• 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!

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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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    Things To Consider Before You Book Your Holiday Hotel

    There are those who are happy to go on package holidays where a company takes care of the details, and there are those who prefer to tailor their holidays to their needs. You might find that a package holiday is cheaper than arranging one for yourself, but they all seem to offer the same things in my opinion.

     

    If you want to build your own holiday this year, the accommodation must come high up on your list of things to think about, after the travel arrangements. There is much to think about if you are to make the most of your destinations and stay in surroundings that suit you needs and lifestyle. Here are some things you must consider before you book your holiday hotel.

     

    Location

    There are some beautiful hotels that are miles away from populated areas. You will need to get to it from the airport. Think about the time it will take to get there because the last thing some people need is to spend eight hours on a crowded bus or in the back of a stifling taxi. If the hotel is in an African country, for example, the roads might not be up to much either, so it could be a nightmare journey.

     

    Food

    See if there are any reviews online that give you a clue about the quality of the food and the range of meals on the menu. If you do not like foreign cuisine, do they provide some dishes from your homeland? It will make for a miserable experience if you spend the holiday in a state of hunger.

     

    Accommodation

    Research the hotel online to see if the room will meets your needs. You will find a good selection of hotels here. Pay particular attention to the bathrooms. Are they up to the job? The best hotels might have a whirlpool bath where you can relax at the end of a long day of exploration.

    Think about the view from the room. Most hotel suites come with patio doors that lead to a deck or balcony. Will yours overlook a construction site, or does it have an idyllic sea view?

    Do the rooms have air conditioning? You could be in for some uncomfortable nights if they don’t. Look for the comments of other people online; their recommendation might sway your decision.

     

    Facilities

    The swimming pool is one of the most important facilities for holiday hotels. It provides a place to relax and cool off under the blazing sun when you have no other commitments. Hotels usually invest much money in a top quality swimming pool, but make sure that there is no maintenance scheduled on your vacation dates. It would be a disaster if they drained the pool just before your arrival.

     

    Excursions

    Many hotels arrange excursions for their guests, or know of a local company that runs them. They know the best places to visit and often receive preferential treatment at those destinations. Find out what is on offer and pre-book it if there is something you like.

    When you are happy, book a hotel and count the days until you jet off for a week or two away from the rat-race. We work hard all year for this short break, so we must plan it well. I hope my advice will serve you well. Have an awesome time!

     

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