Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Queen of Hills – Darjeeling

The Queen of Hills – Darjeeling


A true demeanor of the word queen can be experienced when you visit Darjeeling.  With all the other hill stations at its footsteps, this place leaves your jaw open at the first sight itself. The lush greens on the gigantic mountains, the vast plains with tea plantations and small clusters of houses can be seen everywhere.  Situated in West Bengal, the place is famous as a tourist destination. The scenic beauty and the grandeur of the nature prove to be a treat to your eyes. The vast spread cultivated lands are renowned for the most spectacular tea produce available in the entire India. Darjeeling is encompassed by snow clad mountains, namely, the Himalayan foots or the lower Himalayas and has a picturesque view throughout the year. The hill station is considered as one of the best places to put your feet up and find the inner peace that you barely manage to find in the concrete jungles of the city life. The toy train is an attraction of the place as well. Running between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, the train takes you through the magnificent mountain valleys and dense green trees. The cold breeze and the slow narrow gauged train brings out the child inside you and you cannot help but take your head out of the window to feel the soothing winds on your face and through your hair. Not only is the place famous for the tourism spots, it also forms an alluring option because of the British style schools that are still retained in the district. People see it as a good opportunity for the kids and send them for schooling here as well due to the discipline and curriculum maintained in these schools. Overall although not many people are aware of this fact and consider it as a hill station meant for trips only. The place pulls herds of tourists because of the snow falls and the chilly weather.

Tea Gardens

tea plantation   Tea gardens

The tea gardens of Darjeeling are known for the fragrant produce of tea that lingers in your senses for quite some time. The tea produced here is usually of export quality and is shipped all over the world. The picking of tea leaves is an interesting thing to be observed and admired. Although not so difficult, it is not easy as well. The huge green sea of the plantations provides the tourist with a calm atmosphere and aromatic gusts of cold winds. Designated as the Champagne of the Teas, tea from Darjeeling is mostly served black. The slight tinge of a floral scent makes it a delight and a specialty in the tea lovers. The plantations not only give you an access to the mere greenery but also a colonial house from the British times with all the furniture and antiques preserved for your comfortable stay. The food served is also amazing as you can taste the freshness in each of their varieties. Of these, the famous ones that you can visit are Glenburn, Tumsong, Makaibari, Selim and Goomtee resorts and tea estates.

The Joy Ride

toy train  toy train 1

A UNESCO world heritage site, the Darjeeling – Himalayan railway station is appealing to one and all. The toy train that runs between New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling is popular and has been shot in many Bollywood films and songs. The train takes you on a fun-filled ride through the market areas and the hill slopes as well. The zigzags and the loops are what people look forward to in the train, especially the Batasia Loop that spirals around itself. The picturesque beauty of the nature, the lush green bushes on the slopes and the blue skies form an astounding frame for your eyes to soak in. The flower gardens are also another addition to the grace of the nature.

Lloyd Botanical Garden   Padmaja Naidu Zoological park

Apart from these major two attractions, there is a lot more to explore in the mountains. The Lloyd’s Botanical Garden is named after W. Lloyd, a famous banker who donated the land, houses fifty different species of orchids in the hothouse. A splendid location surrounded with different colors of flowers, this place can be visited even during the afternoon times. The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is also worth a visit during your stay. It aims at the protection and proper nurturing of the endangered Himalayan species of different animals and birds.

Tiger hill   Peace pagoda

The panoramic view from the peak of Tiger hill is mesmerizing enough to make you forget the entire chaos around you. The sunrise here perfectly colors the entire sky and the summits of the Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga. An easily accessible lake, the lake Mirik is finding the attention of the tourist crowds recently. The calm and peaceful lake surroundings with the cool light winds through the surrounding trees add up to a precise recipe of a soothed soul. The Peace Pagoda is also visited by many people to experience the inner sanctity of one. With the message of world peace as a motto, this place is built for the unison of all caste and creeds in the world and to bring back the harmony amongst them. To sum it up, Darjeeling is a place where you get to experience the closeness to a sanctum of serene conditions which take you one step higher towards tranquility.

Visit the City of Casinos: Reno, Nevada

Visit the City of Casinos: Reno, Nevada

Nevada is famous for resorts, silver, gold, legal prostitution, nightclubs, casinos, wine and rich nightlife and a heaven for the party lovers. If there is a place to party in Nevada, apart of Las Vegas, then that Reno tops the list. Also known as “the City of Casinos”, Reno is located in northwestern part of Nevada and is county seat of Washoe County. It is the second largest city of Nevada and home of more casinos than you can imagine in a city. Reno started its journey in 1800s as a small community to serve travelers coming to Nevada but today it is ‘the Biggest Little City in the World’. There are almost 15 ski resorts, thousands of hiking trails, many lakes, 50 golf courses, fishing and boating spaces and famous Truckee River going through the center of Reno. Casino gambling was legalized here in 1931 and the boom period for casino community started right from then.

Downtown Reno

Reno has a slightly cold semi arid steppe climate just like deserts. The temperature varies from 11 degrees to 45 degrees around the year and a lot of fluctuation is seen in the temperature between day and night. Mixed snow and rainfall is seen during December to March and can continue for three four days in a row some times. Because of its altitude, 4400 feet above sea level, the climate has low humidity and summers are quite hot. The best time to visit Reno is from March to July.

How to get here?


Reno Tahoe International Airport (RNO) is just 15 minutes away from Reno downtown and receives carriers from all around the US and other countries. Outside the airport it is easy to get to downtown by bike, cab, limo, rental car or public transportation. There is also the train service, AMTRAK, which daily runs between the Bay Area and Sacramento and other places. You can also come to Reno in car as Reno is connected to a lot of neighbor cities by highway.

Accommodation and Food


Every type of accommodation, hotels, motels, B&B, vacation rentals, boutiques, hostels is available in Reno and it is quite obvious because it remains crowded throughout the year by visitors. Some of the best options are Sands Regency in downtown Reno offering free parking, outdoor pool , spa, complimentary airport shuttle and more and Staybridge Suites with best prices. Other good options include Boomtown Casino & Hotel, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, Ramada Hotel & Casino, Hilton Garden Inn, Silver Legacy Resort Casino, Siena Hotel Spa Casino, Harrah’s Reno Hotel & Casino, Circus Circus, Grand Sierra Resort & Casino and more. In budget accommodation options, there is Ace Motor Lodge, Bonanza Inn, Carriage Inn, Crest Inn, Days Inn, Ross Manor, Pony Express Lodge, Quality Inn, Motel 6, Bruno’s County Club & Motel.


A city rich in casinos and nightlife has to offer a great cuisine too and Reno does just that. Mexican, American, Italian, Seafood, Sushi, Vegetarian or Delis, you just have to name it and there you go. 2 Guys from Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant, located at South Virginia Street, offers great range of traditional and contemporary Chinese dishes with a great atmosphere and on the other hand, 2nd Street Express offers breakfast specialties, pastries, delicious salads, sandwiches, soups and gelato with light snacks. You can also find some good tastes at Top deck Restaurant, 4th Street Bistro, A&W, A Wild River Grille, Americana Cafe and some other good options.

The Attractions

University of Nevada

University of Nevada

The University of Nevada is located at N Virginia Street in Reno and offers degrees in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. It was founded in 1874 and recognized as sole land grant institution for Nevada. Once you will enter the campus, you will see towering green trees and huge buildings. You will find everything from restaurants and cafes to sport shops and study spots. You can take the 90 minute walking tour with student ambassadors at anytime of the day.

Silver Legacy Resort & Casino


Silver Legacy Resort & Casino was opened in 1995 and it is not like just another casino. It also offers some additional amenities like Health Spa, Pool, Hair Salon, Concierge Services, Gift Cards, Shopping spots, Business meetings and more. The Casino at Silver Legacy is the main attraction as it is one of the best casinos in Reno with 85 table games and 1400 slot machines. You can also win some Legacy Star Rewards and become a part of Hottest Player’s Club here.

Circus Circus

Circus Circus

Don’t make assumptions just by reading the name, actually Circus Circus is also a hotel & casino located at N Sierra Street in Reno and is owned by MGM Resorts International. The resort has more than 1500 luxury rooms and suites giving an amazing view of Sierra Nevada Mountains and the skyline of the city. The Casino covers a total area of 65000 square foot and features a lot of promotions, Slot machines, table games, race and sports book, bar, lounge and poker rooms.

The Great Reno Balloon Race


The Great Reno Balloon Race is held every year in September, featuring hot air balloons racing at the Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno. The race was first held in 1982 with only 20 balloons and today more than 100 balloons fly together in the sky. More than 1.5 million people attend the event each year and this event has won many awards like Best Special Event in Northern Nevada.

Casablanca, The Heart of Morocco

Casablanca, The Heart of Morocco


Casablanca is one of the largest cosmopolitan cities in Morocco and is also considered as the economic capital of Morocco. It is situated in the western part of the country on the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the most important cities in Africa economically as well as demographically. This is an astounding city with an amazing architecture and modern lifestyle which attracts the tourists from all over the world. This is a metropolis having historic roots which create a diverse cityscape and also a place from where most of the money comes to support the entire country. It also has one of the world’s largest artificial port. The numerous industries, art galleries and the rapid expansions draws people to this city but the cultural and historical aspects of Casablanca attract the most to the tourists.


You can get in to Casablanca by taking a flight. The closest airport to the city is Mohammed V International Airport. It is one of the busiest gateways to this country and is well connected to Europe and many other countries. From the airport you can get in to Casablanca by taking a train to Casa Voyages which is the third stop from the Airport. However there is also a Casablanca Car Service available. The trains are pretty comfortable and also easy to navigate and the boards also display the time of arrival/ departure accurately. You can also get in to this city by a bus or a car whichever suits you the best.


The King Hassan II Mosque

This is the largest mosque in Morocco and one of the third largest in the world. This mosque has an ability to accommodate around 150,000 worshippers at a time. It was designed by a French architect Michel Pinseau and is has the world’s tallest Minarets too. This is also the only mosque that a non Muslim is allowed to see. The interior is beautiful and has a roof that opens to the sky and also has a gorgeous tile work. It is one of the main tourist attractions in the city and thousands of people come from all over the world to Casablanca to just visit this mosque. It is one of the most beautiful mosques in the Middle East.


The Corniche

The Corniche is located on the west side of Hassan II Mosque. It is a neighborhood to the ocean. A few decades ago it was a blooming resort area. You can find many hotels lined on the ocean side of the Boulevard de la Corniche and many nights clubs on the opposite side. This place is also home to many western fast food chains and also a western style movie theatre. You will also find many ocean view café’s which offer some of the tastiest coffees and mouth watering deserts. You can walk across the street and relax at one of the ocean view café and spend some time.


Mahkama du Pacha

This is a parliamentary building which houses the court of justice and serves as a reception area for the state occasions. This is a Hispanic Moorish building which comprises of about 60 ornate rooms which have a delicately carved wooden ceiling. It has some intricately wrought iron railings and beautifully tiled floors. The entrance to this place is free but it is difficult to get in. You might also need a guide to accompany you to this place. It is open from 8 am to 12 pm and later from 2 pm to 6 pm from Monday to Saturday. It is a very well designed and beautifully finished building.

Mahkama du Pacha

Old Medina

The old Arab quarter of Casablanca is now called as the Old Medina. It is a small traditional town located in the north part of Casablanca. It is an amazing place for some exploration and has some beautiful sights of the old stone houses and numerous shops selling many different types of products. At the lower end of the district there is a fort called Bori Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah which was built in the 18th century to protect this city from the Portuguese.

old medina

The Shrine of Sidi Abderrahman

This place is built on a rock off the shore well past the Corniche. However, it is only accessible during the time of low tide. This place cannot be visited by the non Muslims but they are allowed to explore the small neighborhood like Medina that has been built around it. But it is better if you walk along the beach and catch the amazing view of the white walls from far.


Apart from the above places you can also visit Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca, Musee Abderman Slaoui, and a visit to the lighthouse where you do nothing but just sit on the rocks and listen to the waves crashing against them. Casablanca is blessed with French and Arabic styles of architecture. It has some of the most beautiful buildings and places that one can visit. It is also an amazing place for the shopaholics where you can find many leather goods, designer outlets and fancy accessories too. This city is also very famous for its nightlife. Thus with so many things to offer it is worth a visit.

Distillery town – A waltz into the Victorian era

Distillery town – A waltz into the Victorian era

In south of downtown Toronto (Canada), is one of the most popular and blessedly beautiful tourist spots of the country. Welcome to distillery town, home to some of the world’s largest distilleries and breweries. So what is there to do around a shanty distillery factory? Here at the D-town there are things to do, even more things to look at and a whole town to explore. A visit to this engaging tourist center situated outside of Toronto demands that you best put away 3 hours, to take in everything it has to offer.

After being founded in 1832, Distillery town began as a modest space which grew into the largest distillery in the world by the year 1860. Its no wonder that it was voted as a National historic site in the year 1988. Almost immediately, renovation plans began in full swing to give this 13 acre piece of history a thorough face-lift and make it more open and accessible to people.


Chiseled out of red bricks and tin chimneys, the town has a hauntingly distinct presence. It is reminiscent of a quiet alley in Manchester or a narrow street in Dublin. Sometime in 1990 the town was swept up by a spirit for redesigning and refurbishing. The authorities wished to endeavor preservation of the Victorian era industrial designs that Distillery town housed. It was perhaps the only site of the like in all of North America. Over the many years of its existence many of the working units were shut down only to have been converted into the many attractions you can find there today.

There are art galleries, bars and boutiques filling in the empty spaces and tucked into almost every side of the streets. These galleries sport huge canvasses on the brick walls giving it a thoroughly rustic touch. To compliment the cultural stronghold is the gastronomical aspect. Its numerous restaurants and cafes provide some of the most extensive menus in all of the country. The post renovation condition was so impressive, it drew in so many tourists that year. Following this, Distillery town has grown to its current size – a charming little wayward town with bustling people walking on indiscreet streets. On a lucky day, you might also find the occasional musician wandering about on the cobblestone streets filling the evening air with a tune.


The ideal tour around the town is best done during spring, summer or fall when dining al fresco is comfortable. Each of the buildings are lovingly restored to its original glory. The wide, open spaces, high ceilings that are roomy and accommodate many people offer the candor the modest town has thrived by. But not all distilleries are shut down now, then the name wouldn’t befit it now, would it?


Thankfully, many distilleries like the Mill street brewery and the El Catrin brewery still function around town offering platters of artisan beers and eclectic varieties of food. Some of them even give tours of the proceedings in a distillery. So if you would like to know how your favorite brew of beer has been made, feel free to ask for a tour. Canada is especially a friendly country, and these small towns consistently uphold that faith. The town although small by stature has given way for almost 800 television shows and movie shooting events, owing to its unique industrial designs and attractive town scape. The town also has some impressive movie screenings playing select choices of artistic films of the years and some commercial ones as well.

If you’re one for wandering and getting lost in a different place, then travelling by feet is the idea way to capture the true heart and soul of the town. Sculptures adorn walkways and even parking areas, piquing attention and much awe. If you scout around town, you can spot three of them in the Distillery town itself.


Don’t forget to holler at Trinity Street, the most important center of the town is perhaps the hub of all things attractive with bustling, colorful markets facilitating as something of a public square. If you happen to be strolling here on a bright summer’s evening, you could just witness some of the open stadium concerts that are famously celebrated here.

So come here and get lost in the middle of a song, or a painting and find yourself with a book in a coffee shop. Stare at the artistry and prepared to be enamored at the multitude of things that are locked away into the quiet folds of a truly beautiful country.

So, come on and climb on to the Patio with a fine brew in hand and enjoy the view of the world from here!

Mozambique : Africa’s hidden paradise

Mozambique : Africa’s hidden paradise

Mozambique is the country located on Indian Ocean coast which is near Southern Africa. This place has South Africa to its south, Tanzania to its north and other borders of Malawi, Zambia Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Officially, the country is called Republic of Mozambique. The Mozambique Channel separates the country with Madagascar. The capital of Mozambique is Maputo which is also the largest city in the country. The area of this country was first explored by Vasco da Gama in the year 1498 and this country was later under the colonial rule of Portuguese. But later in history, it turned into a republic by holding the multiparty elections in the year 1994 and since then, it has been the presidential republic till today. The country is economically efficient because of the rich and excessive natural resources. Also, agriculture, food and beverage industries, chemical manufacturing, aluminum production and petroleum production play equally important role in the country’s economy.

National Parks and Reserves:


The country has a lot of national parks and reserves as the land is rich with forests, flora and fauna. The most famous park is the Gorongosa National Park. This has a lot of species of vegetation and animals. The attractions here are the elephants and lions. There are more than 400 bird species. They offer safari camps for the tourists and visitors. Other very famous forest reserve is the Niassa Reserve which is across an area of 42 thousand square meters. There are Miombo forests, savannah forests and wetlands. The Melulas Mountain is also located in this reserve which is 1,411 meters tall. Another is the Maputo Special Reserve, which was earlier known as Maputo Elephant Reserve. And in the South Mozambique, you can also visit Limpopo National Park. Both, the Maputo Special Reserve and Limpopo National Park are very popular among the visitors because they offer safaris. The raw African Safari experience that you get here is very unique and is unavailable anywhere else on earth but here.



Pemba is a combination of many things. It is one of the most popular tourist places in Mozambique. The best part of this place is the local market there. You can buy many things here which include handicrafts, souvenirs, etc. The specialty here is the colorful art which is for sale in the market of Pemba. Apart from shopping, Pemba is also known for the water sports. The nearby coast allows a lot of fun activities in water. Also, there are coral reefs just near the coast which makes a very good place for diving. All of these make Pemba a popular tourist attraction and anyone going to Mozambique must visit Pemba once for all the unique shopping, water actives and sports which also include rare spots of diving.



The beaches are the heartbeats of Mozambique. Mozambique is world famous for the lovely and beautiful beaches which gives you relaxation and adventure at the same time ironically. The beaches are all different from the beaches in the corners of the world because they offer diving as well. The most popular beach in the country is Ponto do Ouro which is located in the south Mozambique. You can witness a lot of dolphins here and the beach is very much suitable for swimming. Other beaches include Bilene located in the north of Maputo and some on Chidenguele and Vilanculos. Quissico is the one place where you will find one of the country’s best beach views. Tofo Beach is also popular for scuba diving.

Bazaruto Archipelago:


This Archipelago is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in, not just the country, not just in African continent, but in the whole world. The whole are comprises of five idyllic beautiful islands. The whole area is protected by national park and conservation area. The conserved and protected area also covers the coral reefs and marine life that surrounds the island. This is one of the biggest national parks in the region of Indian Ocean. It is commonly known as the ‘Pearl of Indian Ocean’. You can see sand dunes spread throughout the Archipelago and lakes of saline water inhabiting a lot of seabird species. There are deserted sandy beaches shadowed with cashew nut and orange trees, hiding in the villages, spread mile after mile along the island’s coastline. The coral reefs in this area are the home to a variety of coral species and fishes and marine mammals. Another thing to visit in Bazaruto Archipelago is the Vilankulo Ruins. They are located outside on the main highway to Inchope. In Bazaruto Archipelago, you can do multiple activities like scuba diving, Dhow safari, game fishing (area in Eastern Indian Ocean known as best Black Marlin site), Horse safari, yacht rides, etc. It is a very beautiful place and adds to the beauty of the country.

Almost everything mentioned above focuses on how beautiful and amazing the country of Mozambique is and how extremely natural combination of land and water on earth can look so marvelous. The visit to Mozambique will be one of the most unforgettable and most amazing experiences of life. Holidays are well spent if spent in this part of the world.

Hotel la Montana Magica – Huilo, Chile

Hotel la Montana Magica – Huilo, Chile

Hotel la Montana Magica

Who would have thought that living inside mountain erupting water instead of lava, covered with lush greens of moss and vines on the outside with cozy interiors will be fun?  The Hobbit’s house from the famous LOTR series sounds to be of a similar nature; where the hobbit would love to reside in peace and harmony with the encompassing forest. Don’t be amused at the description, as this place really does exist. In the Huilo-Huilo biosphere which has been declared as world heritage in southern Chile, this lodge is kind of a rainforest themed restaurant and park, where you get to feel all the welcoming warmth and enthralling expeditions through the rainforests in the vicinity. The mountain like feature that greets you is an enchanting visual when you first see the place. Completely mind boggling and an attention seeker, the first impression of the place makes you feel as if you have entered a world of magic. The continuously flowing waters from its peak make it further brilliant a picture for your eyes to soak in. Whereas in winters, it looks like a humungous snow clad mountain with small protruding windows in all directions making it stand out from the natural snow clad mountains. With the perfectly suiting name, this place makes sure that your experience here is spectral in all aspects. The array of activities that they offer you at the hotel is truly an exciting one.  A bit tricky till you find the place out, the roads to the hotel are a bit of puzzle to be solved using your directional skills. But once you get there, there is no regrets or no frowns absolutely and the hotel promises you a frown- free trip till the end.

Inside the volcano

interiors of la Montana   interiors of La Montana Magica

The interiors of the place are equally mesmerizing as compared to the outside view. Built in quality wood, the place takes the liberty to ensure the comfort of its guests in all possible ways. The rooms here have uniqueness with regards to the view. Being a mountain, every room has its own charm of scenic view through the windows, a snug bed and the marvelous bath. The windows are covered in flowing water which give you a feeling of sitting inside a small waterfall, but completely dry and warm. The service here is decent enough to make its guests feel pleasant throughout the stay. The good housekeeping and proper maintenance are the positive points that add up to the list. Although the service can be improved to a better level with respect to sophistication and communication, it manages to do the needful for your stay. The food served inside the hotel is as compelling as the theme itself. The taste being the topmost priority, you can expect an absolute gorgeous variety of foods to pamper your taste buds. They not only satisfy your tummy with the amusing dishes that they serve, but they also treat your eyes with the way they present it. All in all, the hotel takes good care of your basic needs.

The spa and the hot water tubs are the best place where you can shed off all your frustrations and drown in a serene atmosphere of the woods. The spa services here are amazingly managed and you get a good refreshing treatment. If not the spa, you can always bask in the hot waters listening to the running waters from the top of the cascade. With the beautiful scene spread out in front of you, you tend to lose all your anxiety and feel the peace inside you.

Fun endeavors

Huilo Huilo falls

Besides the hotel premises, the vicinity is full of adventurous and romantic things that can be experienced. A fun way to spend your winters with the family is snow-boarding and skiing. The hotel provides you with the facility of doing so in its vicinity. Also, if you want to stay all warm and nice in the chilly winters, the provision of a thermal lake has been made for the perfect evenings for you. The hiking trails through the rain forest are also a joy ride that people enjoy a lot. With the dense foliage surrounding you and the wild feeling inside your heart you feel free and away from the world. Breathing in the fresh cool breeze makes you feel like a part of the forest. The visit to the nearby Huilo falls puts the cherry on your cake with the pure waters flowing from immense heights. The longest zip line in South America also makes it a wonderful experience to view the picturesque scenario of the canopy of the entire forest. The additional activities like kayaking and sailing in the beautiful blue waters is invigorating and gives you a good adrenaline rush. The waters also provide you with a good enough catch to amuse yourself by fishing in the crystal clear lakes. Mountain biking and horseback riding are also marvelous as you get a spectacular time being so close to the environment you might never find in your day to day life.

An entirely new experience of a volcano of water, with the architecture and human mind at its craziest peak, this place serves you a quirky encounter of your life. If you are lucky enough, you also get to see the smallest deer species known as pudu. As fascinating as its looks, the hotel gives you a good exposure of living amidst the nature with comfort at your one call.



The Young Lion of the West: Rochester, Minnesota

The Young Lion of the West: Rochester, Minnesota

This little city is not the most famous or most beautiful in the U.S. state of Minnesota but it is surely the most sophisticated city in day and most rocking at night. Rochester is the county seat of Olmsted County and located on the banks of Zumbro River. This city has also been named as “Best Small City” in America by a recognized US magazine. All cities in Minnesota, including Rochester, are free from sales tax on medicines, groceries and clothing and very small rate of sales tax is levied on other goods so you will surely enjoy shopping here. It is also third largest city of Minnesota and is home to one of the most respected medical facilities in the world, the Mayo Practice. The history of this amazing city is also interesting as it was hugely shattered by the Great Tornado in 1883 and left many people dead or injured. Then Mayo worked hard to give a medical facility named St. Marys Hospital to the city because there were no medical facilities in Rochester that time. Fighting with all problems and crossing all the hurdles, today this city is one of the favorite destination of the visitors around the world.


The climate of Rochester is humid continental just like rest of the state with hot summers and no dry season. July is the warmest month with average maximum temperature of 80 degrees and January is quite bone chilling with average minimum temperature of 2 degrees. Rainfall is not so common here but you can see rain at any time of the year here. The month of July is the most rainy with 4.5 inches. The best time to visit Rochester is during March and April when spring knocks the door and keeps the weather pleasant.

How to get here?


Rochester International Airport is located just 8 miles south of Rochester and receives flights from all major countries and neighbor cities. However, there is also another airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, just 90 minutes from Rochester downtown which is also receives a lot of visitors to come to Rochester. Reaching downtown from the airport is cake walk as there are always buses, cabs, taxis, limos, trolleys waiting outside the airport for visitors. A number of highways also make Rochester accessible by road from many other cities and there are rail services also like Go Carefree Shuttle and Transports Amtrak.

Accommodation and Food

Double Queen Suite

There are more than 5000 hotel rooms, boutiques, hostels, apartments, villas, resorts around Rochester city and budget is absolutely no problem. One of the best Hotels is Doubletree by Hilton in Mayo Clinic Area featuring 100% smoke free rooms with king size beds, free internet, coffee maker, private spa, bar, pool and health club. In other luxurious options there is Comfort Suites at Maine Avenue, Broadway Residence and Suites by Bridge Street at 1st Street SE and Aspen Suites at 2nd Street SW. In budget accommodations, there is 2nd Street Inn & Suites, 5th Avenue Inn & Suites, Americlnn, Baptist Hospitality House and many more.


You will surely love the international tastes of this great city with its more than 160 restaurants, cafe and bars. Rochester has every type of food from American to Asian, Ethiopian to Greek, Indian to Italian and Mexican to Middle Eastern. You can enjoy Steaks, Fresh Fish and delicious Martinis at 300 First located at 1st Avenue, some good Root Beer and Burgers at A&W, traditional fast food at Arby’s South and hot & fresh bagels at Bruegger’s at Centerplace Subway. Other good Options include Bilotti’s Italian village, Fazoli’s, BB’s Pizza, City Cafe and Kinney Creek brewery.

The Attractions

Mayo Civic Center


The Mayo Civic Center is a multipurpose event complex located at Civic Center Dr SE in Rochester. It is the hub of entertainment for the locals and visitors. It has an exhibition hall covering an area of 25000 square feet with 1700 seats, specially designed for athletic events along with skating and ice hockey rinks. There is also famous theatre which exhibits some art shows and musical presentations. The original Center was designed by Ellerbe and Company but it was modified by other architects in 1972 including the centralized air conditioning system.


Mayo Civic Center is also famous for holding conferences, concerts, meetings, events, wedding receptions. It also gives the facilities of skyway to downtown hotels and shopping spots. There are more than 1500 hotel rooms connected by its skyway and 3900 parking spaces. There is also a park covering an area of 11 acre, also called Mayo Park, which is used for outdoor parties and events.

Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo


Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo is located in Olmsted County of Rochester, featuring a public park and a zoo. The Oxbow Park is a beautifully preserved area and provides good opportunities like hiking, camping and nature awareness. In 2004, 50 acres of land was gifted by Dr. David and Geraldline Donald to the park for public. Today it is a great tourist attraction and remains open daily for visitors. Zollman Zoo is home over 30 species and receives more than 50,000 visitors every year.

Gonda Building


Gonda Building is located right in the heart of Rochester campus and used as a medical building by Mayo Clinic. It is a great piece of architecture designed by Ellerbe Becket Architects and engineers and has 21 floors. The building is 305 feet high and was completed in 2001. Gonda building is home to a lot of major specialties like oncology, neurology, urology, cardiology which are located in the building centrally.

Other attractions in Rochester include Plummer House, Douglas State Trail, Chateau Theatre, Silver Lake, Apache Mall, Avalon Music, Oakwood Broadway Plaza and others.

Wind Cathedral, Namibia

Wind Cathedral, Namibia


We all know cathedrals made of bricks and stone but have you heard of the one made of…well…wind? The answer to that question is the Wind Cathedral of Namibia. Paul Godard turned the world’s attention to the beauty of the Namibian desert back in 2005 through his controversial photograph(shown above) of its sand dunes. It still remains a topic of debate as to whether the snapshot was genuine or was it adulterated by Photoshop. Nonetheless the effect that he created was sensational. People got curious and wanted to witness the Wind Cathedral for themselves. The place in question is Sossusvlei, which literally means “dead end marsh”.  Despite its name it still manages to be one of the topmost tourist attractions of the country.  You can find it at the southern part of the oldest desert in the world-the Namib desert, in the Namib Naukluft National Park.  The place happens to be a photographer’s paradise. The characteristic feature is the presence of sand dunes exhibiting a myriad range of colours from pink to orange. These dunes are not only vividly coloured but also monstrously high akin to miniaturised version of mountains, many of them being 200 meters tall. The highest one of them all is aptly named as the “Big Daddy”, standing at a height of 380 meters. These dunes have been formed over a period of a million years. They are believed to be 60-80 million years old and were formed by the Atlantic Ocean drifts that pushed the sands for eons. The sand dunes display a dynamic behaviour as in they constantly keep changing their contours and shapes due to the shifting of the wind. As a result we have:

  • Transverse dunes which are long and linear formed by  prevalent winds


  • Star dunes which have multiple ridges formed by multi-directional winds

download (1)

  • Barchan dunes which are formed by uni-directional winds and which are also the most mobile of them all.

images (1)

Some of the sturdy dunes are covered by bits of vegetation which creates marshes which are known as “vlei”, which solves the mystery of the second part of the name.  As to the mystery of the first part, the marsh forms an endorheic basin as in it retains the water and allows no outflow to external bodies like rivers and oceans hence forming a kind of dead-end. You can find many animals in this region ranging from small reptiles, antelopes to ostriches. One of the most fascinating of all such fauna is the Namib Desert Beetle that has a unique technique of collecting water from the fog using the bumps on its back. During the flood season one can see many migrant bird species which makes the place an ideal spot for bird watchers. The flood season occurs on an average of 5 to 10 years when the Tsauchab river flows through the Sesriem canyon.

images (2)

Some important landmarks include:

  • Sesriem: Sesriem is the gateway to Sossusvlei. A 60 kilometre long road presents the pathway from Sesriem to Sossusvlei.

download (4)

  • Elim dune: Elim dune is a lone sand dune located 5 kilometres from Sesriem. The dune was named after the farm that was there before the inception of the national park.

download (6)

  • Dune 45: Dune 45 got its name from the fact that the dune was situated 45 kilometres from Sesriem. It holds the envious tag of being the “most photographed dune in the world” because of its fascinating aesthetics. It stands tall at 80 metres and can be climbed with relative ease.

download (5)

  • Big Daddy: Big Daddy is the 7th highest dune in the world at a height of roughly 325-380 metres (it’s height could change due to the wind and sand shifts).  It is the highest dune in the region and faces another high dune known as “Big Mama”. Many climb it to catch a glimpse of the breath taking view from atop its summit.

images (4)

  • Petrified dunes: Petrified dunes are about one billion years old which have solidified into rock.

images (3)

  • Deadvlei: Deadvlei is a popular background set in many films and pictures due to its scenic landscape courtesy of dead acacia trees dotted about the clay pan which provides a stark contrast relative to the surrounding landscape. The scene from the film “The Cell” which starred Jennifer Lopez was shot at this place. The trees though dead have become perfectly preserved due to the fact that there is not enough moisture for decomposition to take place.

download (2)

Sossusvlei is the foremost attraction of Namibia and there are several facilities for tourists to enjoy this natural wonder. One can find a 2X4 parking, several accommodation facilities along the border of the park, several travel agencies offer trips and one may marvel at its magnificence aerially either through small planes or hot air balloons. The gate opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. The best times to witness these wonders are during sunset and sunrise when the shadows play around making the experience even more enriching. One of the popular activities is dune climbing. During the day it is marked with footprints of the day’s “mountaineers” and by night the marks are erased by the wind, leaving it how it was before man was born-silent and unmarked ready to greet the next set of explorers the next day. It is the perfect place for hiking, exploration and photography. So what are you waiting for? Get your DSLR and trekking boots and head out to experience the Wind Cathedral.



Damage of Everglades National Park due to hurricanes


Everglades National Park,USA

Everglades National Park,USA

Evarglades National Park is well-known and most famous park in America.It is one of the park to be preserved for its natural beauty in America not only for its nature but for its biological resources.It is the largest park for its sub-tropical wilderness reserves preserved in North American continent.

Location of Everglades National Park

Location of Everglades National Park

The Evarglades is situated on the southern part of the Floridan peninsula about nearly 20 miles to the east of Biscayne National Park.This consists of an area about 2,357 square miles where 20% of the area is covered by wet land.This is just an one hour drive from the Miami.The park is surrounded with 1.5 million acres of tropical and subtropical habitats which consists of the world’s unique diverse ecosystems.

The Everglades has been inhabited for more than 10,000 years  even when it is not discovered.Nearly,4,000 years ago the food supplies like fish,land animals,plants supported a great growth in its population.At 1513,Europeans arrived here when Ponce de Leon  was exploring for some medicinal portions in Florida and later he was killed.Later in 1500,the two groups fought between each other where one group were fishermen and the other ate shellfish.Later the Indian people,fishermen were eliminated by the diseases caused by Spanish like tuberculosis ,polio.Later ,that area was isolated for 300 years and Indians came but again they were moved back.Eventually,the Whited begin to settle the coastal areas in 1880′s who maintained their living through,hunting.

J.J.Audubon who tried to preserve the reserves

J.J.Audubon who tried to preserve the reserves

Later in 1832,J.J.Audubon visited and observed that this place has an amazing variety of birds and he made efforts to save them from hunters and his efforts were fulfilled in 1901 due to the law of prohibition of hunting.In 1916,This area was established as a Royal Palm State Park due to women clubs and in 1934 ,it has been treated as the National Park from where it has been named as International Biosphere Reserve,a Wetland(Ramsar Site) of International Importance and a World Heritage Site.It is declared as national park on 6th December 1947 under the 1934 May act of Congress

Everglades Rat Snake

Everglades Rat Snake

Tricolored Heron in Everglades

Tricolored Heron in Everglades


Swallowtail Butterfly

Swallowtail Butterfly

The Everglades safely protects about 800 species of land and water vertebrates,which includes  14 threatened species,25 mammals ,over 400 bird species,60 reptile species with also 2 threatened swallowtail butterfly species.Over 20 snake species are reserved including the dangerous indigo snake.Also,more than 275 species of fish are reserved in this park.It attracts the numerous visitors to the park.During autumn,some migrant birds and songbirds fly which is like a procession to watch.

Wet lands

Wet lands


Everglades' Florida Bay

Everglades’ Florida Bay


Tropical Hardwood Hammock in Everglades National Park

Tropical Hardwood Hammock in Everglades National Park

The tourists may not expect this type of geographical beauty which is very amazing sight.These are simple but unique.This park is surrounded of saw grass marshes,mangrove swamps(wetlands),hardwood hammocks,lakes,Florida Bay.The park is famous for its  animal life like alligators,and birds  and some distinct endangered species.

Popular Bird watching in Everglades National Park

Popular Bird watching in Everglades National Park

As this park is located along the path of avian migratory routes,birding is a popular activity.This park is a diversity home and is one of the world’s truly unique ecosystem.

The Alligator Farm

The Alligator Farm

The Everglades is a very shallow and slow current river,just up to fifty miles wide,the River of Grass forms as Lake Okeechobee overflows its bank to the Southern Florida plains.This subtropical Everglades contains a field of 220,000 acres of sugarcane within its boundaries which is nearly half of the canes produced in United States of America which is really an amazing fact.The Everglades of Florida is thee only area in the world where alligators and crocodiles exist together.It contains more than 2,000 alligators in the alligator farm.The trip to this farm is done through air boats of the surrounding river where a walking trail is there so that we can view alligators,crocodiles,caimans ,local and non-native snakes and an wildlife shoe every hour.This is probably an attraction we probably shouldn’t miss.

The park contains nearly 200 archealogical sites.The Miccosukee tribe of Florida has a special  permit in the park  as the park’s northern boundary is retained by those people.They guarded the walls such that they are not destroyed due to battles.

Airboat rides

Airboat rides

Jungle Walkways

Jungle Walkways


The park consists of several tourist attractions like air boat rides,safari restaurants,wildlife shows and jungle walkways,private tours which are really exciting to watch.It brings relief to the visitors with enjoyment where they can enjoy them also become astonished for the unique wonders present in this park.

Damage of Everglades National Park due to hurricanes

Damage of Everglades National Park due to hurricanes

The hurricanes occurred in South Florida destroyed the area known as Flamingo in Everglades National Park.All infrastructures like the visitor center,lodge,restaurant and cabins were damaged. NPCA is working on it for its redevelopment to enhance the visitor’s experience and restore the natural habitats of the America’s sole Everglades.

Beauty of the park

Beauty of the park

This amazing National Park is really a beauty to the earth which is highlighted for its bio resources,wildlife,plants,birds and its special tourist attractions like bird watching,air boat rides,alligator farms,wildlife shows,This really is a n amazing experience which enlightens our moods with joy just by watching its beauty.It really is a lifetime experience which cannot be forgotten.

The Classic Victorian City: Dunedin

The Classic Victorian City: Dunedin


Endless green pastures, serene landscapes, and awe inspiring biological diversity are some of the terms that rush in as soon as we get into talks of New Zealand, the marvel islands of the Pacific.

Located in the continent of Australia, New Zealand stands out as one of the most sought after travel destinations in the southern hemisphere. Its cities like Auckland and Wellington have been lauded amongst the top places in the world to live in. Amidst all this, there’s another place further down south that continues to hold its firm as the sublime bearer of the country’s cultural and geographical heritage, Dunedin.

Dunedin is the second largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. Some of its prime attractions being the Larnach Castle, Baldwin Street and rookeries of Yellow Eyed Penguins. The nightlife also forms a significant feature in the stay schedule of tourists. You can plan a trip to the city any time you want. Fair weather prevails almost throughout the year.


How to reach Dunedin.


All major carriers operate in and out from the Dunedin International Airport. Flights from Auckland and Brisbane are available pretty frequently. The airport is situated about 20 miles from the city periphery. You’ll need to get a taxi on touchdown. And the airport terminal has them in plentiful. Taxis also happen to be the best way to maneuver around the city. The city bus service is also quick and efficient.



Dunedin Dunedin_Nz_Accommodation

Staying in Dunedin is cheap and finding that perfect hotel is easy. Most of them are clustered in the center of the city. Hotel St Clair and Kingsgate are a few prominent names.


Things to do in Dunedin


Larnach Castle


The only castle in the whole of Nz, the Larnach Castle is a piece of exemplary architecture and offers sensational views of the Otago bay. It opens for visitors at 9 in the morning every day. It is surrounded on all sides by beautiful gardens. The castle stands just a few minutes’ drive from the city. Accommodation facility is also available for those willing to spend an extra day or two at the castle.


Penguin Place


Not many cities in the world would offer encounters with penguins, and Dunedin is among the select few.  A 40 minute ride from the city would take you to their nesting grounds. Adults and juvenile yellow-eyed penguins along with plenty of seals can be observed as you are guided through a labyrinth of foxholes and trenches. The animals will barely know you are there and thus this presents an invaluable chance to see them live in a totally isolated habitat. The admission charge is only 50$ and you can get discounts if you visit with family. The place is well protected and the authorities take ample care of these flightless birds.  The collection revenue is further directed towards the species’ conservation.


The Haunted Northern Cemetery


With the ghastly stories about the souls resting in that burial ground, this place is sure to give you the chills. The cemetery is located near the botanical garden on Lovelock Avenue and draws great interest from the people who love to experience things. The tombs of William Larnach and Thomas Bracken are widely renowned.  Other famous burials made here were of World War soldiers in mid-20th century.


Dunedin Architecture


Modern or ancient, almost every structure in Dunedin has a touch of the Victorian era designing. The court buildings, polices stations and other government owned buildings are all reflectance of the glorious past of the city. Some of the most notable architectural hotspots are the Hocken Building, St Pauls Cathedral and factions of the Otago University. A visit to the Municipal Chambers is also highly advised.


Baldwin Street


This place holds the world record for being the steepest street anywhere in the world. With a gradient in excess of 19 degrees the houses that have been erected here seem jaw-droppingly misaligned. The place is situated on the northern descent of Signal hill and is about 2 miles away from the City Centre. Around the year, numerous frolicking competitions are held here in which people from all around come to participate.  If you visit Dunedin, you must definitely take yourself to walk the Baldwin Street.


Night Life


It is never a gloomy moment in Dunedin even post nightfall. The city is packed with bars and pubs all dancing to beats of some really groovy music.  And if you are one of those who like to put the odds at stake, Dunedin Casino is the place to be. Roulette, Black Jack, name any and the casino will have a table for you. The Octagon district of Dunedin is something classified entirely as an entertainment zone with a host of places to hang out at. You also may come across some of the finest alcoholic ecstasies that you’ll ever have the chance to indulge in.


Meridian Mall


No trip to nowhere is unabridged without going shopping. And you shall find everything that you may come to Dunedin’s Meridian Mall ferreting for. All major fashion brands boast an outlet here, and later on when you are famished, the sensational food court will let you have your favourite fill ranging from Chinese to India, and absolutely everything. The Meridian Mall is one not to be missed.

The southern hemisphere of Earth has some of the most exotic travel destinations that you shall ever get a chance to see, but Dunedin surely, is one off the charts. You’ve got to experience it.