in an open area where people can watch it. Almost every boat builder there supplies fishing boats on the whole Moroccan coasts. The design of these boats is very much famous in France. The fishing auctions take place on the outside area of the port gates. While concluding we can say that the city of Essaouira is not a bold one but a sweet one. And for all the nature and history lovers, a visit to this cute city is recommended.