Knowing New York – 5 things every traveller should do

Everyone thinks they know everything about the city that never sleeps. We get most of our knowledge from TV, movies and glossy images that have infiltrated our minds from a young age – New York is seen as America’s central city. And with good reason! It’s mind blowing – packed with culture, art, shopping, food and home to some of the most amazing buildings in the world. Yes, we all know what we should do when we head to the big smoke, but some stuff that is less talked about is most certainly worth your time and effort.

5 things you need to do in New York

  1. New York by helicopter

Yes, this is an actual thing. You can take to New York’s sky on a helicopter and see the city from the sky. With views you simply can’t find elsewhere, the helicopter tour is an epic way to see the city.

  1. Taking the Highline

Go strolling. New Yorkers love this 1.45 mile long High Line that is situated on a once derelict elevated railway track. Brought to life by a maze of beautiful gardens (over 300 species of plants), water features and views of the awesome architecture – you can even see glimpses of the Hudson River from here.

  1. New York Movies

New York is the set to many a movie, and the city is a hub from those who love film. Swap movie star hunting for a visit to Film Forum. Indie features and documentaries, foreign art cinema and some of world’s top films are all presented here, it’s every local film buffs favourite.

  1. Grand Central Terminal

Beautiful, timeless and a favourite destination of so many who visit the city, and indeed those who call the city home. The gourmet culinary market is an excellent shopping/foodie experience.  . Explore the secret elevated passageways for a spectacular view of the concourse, and take a little wonder. There is a great history to the building itself and it’s just waiting to be explored (don’t forget to gaze at the celestial ceiling mural).

  1. Take in the views from the bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge came to life in 1883 and is one of the oldest steel –wire suspension bridges in the USA. It links Manhattan and Brooklyn and spans across the East River. A stroll across on the special pedestrian walkway offers all New York visitors great views of the city and at the Brooklyn end the area has been recently redeveloped with parks, piers and a carousel. The Manhattan end is close to the downtown sights of City Hall and the New York City Supreme Court. All in all it’s a pretty awesome spot and when in New York it’s definitely a must see.

Thinking of seeing it all for yourself? Taking in the views, eating the food and soaking up all New York City has to offer – what’s not to love? Great travel sights like Expedia offer great deals on cheap flights and hotels in New York City. Whenever you head to New York, you’ll be mesmerised by all the city has to offer and no matter what you read, see or do – nothing will quite prepare you for visiting a place like NYC!

Image – Pixabay

Wine Tasting and tasty Vineyard Lunch in Auckland  

Auckland is a large cosmopolitan city with about a third of New Zealand’s entire population residing here. It has an interesting mix – with European influences mixing with various Polynesian cultures – and this diversity shows through during festivals and in their food. The volcanic, clay rich soil are common across the wine growing regions in Auckland – Waiheke, West Auckland (Henderon, Kumeu) and Matakana.

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There are numerous wine tours, which will offer to pick you up from your hotel and take you around to 2-3 of the several small vineries in the area. Car hire rates in Auckland are quite reasonable, especially if you are renting a car for a longer period. You could do that to enjoy the city’s various wine regions at your own pace.

Tourists can begin their day with a morning tea in one of the charming cafes of the city, followed by a 40-minute ferry ride to the country’s most popular vineyards in The Waiheke Island. Waiheke is home to a fine set of vineyards as well as unique restaurants. Three premier wineries of the Waiheke are Mudbrick Estate, Te Whau and The Goldie Room. As you enjoy some of the finest wines in the country, enjoy the panoramic views of Mudbrick Estate. Take a tour of The Goldie Room, Waiheke’s first and most well-established vineyard, before experiencing their range of fine wines, accompanied some seafood classics exclusive to the region.  Te Whau Vineyard will be the last stop on the tour where the 360-degree views and spectacular architecture and the critically acclaimed range of wine leaves you totally smitten.

An hour’s drive north of Auckland through the lush green landscapes will take you to the award winning vineyards of the Matakana Coast and the Mahurangi River Winery. Exquisite wineries with day long tours that explore the art of making beautiful wine and cheese is the highlight of these places.

The Matakana Coast is popular for its succulent range of seafood and retail therapy. Lunch at Mahurangi set against the trail of contemporary sculptures with the ecstatic cocoa smell from the Chocolate Brown is indeed a feast everyone must experience.

The third region of repute within Auckland is the Kumeu and the Matua Valley. Tourists visiting Auckland are recommended to visit one of these areas to experience the wine growing experience of the region.

 

Freelance Teaching in Hong Kong

Are you a teacher looking for a great place to earn a living and experience an exciting and diverse culture? Or are you stuck at home working a job you don’t love, wishing you could fill your life for adventure? Whether or not you have teaching experience, there is an opportunity for you to live an incredible life in Hong Kong teaching students there on your own schedule. Talk about living in freedom! Want to learn how to do it? Just read on!

First of all, why Hong Kong? This is a buzzing city with thriving culture and so many things to see and do. There are tons of expats here, so you’ll easily find a community to mesh with. But most of all, there is a huge abundance of students here looking to improve their skills and keep up with the increasingly competitive job market. So as a native English speaker, you have an advantage here which will help you easily find work in Hong Kong.

Freelance teaching has many benefits over working for a school or institution. First of all, it allows you the freedom to set your own schedule with your students. If you want to keep your weekends completely free, you can do so – but if you don’t mind working weekends, you can have your day off in the middle of the week instead. You’re not bound to a specific schedule like you might be at a school or institution. Also, you are not bound by any contracts which will make you stay in Hong Kong for a number of years. You are free to leave at any time (but with the lifestyle here, you may find yourself wanting to stay forever!)

So how can you go about freelance teaching in Hong Kong? For students here, searching for tutors in Hong Kong is made easy using resources such as Findatutor, which matches up students with tutors in their particular subject area they want to learn. So as a potential tutor, we recommend you create a profile so you can be easily searched and connected with students looking for your services.

As you can see, it just takes a bit of effort and experience to start a successful career as a freelance teacher in Hong Kong. You will have a whole new world of experiences open up to you, and your life will never be the same.

Explore Qatar through these Splendid Means

Qatar is one of the fastest growing countries in the Gulf Region. Doha, its capital is one of the world’s leading markets and is trying to carve a niche as a cultural as well as educational capital. No wonder tourists are visiting the country in large numbers in order to be a part of this growing enterprise.

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Listed below are the five great ways through which you can travel around Qatar.

 

  1. Flight – The Doha International Airport is located within five kilometres of the main capital city. Flights from almost all countries travel to and fro from this airport. Moreover, all the major hotels are located in the vicinity of the airport, such as Sheraton, Ritz, etc. Some of these hotels also provide you with pick ups and drop offs.

 

  1. Bus – As has already been stated earlier, Qatar is a fast developing place. A public bus service is being designed and developed by the Qatari authorities which will provide easy and comfortable transportation to the commuters. These air-conditioned buses shall travel to and fro from Doha to other cities such as Al- Khor, Al- Wakara, etc.

 

  1. Taxi – Another means of moving around Qatar is through taxis. The air conditioned green taxis are known as ‘karwa’ taxis. There is another kind of taxi which are known as ‘limousines’. They are however more expensive than their green counterparts.

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  1. Car – You can also hire cars, through which you can explore Qatar with utmost convenience. It is advisable that you pre-book them, and settle issues like fare with the agencies beforehand, in order to avoid being cheated. Most of the car agencies operate in and around the Doha International Airport. Hence, availing their services is no big deal. A major car hire service provider that you can go for is Hertz car rental.

 

  1. Limousines – If you are really in the mood of splashing bucks, then limousine is the best option. They are as amazing as the name suggests and spending a hefty amount on it is worth it, because of the care and comfort it provides you.

Exploring Sydney’s Biggest Construction Marvel

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Considered to be one of Australia’s most well known and highly photographed landmarks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge attracts millions of visitors each year. While it may not be the world’s longest, it continues to be the largest bridge with a steel arch standing 134 metres above the harbour. Also known as the ‘coat-hanger’ among the locals, the bridge started construction almost a century ago in 1924.

Activities to Pursue on and around the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Conquering the Construction Marvel

Since 1998, thousands of tourists and locals are able to sign up for a Bridge Climb. Enthusiasts can climb through ladders, stairs and catwalks to experience breath-taking views of the city. These climbs are scheduled during the day, twilight as well as during the nights and usually take place in groups of 12 after every 10 minutes. Considered one of the ‘must-dos’ while in Sydney, some of the world’s biggest celebrities such as Matt Damon, Kylie Minogue and Princess Mary of Denmark boast of having accomplished this climb.

 Visiting the Pylon Lookout

For those who aren’t too adventurous, visiting the Pylon Lookout at the south eastern end of the bridge is an excellent way to gain some insight about the bridge through an elaborate exhibition. Don’t forget to enjoy the spectacular views from the top of the pylon.

 Dining by the Harbour Bridge

Choosing to dine in this area can prove to be extremely captivating in the day time and equally magical after the sun sets. With exquisite locations such as the Cockle Bay, Walsh Bay, The Rocks, Pyrmont and Woolloomoolo, visitors and locals cannot stop raving about the magnificent atmosphere and views made available through the restaurants here.

For instance, there are a number of waterside locations you can choose from. Here, you could choose to spend every single day of your trip selecting a different sparkling water view and enjoying the gorgeous food made available through unique eateries.

If you are looking for a truly opulent way to enjoy this area, consider booking yourself a seaplane that will take you over the gorgeous city while you enjoy a scrumptious lunch onboard.

With a host of activities to do and eateries to explore, consider renting a vehicle while in Sydney. With a car at your dispense, getting to and around the Sydney Harbour area becomes a lot more comfortable and convenient. With Hertz offering a host of tourist friendly services, getting around an unknown city is never a problem with the right on-road partners.

3 Interesting facts about Mt. Kilimanjaro

Soon I will be heading off on my long awaited trip to Mt Kilimanjaro. I can’t wait to get there, the excitement has been giving me sleepless nights! I’ll soon be boarding my trip to Tanzania for what I think will be the trip of a lifetime. Of course I’ve been doing non stop research, I have found out so many interesting facts over the past few weeks I wanted to share them with you. If you’re interested in Tanzania or Mt Kilimanjaro then you will find them very useful indeed.

It is the tallest free-standing mountain on the planet

Mt Kilimanjaro measures 19,341 feet, in meters that’s a whopping 5,898! It is obviously the tallest mountain in the whole of Africa and it can also take the title for being the highest free standing mountain on the planet. To get an idea of just how big it is – in Japan, Mt Fuji is 12,388 feet (3,776 meters), if we were to put these two free standing mountains side by side you would see Mt Kilimanjaro towering of Fuji.

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Thousands try to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro each and every year

All climbers say that reaching the peak is absolutely amazing but the most exhilarating part is the climb, this is why more than 20,000 people head to the slopes ever year. Now here are the crazy facts about the 20,000 that attempt the climb each year; around two thirds will make it to the peak, 1,000 have to be evacuated from the mountain and unfortunately 10 perish. One of the main issues is that people fall foul to altitude sickness, at the peak of Kilimanjaro you will have around 50% less oxygen in each breath as you do at sea level.

Who was the first man to climb Mt Kilimanjaro?

As I have said just now, thousands of people climb Kilimanjaro each year but who was the first person to have made it to the top? A german man called Hans Meyer was the first to reach the peak way back in 1889 – it’s crazy to think how tough that must have been back then! I know that the air is thin up there but there must be something good about it because after giving tours of the mountain for seventy years, Mr Meyer lived to 124!

Essential India Travel Tips for First Timers

If you’ve never been to India before, I’m sure you’ll have a great time on your first trip there. However, there are a few things you should be aware of to make sure that this will be the trip of a lifetime. These essential travel tips should help you:

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Staying Comfortable

If you want to stay comfortable, you’ll need some good walking shoes and sandals. I also recommend something to swim in, but a one piece is more appropriate than a two piece. If you want to travel light, leave most of your clothes at home and simply buy your clothes over here. The tunics and trousers will suit the weather, cover you up nicely, and will stop people trying to sell to you or beg from you. The least you’ll need is a long scarf to make sure you can enter holy buildings.

 

Practice and Study Yoga

If you’d like to practice and study yoga where it originated, then head over to Rishikesh. It’s great for women travelling alone here. You’ll meet other women and get some exercise too! Just make sure you keep your wits about you if you’re a lone woman.

 

Staying Safe

It’s important you stay safe, especially if you’re a woman travelling alone. Even if you’re not, the same rules apply! The following pointers should stop you from getting unwanted attention:

  • Don’t wear skimpy clothing. Shorts, skirts, and strappy tops should be avoided. A traditional Indian suit is recommended.
  • Don’t be too friendly with men who approach you, even if they are hotel staff. Speak to the women instead. You will rarely see an Indian woman speak to a man unless she’s with her husband.
  • If you find a male is staring at you, look down and away. This will let him know you are not interested. Anything else could be taken the wrong way.
  • Never accept an alcoholic drink from a stranger.
  • Don’t walk in quiet areas by yourself.

 

Avoiding Fatigue

Try not to do too much at once, as visitors all agree you can get fatigued quickly. The place isn’t going anywhere, so take your time when exploring.

 

Carefully Choose Your Route

By thinking about what you’d like to get out of your trip, you can plan your route accordingly. The most popular route is where you start in Delhi, then Agra, then finally Jaipur. Each place is great for different things. For example, Delhi is great for shopping. Taking an Indian Tiger Safari is recommended, whichever route you choose.

 

Eating

You don’t want to end up with an illness because you ate suspicious food. Lots of people take on the vegetarian way of life in India, as there are a lot of dishes to choose from. Many Indians are vegetarian too. Try it!

If you’re spending part of your gap year in India, you can get more great ideas here. I hope you found these travel tips useful, and they prepared you for your trip. Have fun! See you next time.

 

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Awesome Ideas for How to Spend Your Gap Year

There’s no doubting that the university years are often some of the busiest and most challenging of your life. There’s the pressure of exams, and you may also be learning to live independently for the first time. There’s also social pressure to consider. The fresher years are notorious for being full of parties and alcoholic excess. So, it’s of little wonder that many people decide to take a gap year, before continuing their education. For the majority of people, this is a wise decision. Number one, because it allows people to rest and refresh themselves after what could be more than a year of study. Number two, it gives young adults an opportunity to explore the world, meet different people, and have new and exciting experiences.

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Explore your Options

The question is, with a whole world to explore, and so many options available to us, how exactly do we go about choosing how to spend our gap year? Well, this post is here to help you answer that very question! Firstly, it’s useful to have a quick brainstorming session to help you narrow down what you hope to get out of your year off. Ask yourself, what are my priorities? Do you want to experience different cultures and learn about indigenous customs and traditions of native people? Perhaps you’d like to taste fine cuisines and exotic delicacies from around the globe? However, many people find that the most rewarding ways of spending your gap year is to volunteer in a country in desperate need of help.

 

A Place in Need…

The idea of setting off to a foreign country as a volunteer or charity worker can be pretty daunting. Such countries may have been ravaged by war and political conflict. Others may also be affected by famine and disease. This can be extremely upsetting for a person of any age, let alone a young adult. So, it can be a bit of a shock to the system on first arrival.

 

However, this is exactly why you’re out there in the first place. Once you adjust to the situation and start to get to work, you’ll see just how much of a difference you can make. You could help to build houses for communities in need, or teach English to the children of an isolated village in a third-world country. Perhaps you have an interest in environmental preservation? If so, organisations such as ‘The Leap’ offer gap-year travel options that cover all of these areas.

 

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Remember, there are no right or wrong ways to spend your gap year. If you want to spend it in your pyjamas watching old reruns of ‘Big Bang Theory’, then that’s perfectly okay. But if you do decide to venture out into the big old world, you may just find that it’s the best decision you ever made. Because ultimately how you decide to spend your gap year will help to determine what kind of adult you become. So if you want to be courageous, adventurous and live your life to the full, then you know what you have to do. If not, then the remote control’s right where you left it.

Avignon: One of France’s Most Beautiful Cities

When you think of France, you might first think of Paris and the Eiffel Tower, then perhaps the French Riviera, countryside or other famous parts of this gorgeous country. But if you haven’t heard of Avignon, then it’s time to learn about one of the most beautiful and lesser-known cities in magical France. It’s an ancient, historical town rich in culture and life, so plan to spend at least a few days here because you really won’t want to leave once you’ve arrived! Avignon is a quick and cheap flight from London and many other European cities, so it’s the perfect destination to visit for a weekend or longer! Here are some great things to see and do in Avignon, France:

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Places (or Squares)

In a French town like Avignon, everything is centered around the “Places”, or what we could call town squares. They are often very picturesque, quaint and filled with lovely shops and cafes to explore. The Place de l’Horloge is a long square lined with terrace cafes, and a gorgeous carousel at one end. Here you can visit a clock tower with the first public clock built in the town. Place du Palais is a different type of square, large and open, and often filled with street performers, making this a great meeting point and entertaining spot to wait! And Place de la Pignotte is shady and tree-lined, lined with gorgeous architecture and churches.

Hiking

Avignon is a great spot to explore the outdoors, as it is surrounded by lush countryside and trails. You can pick up a map at your hotel and head out for the day to take in the scenic outdoors. The hikes around Avignon are generally quite easy so you don’t need to worry about being an expert hiker. And if you’re not into hiking, Avignon is a town easily explored by foot so you can enjoy the outdoors without even leaving the town limits. If you travel in summer, expect warm weather; fall and winter can be chilly so make sure to bring extra layers. Springtime tends to warm up and the surrounding areas brighten up with blossoms.

Dining

When in France, you absolutely must indulge in the local cuisine, as it’s one of the most important parts of the culture here. Starting at the Place de l’Horloge, you can explore the sidewalk cafes and try the local specialties and bakeries offering divine pastries and coffee. Meandering throughout the town, you’ll find all sorts of little restaurants offering fine foods, often with a pleasant outdoor terrace to sit and enjoy the views.

Accommodations

Whatever type of accommodation you prefer, you can surely find it in Avignon. But one of the most lovely ways to enjoy this town is to stay at a local bed and breakfast, where you can stay with locals and enjoy a quaint and cozy room and freshly made breakfast in the morning. Avignon also has a wide variety of hotels to choose from based on budget and style.

The Magic of San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the biggest players in terms of must see American cities and funnily enough – it’s one of the smallest at only 49 square miles. Within that small space, lays an absolutely magnificent city that offers a vast amount to see and do and better yet – it’s all very easy. Compact, easily to commute around and no time constraints – San Francisco is hiving.

It would be very easy to stay in San Francisco and spend weeks covering very little of what the city has to offer. To help make this easier for you if you are planning a trip to ‘The City by The Bay’.

Things to do in San Francisco

 

1. The Golden Gate Bridge

Upon visiting San Francisco – you are not only expected to see the Golden Gate Bridge, you are obliged. One of the most famous bridges in the world – it’s a sight to behold and will amaze even the most experienced travellers. It’s a huge – 1.7 miles long and it’s estimated that 120,000 vehicles drive across it every day. You can also cross the bridge on foot via the pedestrian walkway and for the keen cyclist – bikes are allowed on the western side. And if you don’t fancy travelling across, you should go and see it anyway as it is said to be one of the most photographed attractions on Earth.
San Francisco, CA, USA
Image Source: Rant Lifestyle

2. Alcatraz

Although a bit of a strange tourist sight – this notorious former prison is a popular choice for the historian and curious traveller among you. Located on an Alcatraz Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, this prison was formally home to some of the United States’ most notorious criminals. The prison was closed in the 1960’s and stories about Alcatraz are legendary and a visit to Alcatraz is truly captivating.  Recorded cell-house tours are available, allowing you to experience the entire history from an educational point.  To reach the island, take an Alcatraz Cruises ferry from Pier 43.

Alcatraz IslandImage Source: Protails

3. Sample the Culture

San Francisco is a cultural hub and a visit to San Fran would not be complete without experiencing all this wonderful city has to offer.  Home to internationally recognized symphony, opera and ballet companies – you’ll never be short of a thing or do to do and see.  Museum’s come in abundance – The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Asian Art Museum, the de Young Museum and the Palace of the Legion of Honor. The city is dedicated to the finest of classical and contemporary arts and of course is home to California Academy of Sciences which homes an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest all under one roof.

 

4. Take a cable ride

One of the best ways to explore the city of San Francisco is by cable car and the city’s cable car system is the world’s last manually operated cable car system.  These cable cars can take you from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf, two of the most popular areas of the city.  They are mainly used by tourists and are an iconic site of the city as they travel along the many famous streets and lanes – many of which have appeared in Hollywood movies down the years.

A-cable-car-San-FranImage Source: Fun Cheap SF

5. Sample the cuisine at Fisherman’s Wharf

The last thing to do when in San Francisco is to make the most of the quality local produce and fine cuisine on offer across the city, none more so than in the many restaurants and cafes of the popular Fisherman’s Wharf.  Pier 39 is another popular area for food lovers among you, but if you want to sample some of the best seafood dishes in the world, then take a walk around Fisherman’s Wharf – you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Fishermans-WharfImage Source: Wikipedia