Category Archives: Blog

Corinthia Hotels 50% Off Annual Sale Is Here!

No, I’m not kidding. Corinthia Hotels is back with their fantastic annual sale so if you are thinking about booking your next European getaway, look no more.

If there is one chain of hotels in Europe that never fails to deliver a sense of luxury and divine comfort to its guests, it has to be Corinthia Hotels. Their hotel locations are in some of the most spectacular European cities and each one of them has it’s own unique look to it and impeccable hospitality. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, Corinthia Hotels will provide you with a stay to remember.

Now, I want to show you how you can score a room for less than $100 in one of their fabulous five-star hotels.

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Once you have your favorite Corinthia location figured out, head over to Corinthia.com and book your stay online, because like that you will be eligible for 50% off on all hotel rooms in most of our favorite European destinations (Corinthia Hotel London is the only exception, offering 30% off)! If you are still not convinced (which I cannot see why you wouldn’t be!), as part of this offer, Corinthia is also promising complimentary room upgrades, extended check-outs, and discounts in its restaurants and bars, available exclusively through their website.

Below are the starting prices of each of Corinthia Hotels’ gorgeous destinations for 2017:

  • Corinthia Budapest: Rates start from €145 per room per night
  • Corinthia St George’s Bay (Malta): Rates start from €100 per room per night
  • Corinthia Lisbon: Rates start from €80 per room per night
  • Corinthia London: Rates starting from £495 per room per night
  • Corinthia Palace Hotel and Spa (Malta): Rates start from €90 per room per night
  • Corinthia Prague: Rates start from €85 per room per night
  • Corinthia St Petersburg: Rates start from 4975 RUB per room per night

Don’t hold your thought for too long though as the discounted prices are only available until 28th February 2017. However, as long as you complete your booking on time, the timing of your stay can be anytime this year – until 31st December 2017. Visit http://www.corinthia.com/annualsale/ for Terms and Conditions and other important information about the offer

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Travel Guide: Machu Picchu

 

When you want to go somewhere in South America, it is only natural to think of Machu Picchu when it comes to any South America Travel. There are so many things to do and see at this incredible citadel that is over 500 years old! In this article we will talk a little bit more about Machu Picchu and enjoying your first trip there and how you can make it as special as the place itself.

machu stone

History

One of the reasons that Machu Picchu is so famous is due to it being the lost city of the Inca empire. The reason it is known as this is because it was completely untouched by the Spanish when they occupied Peru, therefore it presents some very good examples of intact Inca architecture. Machu Picchu is also the most magnificent Inca ruin of all and this is reflected by the huge number of visitors each year and its status as one of the wonders of the world.

When to go

No matter how hard you try it will be very difficult to avoid some form of wet weather when visiting Machu Picchu, especially with damp and foggy conditions that are typical of such high altitudes. The peak tourist season runs from the end of may until August. Typically July and August are the drier months of the year and between January and February are the wettest.

In terms of picking a time of day to see Machu Picchu, it is advisable to try and get there as early as possible. This is great, not only for avoiding the bulk of the tourists, but also for catching the most amazing sunrise you will see in your life. Any time after lunch time is when the most tourists will be arriving, so if you have anything that you really want to take some time to look at then it is best to plan your visit around this.

Options

The most popular options for getting to the citadel are the two day or four day trail. The four day trail is much more challenging and runs for just over 40km, but is very up and down and is recommended for hikers with some experience. Of course this journey can be made much easier by employing the help of porters to help carry your things.

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What to see

  • Temple of the Sun –  This semicircular temple is an amazing way to experience the views of the Sacred Valley. The temple is thought to house
  • Inti Watana – This unusual, multi tiered stone was believed to tether the sun in the sky in its path each day by the Incas, and was therefore very important to the sun worshipping Inca people.
  • Terraces – Machu Picchu is home to hundreds of terraces that were used for agriculture, which is quite a unique and ingenious invention given the terrain of the high mountains. These terraces have their own complex irrigation system that was typical of the Inca people.
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Ways learning an instrument can help you in life

If you’re like me you wanted to learn to play an instrument for a long time. Finding the drive to take the time to learn isn’t always easy though. Sure, the thought of being able to pick up a guitar and whale out an amazing rift or sit at a piano and captivate listeners with a melodic piece should be motivation enough to get practicing and start learning. Sometimes you need more motivation than that. Here is a list of way learning to play an instrument can actually improve qualities in your life.

 

Time Management

Many times finding a tutor to improve your skills and motivate you it’s a worthwhile investment. Finding music tutors in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, or London can easily be done online. The great thing about finding a tutor is that the time spent learning will be more focused and streamlined. You won’t have distractions like checking your phone every few minutes or getting sidetracked by the TV or computer.

 

Concentration

You’ll find that even if you know the exact chords to play, you’ll still need to have a 6th sense on the tone, pitch, key, rhythm and tempo of your instrument. Not only that, but you will have to listen to others around you to make sure they are performing correctly.

 

Confidence

Starting out most are quite shy and timid about their musical abilities. With practice and starting with small performances for friends and family you can gain confidence in your ability. Once you are certain of your capabilities you can perform at venues, busk or join a band and put on concerts. It’s incredible how much your personal confidence will increase.

 

Coordination

When you are reading musical notes you must then applying what you’ve read to a series of body movements. Much of it is hand-eye coordination but once you really begin to practice and be able to play an instrument you will no longer need to watch where your hand are, they will just know through memory.

 

Develops Team Skills

The great thing about music is by adding more instruments you can make more interesting sounds. It’s hard to play every instrument by yourself so of course people get together and make music. In order to do this you must work with the other musician and collaborate in sticking each note to make truly beautiful music,

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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

 

 

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The Dingle Peninsula – one of Ireland’s most beautiful destinations

Once described as the most beautiful place on earth by National Geographic, The Dingle Peninsula is amongst the most stunning, written about, photographed and talked about places in the whole of Ireland. If the dramatic scenery isn’t enough to tempt you into visiting, then there are a few other fine reasons why you should visit Dingle this year.

5 Reasons to consider a trip to Dingle, Ireland this year

1. History & Language

If you want to experience a true piece of Ireland, there is no such better way than visiting Dingle. As one of Ireland’s Government-protected Irish (Gaelic)-speaking areas, called “Gaeltachts,” you’ll be amazed by the beautiful sounds of the Irish language that surround you here. Dingle is also historically rich; there is no other landscape in Western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. Due to the peninsula’s remote location, and lack of specialised agriculture, there is an extraordinary preservation of over 2,000 monuments. Visit Dingle for a chance to see and experience a history that is very much alive.

 

Dingle-Kerry

 

2. Swim with Fungi; Dingle’s own Dolphin

Not many places in the world can claim to host a dolphin the natural way, offering visitors the chance to see these beautiful creatures up close and personal in their natural habitat, but Dingle does! Fungi is a male bottle nose dolphin who has taken up residence in Dingle Harbour, for reasons unknown, but many suspect he too was lured by the harbours beauty. In 1984, Paddy Ferriter, the Dingle Harbour lighthouse keeper, first began watching the lone wild dolphin escort the town’s fishing boats to and from port. He has remained here since, during which time he has become something of a local celebrity. Boat trips run from Dingle to see Fungi, which are fee refundable if he doesn’t show up. Wet suits are also for hire, so it is possible to swim with Fungi.

3. Explore Dingle

With so much beauty and scenery, it’s only right to fully explore the area and there are a few very wonderful ways of doing so. Mount Brandon is the largest mountain in the area and the 9th largest mountain in Ireland and so climbing up here will give you an excellent view point, as well as the chance to appreciate some of Ireland’s finest greenery and unusual flora and fauna.  The town of Dingle is also a must see for all those stopping by, filled with tradition, friendly faces and great nightlife – you’ll be in awe of your surroundings.

Traditional-Shop-Kerry

4) Visit the Dingle Brewery

You don’t have to go all the way to Dublin to experience firsthand brewery craft. Dingle opened its brewery doors in 2011, on an historic site which was formally a creamery. You’ll get the chance to experience this beautiful old building, situated just outside Dingle and enjoy all the brewery has to offer. Fine beer is a strong tradition in Ireland and the Dingle Brewery lives up to that tradition.

5) Visit the Great Blasket Island

A trip to the Dingle Peninsula means you have access to so much more around you. A fine example of this is the Great Blasket Island, another beautiful island close to Dingle. Now uninhabited, this scenic island was once home to some of the finest writers Ireland produced, who told great tales in their own Gaelic language.

Whatever your reasons for visiting Ireland this year, be sure to consider Dingle in Kerry along the way. You won’t be disappointed by the warm and hospitable people and the scenery that draws both Irish people and visitors from around the world year after year.

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Chinese New Year: The best festival in the world!

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Chinese New Year is without question the best New Year festival in the world, forget the night of December 31 because this fifteen day festival is much more fun, colourful and interesting. We all know that our traditional new year celebrations can be a let down, we build it up so much and then it always seems to not live up to our expectations! Well, with Chinese New Year you have more than one night to have fun so you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun on at least one day I am sure. It’s great that we can now see Chinese New Year being celebrated throughout the world, this is because more people are now able to experience this fantastic festival. Enjoying the food and learning about a new culture is always good, it allows us to get an insight into another country without having to fly all of the way there. If you haven’t been lucky enough to see Chinese New Year for yourself then click here to watch a great video, the visual you get will make you want to find next year’s celebrations. I am sure that you will be able to find one near you because the festival is growing throughout the globe each year.

The Chinese New Year celebrations are all focused on welcoming in the new Lunar year and making sure that you have as much luck as possible. A lot of things are related to health, wealth and family. When it comes to money and finances the Chinese believe that you should not go into the new year with any debts, so it is tradition to pay off any money that you owe to friends or family – this is perfect the cousin you only see once a year owes you some cash!

Usually the festival is the only time that a family will be together during the year. The majority of families will not all live together in the same city or town, so the festival gives families the opportunity to site together and have a reunion over a fabulous feast of food. You will see some tasty food on offer, if you have any Chinese friends then make sure you try and get an invite to the party so you can eat as much amazing food as possible!

This year is the year of the horse, to find out which animal represents the year you were born then enter your date of birth of below, you will also find out some other great insights into you and your future.

The Thomas Cook Chinese New Year Horoscope Finder

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Experience traditional China: Kunming

China is an extraordinary place, and I think a major part of its appeal among tourists is the fact that there are just so many experiences you can have here. If it’s traditional China you’re keen to discover, the city of Kunming should definitely be high on your to-do list.

All about Kunming

Kunming is the capital of the Yunnan province, which is in south-west China. One of the things I like most about it is that, despite having all the features you’d expect of a modern city (skyscrapers, massive shopping centres and such), it’s also got heaps of more traditional attractions. So, in my opinion there are few places to get a better experience of China’s past and present.

Another thing I like about it is that it somehow feels quite a bit more laid-back than many Chinese cities – something to do with the mild climate, perhaps, or its beautiful green parks.

What to see and do

Of course, no doubt what you’re most interested in is finding out what you can see and do while you’re here. Below, I’ve highlighted three of my favourite attractions, each of which I think has something quite different (and special) to offer. It’s worth bearing these in mind when organising your holiday to China to make sure you get an itinerary that works for you.

Visit the Bamboo Temple

Dating back to the Tang Dynasty, the Bamboo Temple was rebuilt in the 15th century following a fire. It is later restoration work, carried out in the 19th century, that has really helped to put this place on the map though.

You see, back in the 1800s, Chinese sculptor Li Guangxiu helped out with the temple’s restoration, and when he did he created 500 amazing life-size – and incredibly lifelike – figures, including a series of surfing Buddhas riding on things like unicorns and crabs. It’s rumoured he modelled these creations on people he knew, almost like a caricature – and that these people were none too happy about it!

I should probably warn you that tourists aren’t actually allowed into the room with the statues these days – but you can still catch a glimpse of them as you meander around.

Green Lake Park

Green Lake Park is one of the best places to go if you want to relax a little. As well as being a lovely place for walks, it’s also a great place for nature-spotting – especially if you’re planning to travel in November, since this is when the red-beaked seagulls are around.

If birdwatching isn’t your thing, though, people-watching is a popular pastime here too. Alternatively, the roads along the park have a lot to offer too if you fancy something a little more lively, with plenty of shops and cafes located here.

Yunnan Provincial Museum

My final suggestion is Yunnan Provincial Museum, which is a great place to learn more about local early cultures. There are around 50,000 artefacts to peruse, including 7,000 bronze items and 4,000 handicrafts.

While all these are very impressive, I think the highlight for most people is the fossilised humanoid teeth, which are around 1.7 million years old!

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Discover the geological wonders of Iceland

When it comes to natural beauty, it’s fair to say Iceland takes some beating. After all, this magical land is largely unspoilt by human civilization, with visitors able to dive into volcanic pools, explore lunar-esque landscapes and spot a massive range of fascinating wildlife. And, as if that’s not enough, Iceland’s towns and cities are also fully deserving of their reputation as progressive cultural hubs, with tourists able to join locals in enjoying some of the best contemporary music or vibrant nightlife after a long day getting back to nature.

blue lagoon Iceland
Booking a cruise from Liverpool is a good way to see the country’s most spectacular sights. Here are just a few of the natural wonders it has to offer:

Godafoss Waterfall: Located just off the main highland road, which runs to the north of the country from bustling Reykjavik, Godafoss is a true force of nature. Here the river Skjalfandafljot falls from a height of around 12 m across a width of more than 30 m. Not only does this make for a spectacular sight, especially since the waterfall is surrounded by the natural beauty of the start of the Icelandic highlands, but the noise is also something few visitors are ever likely to forget. The fact that the falls loom large in the mythical history of the Icelandic people, with the first Christians alleged to have thrown their statues of the Norse Gods into the waters following their conversion, only adds to the sense of wonder.

The Blue Lagoon: One of Iceland’s biggest geothermal spas, the Blue Lagoon is also one of its most popular, both among visitors and locals. And it’s not hard to see why. The naturally warm waters are rich in a range of minerals, and as such are said to be highly beneficial to the health, and especially to the skin. Even if you’re fit and healthy, a bathe in the lagoon is still the ideal way to spend a lazy afternoon, with a waterside bar and café meaning you can make a whole day of it.

The Blue Lagoon is just a 40-minute trip from downtown Reykjavik, making it a popular destination among tourists stopping off in Iceland on cruises from Liverpool, plus, in a country where tourists may be shocked by the price of things, an afternoon in the therapeutic waters also represents excellent value for money.

Geysir: Easily one of Iceland’s most breathtaking sights, The Great Geysir, from where we get the English word geyser, is capable of hurling boiling water up to 70 metres in the air. Eruptions are by no means guaranteed (in fact, they have been known to stop altogether for weeks, if not months at a time) but nature-lovers needn’t worry, as the geyser at nearby Strokkur is much more reliable, putting on a spectacular show every few minutes. Additionally, there are dozens more smaller geysers dotted across the Haukadalur Valley, just a short drive from the Icelandic capital.

Skaftafell: Now part of a larger national park, Skaftafell has been inspiring awe in locals and travellers alike for centuries. Here you are able to get close to Europe’s largest glacier and, if you’re into ice-climbing, you can even try your hand at scaling its frozen walls. If, however, you prefer to take it easy, the meadowland surrounding the glacier itself is perfect for walking through some of Iceland’s most beautiful scenery, with dozens of small waterfalls to stumble upon and plenty of native wildlife to spot. Skaftafell is also famed for its mild climate, with the weather warm and sunny in the spring and summer.

 

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Explore the Maori Culture of New Zealand

While no longer the dominant culture of New Zealand, many people still take an avid interest in the Maori way of life and their fascinating way of life. With so many opportunities for you to experience this unique culture, you may be at a loss of where to start, so to help you along your way, here’s a guide on how to explore the Maori culture of New Zealand!

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Maori Kai Festival

The Maori Kai food festival is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike due to showcases of delicious natural and local foods from the Maori culture. Previously, the traditional foods that you can try in these festivals were reserved mainly for Maori functions and events!

With the increasingly popularity and the awareness it raises, the Maoris are more than happy to let everyone experience their way of life, providing the perfect opportunity to ease yourself into the cuisine side of the culture. Furthermore, you’ll also be able to appreciate the traditional clothes and jewellery that will be worn by the Maori locals.

Lonely Planet has described this festival as one of the highlights of the year for people in New Zealand, with it being held around the month of February. Different areas of the country give the festival a different twist, so even if you have done it before and find yourself in a different area, you will have a whole new experience!

Pasifika Festival

This annual festival is a celebration of everything in the Maori culture, from music to food, arts to dancing. It is without a doubt one of the most significant cultural festivals in the South Pacific and helps preserve many of the old practices of the Maori.

The festival generally lasts for around two days and on the first day you will be treated to a concert of Pacific songs, dances and stories. The following day sees the Auckland’s Western Springs Park transformed into 10 villages, one village from every Pacific Island. This is a great opportunity to sample so many different kinds of Maori culture in a couple of days and should not be missed.

Rotorua

The entire area of Rotorua is steeped in Maori culture and history, making it a great place to experience! Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activity, and Maori legend states that two fire demons searching for a lost tribe leader are the cause of the heat coming from the Earth. Here, you can explore the geysers, mud pools and steam vents while there are plenty of signs and information points explaining the importance of what you see in the Maori culture.

Te Puia

While many of the Maori cultural festivals give you a taste of the cuisine, none of them can give you cuisine cooked in one of the most ancient Maori methods, the Steambox. The Steambox uses a favourite Maori technique of cooking the food from the hot geysers that spray out from the Earth. You simply choose what you wish to eat for lunch and watch as the Maori chefs cook the food with the heat from the geyser!

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