Daily Archives: 27.09.2014

The Queen of Hills – Darjeeling



The Queen of Hills – Darjeeling

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?

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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

Accommodation

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.

Food

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

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

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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-morocco-mosque

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.

GET IN

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.

THINGS TO SEE

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.

Mosque_Hassan_II_Casablanca

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.

Corniche

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.

Sidi_Abderrahmane

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.

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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.

Christmas-Market-Overview1

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?

distillery2

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.

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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!