Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Find inspiration for your travels as you browse my curated list of adventures! Envision the possibilities in front of you with your own future adventure in mind.
Mexico

Why is the city yellow

There are various stories and legends surrounding the reason why Izamal was painted yellow.

While the historical significance of Pope John Paul II's visit and the spiritual symbolism of the color yellow in the Catholic Church is well-documented, there are other local tales that add to the mystique of the "Yellow City."

The legend of Zamna

According to this legend, Izamal was founded by the Mayan deity Zamna, who was believed to be a great teacher and healer. When Zamna walked the earth, he wore yellow robes, and after his departure, the people of Izamal chose to honor him by painting the city in the same color. This act was seen as a way to keep his divine spirit alive and to ensure the city's protection and prosperity.

The yellow butterflies

Some locals believe that Izamal was painted yellow to honor the annual migration of Monarch butterflies that pass through the region.

The yellow color is said to mimic the butterflies' vibrant hues, welcoming them to the city and showing respect for their beauty and significance in the natural world.

Or you may hear some people say that the city was painted yellow because when someone would become ill with sickness, their house would be painted yellow

Architectural history

As you wander through the cobblestone streets, you'll be transported to a bygone era.

The colonial architecture, with its Spanish influence, is apparent in every corner.

Explore the Convent of San Antonio de Padua, a 16th-century Franciscan monastery built on top of a Mayan pyramid.

Its grandeur and elegance are truly awe-inspiring.

Don't forget to visit the San Ildefonso Cathedral, a testament to the city's deep-rooted spirituality and architectural mastery.

Izamal, "The Yellow City"
Iceland

The waterfall is formed by the Skógá River, which cascades down a cliff.

Skógafoss stands approximately 197 feet tall and is about 82 feet wide, making it an impressive and powerful sight.

One of the most striking features of Skógafoss is its vast curtain of mist that rises from the bottom of the waterfall.

On sunny days, rainbows frequently appear in the spray, adding to the ethereal and magical atmosphere.

Skógafoss is easily accessible and has a well-maintained viewing platform right at its base, allowing visitors to get up close to the cascading water and feel its thunderous roar.

View the falls from the top

For all of you looking for more adventure, there's a staircase on the right side of the waterfall that leads to a higher viewpoint, providing a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.

The view is incredible!

The area around Skógafoss is incredibly scenic, with lush green hills and meadows, creating a picture-perfect setting for photography and exploration.

Additionally, Skógar, the nearby village, offers a museum that provides insights into the history and culture of Iceland, making it a great place to learn more about the country's heritage.

Overall, Skógafoss is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Iceland, offering a unique and unforgettable experience amidst the country's natural wonders.

Skógafoss
Iceland

Bridge between continents

Situated in the southwestern part of the country, this fascinating region offers an array of geothermal wonders, rugged coastlines, and historical sites that make it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

A remarkable feature of the Reykjanesbær Peninsula is the "Bridge Between Continents."

This symbolic bridge spans a fissure and marks the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

Walking across this bridge allows you to straddle two continents at once, a unique experience found in only a few places on Earth.

The geological significance of this location is awe-inspiring, making it a must-visit site for any geology enthusiast.

Reykjanesviti Lighthouse

Perched atop a dramatic cliff, the Reykjanesviti Lighthouse stands as a sentinel overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean.

Dating back to 1907, this historic lighthouse has guided sailors safely through treacherous waters for over a century.

The location not only offers stunning panoramic views but is also a haven for birdwatchers.

With its vantage point overlooking the ocean, you can spot various seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, and gannets.

Geothermal wonderland

The Reykjanesbær Peninsula is a geological hotspot, boasting an impressive showcase of geothermal activity.

As you venture through the region, you'll encounter steaming hot springs, bubbling mud pools, and hissing fumaroles.

The Gunnuhver hot spring is a highlight, where you can witness powerful jets of steam rising from the ground, creating an otherworldly ambiance.

The geothermal energy harnessed here is not just a natural spectacle but also a significant source of power for the local community.

Quiet and secluded

The Reykjanesbær Peninsula is a hidden gem in Iceland, offering a remarkable blend of geological wonders, coastal majesty, and historical intrigue.

Whether you're fascinated by geothermal activity, intrigued by Viking history, or simply yearning to experience the raw beauty of Iceland's coast, this region has it all.

From hot springs and mud pots to birdwatching opportunities and historical museums, Reykjanesbær Peninsula promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Iceland's natural and cultural heritage.

So, pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and set forth to discover the enchanting marvels of Reykjanesbær

Reykjanesbær

With its sparkling blue waters, towering icebergs, and stunning backdrop of the Vatnajökull Glacier, Jökulsárlón is one of Iceland's glacial gems.

Jökulsárlón, which translates to "glacial river lagoon," is a relatively young phenomenon, having started forming around 1935.

It is the result of the retreating Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, an outlet glacier of the vast Vatnajökull ice cap.

A dynamic ice sculpture gallery

As the glacier recedes, it leaves behind a large, deep lagoon where massive icebergs break away and drift peacefully.

Upon setting foot near the lagoon, visitors are greeted with an awe-inspiring sight: a vast expanse of icy wonder floating on tranquil waters.

The ever-changing landscape of Jökulsárlón offers a mesmerizing display of icebergs in various shapes and sizes, each one resembling an intricate, unique sculpture crafted by nature itself.

The origin of Jokusarlon
Is there an entrance fee to view Jokusarlon?
How long to spend at Jokusarlon?

The ideal amount of time to spend at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon really depends on what you're in the mood for!

If you're just looking to stretch your legs and take in the views during your road trip, even an hour can be refreshing. That's enough time to take in the views and snap a few pictures.

But if you're up for a bit more adventure, especially with a boat tour among the icebergs, plan on dedicating a couple of hours.

This way, you can really savor the experience without feeling rushed. No matter what, setting aside at least an hour ensures you can enjoy the beauty of the lagoon at your own pace.

There is no entrance fee here. You are welcome to just find a parking spot and walk around the lagoon.

If you're looking for a more in-depth visit, guided tours offer a safe and awe-inspiring journey into the heart of the glacier.

Wildlife Encounters

Jökulsárlón isn't just about ice and water; it's also a haven for various wildlife species.

Seals are frequent visitors to the lagoon, and you can often spot them lounging gracefully on icebergs or swimming gracefully in the frigid waters.

Birdwatchers will be delighted to witness a variety of avian species, including Arctic terns, skuas, and the elusive Great Skua.

The presence of these animals adds an extra layer of charm to this already captivating destination.

Natural splendor

Jökulsárlón encapsulates ethereal beauty and gives an experience that leaves visitors humbled by the majesty of the world around us.

As you explore the icy wonderland, take a moment to appreciate the ever-changing landscape. Enjoy the unique view that you get to see when you visit. You will never see the same Jökulsárlón on another day!

Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon in Iceland

Santa Claus House

One of the most famous attractions in North Pole is the Santa Claus House, a Christmas-themed store and gift shop.

It features a giant statue of Santa Claus, various holiday decorations, and a vast selection of Christmas-related merchandise.

Christmas themed all year long

The Santa Claus House is adorned with elaborate Christmas decorations both inside and outside the building.

You'll find twinkling lights, festive wreaths, and other holiday-themed embellishments that contribute to the magical ambiance.

It's especially magical when there's snow on the ground!

More ornaments than you can imagine

Find your perfect Christmas ornament to remind you of your trip by getting a special souvenir or any other item featuring the Santa Claus House logo or Christmas-themed designs.

You've probably never seen so many beautiful Christmas ornaments than at the Santa Claus House. I'm sure you will probably have some trouble picking your favorite one.

Plan your visit

Visiting the Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska, is a fun and heartwarming experience, especially for those who love Christmas and the magic it brings.

It's so fun to walk around the store and see all the Christmas goodies. You can even buy little treats if you're hungry.

Be sure to leave time to stop in and say hey to Santa's reindeer before leaving.

Keep in mind that operating hours, events, and offerings might vary, so it's a good idea to check the Santa Claus House's official website or contact them directly for the latest information before planning your visit.

The North Pole
New Zealand

Scottish history

Dunedin proudly showcases its Scottish heritage through its historic architecture.

Stroll through the streets and you'll be transported to another era with its Victorian and Edwardian buildings.

The iconic Dunedin Railway Station, often regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world, is a prime example of the city's architectural prowess.

Its intricate mosaic floors, grand clock tower, and elegant design are a testament to Dunedin's historical significance and aesthetic appeal.

Nature's playground

Beyond the city's urban allure, Dunedin offers nature enthusiasts a plethora of outdoor adventures.

The Otago Peninsula, a haven for wildlife, is a must-visit destination.

Home to the Royal Albatross Centre, it's one of the few places in the world where you can observe these magnificent birds in their natural habitat.

The peninsula is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including penguins, sea lions, and fur seals.

Arts and entertainment

Dunedin's cultural scene is alive and thriving, with a strong emphasis on arts and entertainmen

Art enthusiasts can enjoy the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, showcasing a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional artwork.

The Otago Museum is another treasure trove of knowledge, housing exhibits ranging from natural history to Maori culture, ensuring there's something to pique everyone's interest.

Dunedin
Italy

While Venice can be explored in a day, spending at least two to three days will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the city's splendor.

Wander through the charming neighborhoods of Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, and Castello, discovering hidden gems around every corner.

Visit world-renowned landmarks such as St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, delving into the city's rich artistic and cultural heritage.

Take the time to savor leisurely meals, meander along picturesque canals, and simply soak in the timeless beauty of Venice.

One fascinating fact about Venice is that it is built on a network of 118 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, interconnected by canals and linked by over 400 bridges.

Venice is renowned for is picturesque canals and romantic ambiance and has four main iconic bridges that serve as vital links between its historic districts.

These four bridges are the Rialto Bridge, the Ponte degli Scalzi located near the railway station, the Accademia Bridge adjacent to the renowned art gallery, and a fourth bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava, serving as a crucial connection between the railway station and Piazzale Roma.

Days in Venice, Italy
What to Do in Venice: Navigating the Grand Canal
Two Days in Venice, Italy: A Beautiful Adventure

With two days to explore Venice, maximizing your time is essential for experiencing the city's highlights.

Begin your first day by embarking on a guided walking tour of the historic center, taking in iconic landmarks such as St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, and the Rialto Bridge.

Wander through the charming neighborhoods of Cannaregio and Dorsoduro, stopping to sample authentic Venetian cuisine at local trattorias along the way.

On your second day, venture beyond the beaten path and explore the lesser-known islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello, each offering its own unique charm and attractions.

Conclude your beautiful and adventure filled day with a romantic sunset gondola ride along the Grand Canal, savoring the magical ambiance of Venice as the city comes alive under the golden hues of dusk.

No visit to Venice would be complete without exploring the iconic Grand Canal. What sets Venice apart from any other city is its intricate system of canals, which function as the lifeblood of the city.

Stretching about 2 miles long and 30 feet to over 200 feet wide, this winding waterway serves as the main thoroughfare of the city, bustling with vaporettos, gondolas, and private boats.

Take a leisurely cruise along the canal, marveling at the elegant palaces, historic bridges, and bustling waterfront promenades that line its banks.

For a truly immersive experience, you must take advantage of getting aboard a traditional gondola and gliding beneath the iconic Rialto Bridge as the sun sets over the horizon. Amazing!

How Many Days Needed in Venice Italy?

The Matanuska Glacier is approximately 27 miles (43.5 kilometers) long and about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) wide at its terminus, where it meets the valley floor.

It covers an area of around 112 square miles (290 square kilometers) and is one of the largest glaciers that is accessible by road in the United States.

The glacier is located in the Matanuska Valley in Alaska and is a popular destination for visitors looking to experience the stunning beauty of a glacier up close.

Keep in mind that the dimensions of glaciers can change over time due to natural processes like melting and shifting ice, so these measurements are approximate and can vary.

Visit the glacier

Visiting the Matanuska Glacier is more than just observing. It's an opportunity to experience the glacier up close and personal.

You can choose to do a guided tour  to traverse the icy landscape or you can strike out on your own.

You can see crevasses, ice formations, and the ever-changing features of the glacier.

Either way, watch out for the orange cones that could indicate dangerous areas, and watch your step!

Alaska's frozen wonderland

From Anchorage

Getting to the glacier from Anchorage is pretty easy to do.

The glacier is located about 100 miles (160.9 kilometers) northeast of Anchorage, Alaska. Depending on the traffic and weather conditions of the day, you can drive it in approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.

The drive takes you through scenic landscapes, including the picturesque Matanuska-Susitna Valley, and provides an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Alaska's natural surroundings.

It's a popular day trip from Anchorage for those seeking to explore the glacier's icy expanse and stunning vistas.

Matanuska Glacier
Vatican City is the world's smallest independent state, a sovereign enclave within Rome, housing significant religious and cultural landmarks including St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums.
Italy

The Vatican Museums, located within the Vatican City in Rome, Italy, are a world-renowned collection of art and historical artifacts that span centuries of human creativity and cultural achievement.

Home to an unparalleled array of masterpieces, including works by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci, the museums offer an immersive journey through art, history, and religion.

From the awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel ceiling to the intricate details of ancient sculptures and tapestries, the Vatican Museums provide an unparalleled glimpse into the treasures of human civilization.

St. Peter's Square

An iconic and grand plaza that stretches before St. Peter's Basilica, adorned with majestic colonnades designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, offering a breathtaking space for religious ceremonies and gatherings amidst the backdrop of historical and spiritual significance.

A treasure trove of art
St. Peter's Basilica

Whether you're drawn by the majesty of St. Peter's Basilica, the artistry within the Vatican Museums, or the spiritual connections forged in St. Peter's Square, a journey through the Vatican is a journey through time.

Dominating the skyline with its magnificent dome, St. Peter's Basilica is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and a symbol of Christianity's enduring legacy.

Designed by architectural luminaries including Bramante, Michelangelo, and Bernini, the basilica's grandeur is evident in its awe-inspiring facade, majestic interior, and the remarkable Pietà sculpture by Michelangelo.

Ascending to the dome's pinnacle offers panoramic views of Rome, a spiritual connection between heaven and earth.

Every day, the Vatican welcomes thousands of visitors from around the world who come to explore its historical landmarks, art treasures, and spiritual significance.

The Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica, and other attractions within Vatican City collectively receive over 5 million visitors annually.

I recommend seeing the Vatican at night as well as during the day. The views are incredible if you catch it during sunset.

Vatican City
Ireland

The fabled Blarney Stone

One of the most famous aspects of Blarney Castle is the Blarney Stone, believed to bestow the gift of eloquence upon those who kiss it.

Perched high in the castle's walls, kissing the stone requires a little bit of trust in leaning backwards over a precipice.

While the origins of this tradition are shrouded in mystery, the allure of gaining the "gift of gab" has drawn countless visitors to participate in this charming ritual.

Gardens of Serenity

Blarney Castle's enchantment extends beyond its stone walls, as the surrounding grounds offer a haven of natural beauty.

The Blarney Castle Gardens, spanning over 60 acres, are a sensory delight of meandering pathways, vibrant flora, and tranquil water features.

From the Poison Garden, featuring a collection of poisonous plants, to the serene Fern Garden, each corner of the landscape has its own story to tell.

Myths & Legends

As with any ancient castle, Blarney Castle is steeped in myths and legends that have been passed down through generations.

Tales of hidden treasure, hidden passages, and ghostly apparitions add an air of mystery to the castle's ambiance, inviting visitors to envision the lives and stories of those who once inhabited its walls.

Blarney Castle
USA

Easy trail with spectacular views

Jenny Lake Trail is a picturesque loop that spans roughly 7.5 miles around the crystal-clear waters of Jenny Lake.

This trail offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, from dense pine forests to expansive meadows and breathtaking overlooks.

With the Teton Range as a dramatic backdrop, hikers are treated to a visual spectacle that changes with the shifting light throughout the day

Trail highlights

Hidden Falls: About a mile from the trailhead, hikers can take a short detour to witness the magnificent Hidden Falls.

Cascading down from the heights, this waterfall offers a refreshing spot to cool off and take in the sights and sounds of nature.

I definiately recommend the hike to the Hidden Falls!

Inspiration Point: Continuing along the trail, the ascent to Inspiration Point rewards hikers with a panoramic view of Jenny Lake, the valley below, and the majestic Teton Range in the distance.

The view from this vantage point is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Convenience of the shuttle service

To enhance the overall experience of visiting Jenny Lake Trail, the Grand Teton National Park provides a shuttle service that operates during the peak visitor season.

Be sure to check the time of the last shuttle boat! 

Plan ahead

To make the most of your journey along Jenny Lake Trail be sure to bring water and snacks for your hike.

Trailmix or protein bars are great options for hiking snack.

There are several lookout spots where you can take a break and enjoy the views while you eat too!

Jenny Lake Trail
Germany

Nestled in the picturesque region of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Stuttgart stands as a captivating city that seamlessly marries its rich history with a vibrant cultural scene and a forward-thinking modernity. Join us as we embark on an exciting virtual tour of Stuttgart, a city that promises an unforgettable exploration of history, art, and contemporary life, complete with a visit to the iconic TV tower.

Historical Wonders

One of Stuttgart's many historical gems is the Old Castle (Altes Schloss). This 10th-century marvel now houses the Württemberg State Museum, offering a fascinating journey through the city's past and artistry. Adjacent to the Old Castle, the New Palace (Neues Schloss) serves as an architectural masterpiece, nestled within the charming Schlossplatz.

Cultural Enrichment

Cultural enthusiasts will be delighted by Stuttgart's offerings. The State Theatre (Staatstheater Stuttgart) is renowned for its ballet, opera, and theater productions, while the Stuttgart Ballet, led by the legendary John Cranko, is a global ballet powerhouse. The Stuttgart State Gallery (Staatsgalerie Stuttgart) showcases an extensive collection of European art, spanning the Middle Ages to the contemporary era.

Automotive Legends

Stuttgart is an automotive mecca, being the birthplace of renowned brands such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. For automobile aficionados, the Mercedes-Benz Museum offers an immersive journey through the history of automotive innovation, while the Porsche Museum showcases the iconic sports cars and the brand's illustrious heritage.

A Bird's-Eye View

Visiting the Stuttgart TV tower (Fernsehturm Stuttgart) is a must for any traveler. Soaring at a height of 217 meters, this modern architectural wonder provides a panoramic view of Stuttgart and its surroundings. The tower's observation deck offers an unparalleled perspective, with the Swabian Alps to the south and the Black Forest to the west.

Stuttgart
Ireland

Ways to see the cliffs

Take a cliffside walk along the top!

The Cliffs of Moher have designated walking trails along the cliff edge, offering stunning views of the coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. Walking along these trails allows you to experience the natural beauty up close and at your own pace.

The main visitor center has marked routes with varying lengths, so you can choose one that suits your fitness level and available time.

Boat tour

I highly recommend seeing the cliffs from the water. It's a completely different experience from looking down on the cliffs when you see them towering above you.

The main departure point for boat cruises is from Doolin Pier. Doolin has several tour operators offering boat trips that take visitors along the coast to view the majestic cliffs from the water.

This perspective offers a unique and awe-inspiring view of the cliffs rising dramatically from the ocean. Boat tours also give you a chance to spot seabirds and other marine life.

Duration and routes

The duration of the boat cruises can vary depending on the operator and the specific tour chosen.

Cruises typically last between 1 to 2 hours. During the cruise, you can enjoy the stunning coastal scenery, get up-close views of the cliffs, and observe seabirds nesting on the rock ledges.

Visitor Center

To accommodate the large number of tourists, there is a modern visitor center at the Cliffs of Moher.

The center provides various amenities, including interactive exhibits, a café, gift shop, and bathroom facilities.

Tourism and popularity

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's most visited natural attractions, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists annually.

They have also been featured in various films, television shows, and music videos, contributing to their worldwide fame.

Think of "Princess Bride" and the "Cliffs of insanity!"

Enjoy the cliffs safely

Regardless of the method you choose, remember to prioritize safety and follow any guidelines provided by local authorities and tour operators.

The Cliffs of Moher are a natural wonder, and experiencing them through one or more of these ways will surely leave you with lasting memories of Ireland's stunning coastline.

Cliffs of Moher
This iconic park, the first of its kind in the world, is a tapestry of geothermal wonders, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking landscapes that continue to captivate the imagination of travelers from across the globe. J
USA, America, United States

Yellowstone is renowned for its geothermal features that showcase the Earth's fiery heart.

From the iconic Old Faithful geyser, erupting with precision like a natural clock, to the vibrant and ever-changing pools of the Grand Prismatic Spring, the park's geothermal wonders offer a front-row seat to the dynamic forces shaping the planet.

The vivid colors, bubbling mud pots, and hissing steam vents create an otherworldly landscape that's both mesmerizing and humbling.

Wildlife sanctuary

Yellowstone's vast wilderness is a sanctuary for a diverse array of wildlife species.

Elk, bison, grizzly bears, and wolves roam freely across its expansive landscapes.

The Lamar Valley, often referred to as the "Serengeti of North America," offers prime wildlife viewing opportunities, where lucky visitors might witness a wolf pack on the hunt or catch a glimpse of a mighty grizzly bear in its natural habitat.

Geothermal marvels
Old Faithful

Old Faithful's fame lies in its remarkable regularity. It erupts approximately every 90 minutes, sending a towering column of scalding water and steam into the air.

The reliability of its eruptions has earned it the name "Old Faithful," a moniker that reflects the geyser's steadfast performance over the years.

Be sure to check the geyser prediction schedule when you visit!

Yellowstone's Old Faithful area provides an ideal setting for observing the geyser's eruptions.

A boardwalk surrounds the geyser, offering visitors a safe vantage point to watch the performance.

The nearby Old Faithful Visitor Education Center provides information about geothermal features, the geyser's behavior, and the geology of the region.

Treasure trove of natural wonders

Yellowstone National Park holds a special place in the hearts of nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

From geothermal marvels to pristine wilderness, the park's landscapes and experiences are as varied as they are unforgettable.

Yellowstone National Park
Mexico

City of history

The city's main square, known as the Plaza Grande or Zocalo, is the heart of Merida and a central gathering place for locals and tourists alike.

It features the iconic Merida Cathedral, which was built between the 16th and 17th centuries and is a striking example of Spanish colonial architecture.

Around the plaza, you'll find various shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.

There are many little boutique hotels to stay at while enjoying your stay in Merida.

For example. Hotel Del Gobernador is conveniently located in the heart of Merida's historic center, making it a great base for exploring the city's attractions, restaurants, and cultural sites.

Enjoy the food

The local cuisine in Merida is a delectable blend of Yucatecan and Spanish flavors, with dishes like cochinita pibil (marinated pork) and panuchos (tortillas with beans and toppings) being local favorites.

And for dessert, indulge in the unique Marquesitas, sweet wafer rolls filled with cheese, Nutella, or other delectable treats.

The food is delicious! I had some of the best guacamole in this city that I've ever eaten. So yummy!

Time travel to ancient Mayan ruins

Merida's proximity to some of the most significant archaeological sites in the world is an added allure.

Journey back in time with a visit to Chichen Itza, an awe-inspiring Mayan pyramid and UNESCO World Heritage Site, or explore the well-preserved Uxmal, known for its intricate Puuc architecture.

These remarkable sites offer a glimpse into the ancient Mayan civilization that once thrived in this region.

Merida
New Zealand

The glacier is located in a breathtaking alpine environment, surrounded by towering peaks and snow-capped mountains.

Its proximity to Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak, adds to its allure, creating a picturesque landscape that attracts photographers, nature enthusiasts, and mountaineers alike.

Distinctive blue ice

One of the most captivating features of the Tasman Glacier is the stunning blue ice found in the crevasses and ice caves.

This distinctive color results from the way ice absorbs and scatters sunlight.

As light travels through the dense ice, it loses most of its red wavelengths, leaving behind the beautiful blue hues that mesmerize visitors.

I absolutely love this color blue from glaciers!

Spectacular alpine setting
Tasman Lake

Tasman Lake

At the glacier's terminal face, a proglacial lake known as the Tasman Lake has formed due to the ongoing retreat of the glacier.

Large chunks of ice regularly break off, or calve, from the glacier, resulting in floating icebergs scattered across the lake's turquoise waters.

This ever-changing display of icebergs creates a dynamic and fascinating sight for those who visit the area.

You will not regret making a stop here on your road trip. It's the perfect place to get out of the car and stretch your legs and take in the sights.

Stay overnight

If you do want to stay overnight in Mount Cook, check out the YHA Aoraki Mount Cook Backpacker Accomodation.

It's ideally situated to easily explore the beauty of the Southern Alps.

You will be in the middle of nowhere so be sure you've brought snacks and food to make it to the next grocery store.

Tasman Glacier

With its enchanting castles, thrilling rides, and beloved characters, a trip to a Disney park promises a truly magical experience. But how can you make your visit even more enchanting? I'm convinced the top two things that really make a Disney trip are the people you go with and the time of year you choose to visit! 

February: The Overlooked Time of Year that's the Best for Disney Visits

There I've said it! And yes, maybe it's because I'm a February baby, but February is an awesome time of year to visit the parks.

Disney parks are a dream come true, but sometimes the crowds can turn that dream into a bit of a nightmare. That's why February stands out as the ideal time to visit. Why? Well, February has the perfect combination of factors that make your visit unforgettable. Kids are back in school, and the weather is cooler. This magical duo results in shorter lines, and you won't have to worry about scorching heat, and the shorter lines mean you can pack even more Disney magic into your day.

Unlock the Magic of Disney: A Perfect February Getaway

The Right Group: Your Disney Dream Team

Going to Disney is all about creating cherished memories, and the company you keep plays a crucial role in that. While visiting Disney solo can be fun, nothing beats experiencing the parks with the right group of friends or family. Waiting in line becomes a breeze when you're surrounded by your favorite people. Share your excitement, laughter, and even a few Mickey-shaped treats as you explore the wonders of Disney. The memories you create together will be ones you treasure for a lifetime.

Start Early, Stay Late: Maximize Your Disney Day

When you're at Disney, time seems to fly by faster than Tinker Bell's pixie dust. To make the most of your visit, be sure to start your day early. Arriving at the park when it opens gives you a head start on the crowds, allowing you to enjoy some of the most popular rides with shorter wait times.

If you have the chance, consider staying late into the evening, as the parks often become less crowded during the final hours. Plus, there's something truly magical about Disney at night, with the dazzling lights and parades that light up the sky.

Plan Your Day: FastPasses, Dining Reservations, and Shows

To ensure you experience as much Disney magic as possible, it's essential to plan your day ahead of time. Disney's FastPass system allows you to reserve access to popular attractions, entertainment, and character meet and greets in advance. This means less time waiting in line and more time experiencing the enchantment of the parks.

FastPasses are not essential to a wonderful time at Disney. So if you're like me and don't want to spend the money, I can assure you it's not necessary if you're not going on a major holiday. FastPasses are just an option of which you should be aware.

In addition to FastPasses, make dining reservations to enjoy some of Disney's renowned restaurants. Be sure to catch one of the spectacular shows or parades, as they add an extra layer of magic to your day. Plan your day around these reservations to make the most of your visit.

Disney World
Ireland

The Giant's Causeway is a remarkable natural geological formation located on the northeastern coast of Northern Ireland. It consists of thousands of interlocking basalt columns that form a series of stepping stones, leading from the cliffs down into the sea.

Geological wonder

The Giants' Causeway is a natural wonder that defies the imagination.

Comprising more than 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, it looks like a pathway built by giants, hence its name.

These columns vary in height and diameter, with some reaching up to 39 feet tall. The symmetrical hexagonal shapes are a result of cooling and cracking of lava flows.

Coastal walks and wildlife

Aside from exploring the Giants' Causeway, visitors can enjoy scenic coastal walks that offer breathtaking views of the North Atlantic Ocean.

These trails meander through rugged landscapes and provide ample opportunities to witness various wildlife, such as seabirds, seals, and even dolphins.

The area's unique flora and fauna add to the overall charm of the experience.

Recognizing the uniqueness and geological significance of the Giants' Causeway, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Visitor's Center

To accommodate the increasing number of visitors, a state-of-the-art Visitors' Center was opened in 2012.

This center provides valuable information about the geological formation of the causeway, local myths, and the region's biodiversity.

Its otherworldly appearance and the legend surrounding its formation make it a site of cultural significance and intrigue.

Whether you're a geology enthusiast, a history buff, or a traveler seeking natural beauty, a visit to the Giants' Causeway promises an unforgettable experience.

Giant's Causeway
Australia

Under the sea

As you glide through the crystal-clear waters, you'll be greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors from the coral formations and an array of exotic marine species, including tropical fish, rays, sea turtles, and even dolphins.

Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef offers an unparalleled opportunity to delve into a mesmerizing underwater world.

As you glide through the crystal-clear waters, you'll be greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors from the coral formations and an array of exotic marine species, including tropical fish, rays, sea turtles, and even dolphins.

No need for experience

For both seasoned snorkelers and beginners, the Great Barrier Reef caters to all levels of experience, with numerous snorkeling spots to choose from.

My first time snorkeling was at the Great Barrier Reef! You don't need to be an expert or even a great swimmer to have an incredible experience.

Whether you explore the iconic sites near the Whitsunday Islands, the Outer Reef, or the pristine coves of Green Island, each location promises a unique and unforgettable adventure.

The reef is a delicate ecosystem, susceptible to the impacts of climate change and human activities.

To ensure its preservation for future generations, visitors are encouraged to follow sustainable snorkeling practices such as avoiding touching the coral.

Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef is a transformative experience that connects us with the wonders of nature, leaving us in awe of its splendor.

By embracing a sense of wonder and appreciation for this underwater treasure, we can help protect and preserve it for generations to come. So, let's dive in and discover the magic of the Great Barrier Reef through the lens of our snorkeling masks.

The Great Barrier Reef
USA, America, United States

Outdoor adventures

Talkeetna is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

From fishing in the Susitna River to whitewater rafting, hiking, and mountain biking, the possibilities for adventure are endless. Whether you're a seasoned explorer or just starting to embrace the great outdoors, Talkeetna offers activities suited for all skill levels and interests.

Hub for flightseeing tours

One of the main draws of Talkeetna Airport is its status as the premier hub for flightseeing tours to Denali.

Flightseeing involves taking a small plane or helicopter tour, providing awe-inspiring views of the massive mountain, its glaciers, and the surrounding national park.

It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the raw beauty of Denali from the air and appreciate the vastness of the Alaskan wilderness.

Aspiring climbers from around the world gather here to organize their expeditions and undergo essential preparations.

Talkeetna Airport serves as a base camp for mountaineers and climbers preparing to conquer Denali.

The airport bustles with a sense of excitement and anticipation, as adventurers gear up for their challenging journey to the summit of Denali.

Where to stay

One of the highlights of visiting Talkeetna is the unique accommodations available.

You can stay in cozy cabins tucked away in the woods, charming bed and breakfasts, or even in a historic lodge that has hosted mountaineers from around the world.

Talkeetna is tiny, but there's a little general store if you need a few things but don't expect a whole lot.

It's better to stop at one of the larger towns to stock up your snack supply on your way to Talkeetna before you get there.

Talkeetna
Mexico

The city is renowned for its impressive architecture, characterized by a blend of Mayan and Toltec styles.

One of the most iconic structures is the "El Castillo" or the Temple of Kukulkan, a step pyramid rising 79 feet high with 365 steps, each representing a day of the solar year.

During the spring and autumn equinoxes, the pyramid creates an extraordinary optical illusion, as the sunlight casts shadows on the stairways, resembling a serpent slithering down the pyramid.

Another striking feature is the Great Ball Court, the largest and best-preserved ball court in Mesoamerica.

With its imposing walls and acoustic design that allows whispers to carry across the court, this sacred space once hosted a ritualistic ball game known as "pok-ta-pok." The court's acoustics are designed ingeniously, allowing even a mere whisper to be heard at the opposite end.

When you visit, test the acoustics yourself. You stand at one end and have someone else talk while walking away from you. It's crazy!

The game was not merely entertainment; it held symbolic significance, reflecting the eternal struggle between light and darkness.

Temples of Chichen Itza
How long to spend at Chichen Itza?
Can you climb the pyramid?

Currently, climbing the pyramid at Chichen Itza is not permitted.

In an effort to preserve the structure and ensure visitor safety, access to the pyramid's staircase has been restricted since 2006.

However, you are still able to admire the impressive structure from the ground level and explore the surrounding archaeological site, which boasts numerous other fascinating ruins, temples, and artifacts that offer insight into the ancient Mayan civilization.

When planning your visit to Chichen Itza, I highly recommend setting aside a minimum of half a day to fully immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring atmosphere and rich history of this ancient Mayan site.

Exploring Chichen Itza with a guided tour can greatly enhance your visit, providing valuable insights into the significance of each structure, the history of the site, and the fascinating cultural practices of the Mayan civilization.

A knowledgeable guide will lead you through the grounds, ensuring you don't miss any key highlights, and offer engaging commentary that brings the history and architecture to life.

With a guided tour, your visit to Chichen Itza becomes not just a sightseeing excursion, but a meaningful journey into the heart of ancient Mesoamerican culture.

Mayan Temple of Chichen Itza
Dinant, located in the picturesque Meuse River Valley of Belgium, is a charming town famous for its dramatic setting amidst towering cliffs.

It's known for its distinctive skyline dominated by the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame and its association with Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone, making it a unique and culturally rich destination.

Nestled along the picturesque banks of the Meuse River, Dinant stands as a testament to Belgium's rich history, stunning architecture, and natural beauty. This quaint town, with its towering citadel, colorful houses, and melodious chimes of its famous saxophone, offers visitors a captivating journey through time and culture. Join me as we delve into the enchanting charms of Dinant, Belgium.

Discovering Dinant's Iconic Landmarks

1. Citadel of Dinant:

Perched atop a rocky cliff overlooking the town, the Citadel of Dinant is a symbol of strength and resilience. Dating back to the 11th century, this fortress has witnessed centuries of history, including invasions, wars, and reconstructions. Today, visitors can explore its maze of tunnels, barracks, and artillery pieces while enjoying panoramic views of the Meuse Valley below.

2. Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame:

With its distinctive onion-shaped dome, the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Built between the 13th and 16th centuries, this majestic church houses an impressive collection of religious artifacts and offers visitors a glimpse into Dinant's spiritual heritage.

3. Saxophone Bridge:

As the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone, Dinant pays homage to its musical legacy with the Saxophone Bridge. Spanning the Meuse River, this modern marvel features larger-than-life saxophone sculptures and provides a perfect spot for taking in the town's scenic beauty.

Embracing Dinant's Cultural Delights

1. Maison de Monsieur Sax:

For music enthusiasts, a visit to Maison de Monsieur Sax is a must. This museum celebrates the life and work of Adolphe Sax, showcasing rare saxophones, archival documents, and interactive exhibits that highlight the instrument's evolution and influence on modern music.

Exploring Dinant's Natural Wonders

1. Lesse Valley:

Escape the hustle and bustle of the town and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Lesse Valley. Whether kayaking along the river, hiking through lush forests, or cycling along scenic trails, nature enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to connect with the great outdoors.

2. Dinant Evasion:

For adrenaline junkies seeking an adventure, Dinant Evasion offers thrilling outdoor activities such as rock climbing, abseiling, and cave exploration. Experienced guides ensure a safe and exhilarating experience, allowing visitors to push their limits and create lasting memories.

Savoring Dinant's Culinary Delights

Dinant

The Museum of the Yellowstone is a captivating journey through time, offering a glimpse into the rich history of the park and the surrounding region. Housed in a historic Union Pacific Depot building, the museum itself is a testament to the area's past, with its charming architecture and welcoming atmosphere.

The Exhibits

As you step inside, you'll find a collection of exhibits that transport you to the early days of Yellowstone. The museum's displays cover a wide range of topics, from the park's geological wonders to the Native American tribes who inhabited the area long before it became a national park.

One of the most fascinating exhibits explores the park's role in the development of the National Park Service, shedding light on the conservation efforts that led to the creation of this institution.

A Glimpse into Pioneer Life

A Journey Back in Time

One of the standout features of the Museum of the Yellowstone is its meticulously recreated period rooms. These immersive exhibits take you back to the late 19th century, allowing you to step into the shoes of early pioneers and travelers who ventured into Yellowstone's wilderness.

From a rustic cabin interior to a vintage pharmacy, these rooms provide a tangible connection to the past, making history come alive.

Interactive Learning

The museum also caters to younger visitors and the young at heart with interactive displays and hands-on activities. Kids can try their hand at gold panning, learn about the park's diverse wildlife, or explore the tools of early Yellowstone explorers. It's a fun and educational experience.

The Museum Store

Before you leave, don't forget to stop by the museum store, where you can find a curated selection of books, souvenirs, and gifts to remind you of the unique heritage of Yellowstone. Whether you're interested in learning more about the park's geology, wildlife, or history, you're sure to find a keepsake to remember your visit.

Visiting Details

- Location: 104 Yellowstone Ave, West Yellowstone, MT 59758

- Hours: The museum's opening hours may vary by season, so it's a good idea to check their website or call ahead for the latest information.

- Admission: The museum's admission fees are reasonable, and children under 12 are often admitted for free.

The Museum of the Yellowstone is somewhat of a hidden treasure that provides invaluable insights into the history and heritage of Yellowstone National Park. If you're looking to delve deeper into the story behind the park, this museum is a must-visit destination.

So, when you plan your Yellowstone adventure, be sure to save some time for a visit to the Museum of the Yellowstone for a memorable journey back in time.

Museum of the Yellowstone
Iceland

A Geological Marvel: The Origins of Black Sand

Over centuries, volcanic eruptions have scattered volcanic rock fragments, known as basalt, which are dark in color. These fragments, once shattered into fine grains by the relentless power of the ocean, form the enigmatic black sands that adorn this beach.

The black sands tell a story of Iceland's tumultuous geological past, offering a dramatic backdrop to one of the country's most iconic coastal destinations.

Basalt Columns: A Symphony of Nature's Artistry

One of the most mesmerizing features of Iceland's Black Sand Beach is the presence of basalt columns, which stretch along the coastline in surreal geometric formations.

These hexagonal columns, often referred to as "the church floor" due to their resemblance to a tiled church floor, are a result of volcanic activity. When molten lava rapidly cools and solidifies, it naturally fractures into these remarkable shapes.

As you stroll along the beach, you'll be captivated by the interplay of light and shadow on these natural basalt pillars. It's a sight that ignites the imagination and reinforces the notion of nature as the ultimate artist.

The Folklore of Reynisfjara: A Glimpse into Icelandic Culture

Reynisfjara Beach, as the Black Sand Beach is locally known, is not only a geological wonder but also steeped in Icelandic folklore. According to local legends, the basalt columns were once trolls who attempted to drag a ship to shore. However, when dawn broke, turning them into stone, they were forever trapped in their efforts.

The towering sea stacks that dot the nearby coast are said to be the remnants of a massive troll ship, a testament to the vivid storytelling that is so deeply rooted in Icelandic culture.

A visit to the Black Sand Beach is not only a visual feast but also an opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of this enchanting island.

Wildlife and Ocean Views

While the black sands and basalt columns are the stars of Reynisfjara, the beach's surrounding landscapes are equally captivating.

Here, the powerful North Atlantic Ocean meets the rugged Icelandic coastline, creating a dynamic seascape. It's a prime spot for birdwatching, with seabirds like puffins and guillemots frequenting the area.

The juxtaposition of the black sands against the crashing waves and the jagged basalt cliffs is a visual symphony, with ever-changing tides and weather adding depth to the experience.

For those who appreciate the raw beauty of nature and the enigmatic allure of the North Atlantic, Iceland's Black Sand Beach is a must-visit destination that will leave an indelible impression.

Black Sand Beach
Visit the most easterly point in Australia! Cape Byron offers beautiful panoramic views that stretch across the Pacific Ocean, the coastline, and the lush hinterland.
Australia

Byron Bay's main attraction lies in its stunning coastline.

The azure waters and pristine sandy beaches create a picture-perfect setting for relaxation and adventure.

Whether you're a seasoned surfer catching waves at The Pass or a beachcomber strolling along Main Beach at sunrise, the coastline beckons with its endless beauty and sense of tranquility.

Cape Byron Lighthouse and coastal walk

Perched atop the dramatic cliffs of Cape Byron, the Cape Byron Lighthouse is a historic landmark and a symbol of the town's maritime heritage.

The panoramic views from the lighthouse are nothing short of breathtaking, especially during sunrise and sunset.

The Cape Byron Walking Track takes you on a journey through diverse landscapes, from rainforests to coastal heathlands, offering encounters with local wildlife along the way.

A coastal wonderland
Soaring above paradise

Imagine standing at the edge of an open plane door, the wind rushing around you, the ground far below, and the boundless blue sky stretching out before you.

Skydiving over Byron Bay is not just an adrenaline-pumping adventure; it's a unique opportunity to witness the stunning coastal landscape from a perspective few ever experience.

My experience was nothing short of phenomenal, and I recommend you try it too!

Keep your eyes wide open as the view while you're falling is stunning and will leave you with an unforgettable experience.

Surfing mecca

Surfers from around the world flock to Byron Bay to ride its renowned waves.

With a variety of breaks suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced riders, the town has earned its reputation as a surfing mecca.

The iconic Wategos Beach and Tallows Beach offer fantastic spots to catch a wave, while the passionate surf culture permeates every aspect of life in Byron Bay.

Byron Bay
Mexico

Uxmal was founded around the 6th century CE, but its major construction and expansion occurred between the 7th and 10th centuries CE, during the late Classic period of Maya civilization.

The name "Uxmal" is derived from the Maya language and means "thrice-built," possibly referring to the numerous times the site was expanded.

It was a prominent city-state and played a crucial role in the political, economic, and religious landscape of the region.

Who Built Uxmal? 

The question of who built Uxmal is multifaceted, as the site's construction likely involved a combination of skilled artisans, laborers, and rulers who oversaw its development.

Like many other Maya cities, Uxmal was likely built through the collective effort of a hierarchical society, with rulers commissioning monumental architecture to showcase their power and prestige.

The intricate design and layout of Uxmal's buildings reflect the advanced knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, and engineering possessed by the Maya people.

It stands as a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the ancient Maya civilization.

When was Uxmal Built?
Is Uxmal worth visiting?

Most famous buildings include:

    1) Pyramid of the Magician (Pirámide del Adivino): A stepped pyramid with a rounded base and elliptical sides, dedicated to the deity Itzamná. 

    2) Nunnery Quadrangle (Cuadrángulo de las Monjas): A complex of four buildings surrounding a large courtyard. The name "Nunnery" is a misnomer from the Spanish conquerors who thought it resembled European convents.

    3) Governor's Palace (Palacio del Gobernador): A grand structure with numerous rooms, columns, and intricate decorations. It was likely a residence for the ruling elite and used for ceremonial purposes.

    4) Great Pyramid (Gran Pirámide): Another imposing pyramid structure believed to be a temple-pyramid dedicated to the god Chac.

Yes, it is! Especially if you love history, you will find this site fascinating.

One of the defining features of Uxmal is its impressive architectural style, characterized by intricate stone carvings, detailed friezes, and decorative elements known as the Puuc style.

The Puuc style includes ornate geometric patterns and representations of deities and rulers.

The site's structures are notable for their well-preserved pyramids, palaces, temples, and plazas. Uxmal's architecture and layout demonstrate the advanced engineering and astronomical knowledge of the ancient Maya.

The city's design reflects its understanding of celestial movements and alignments, such as the positioning of certain structures to correspond with solstices and equinoxes.

The decline of Uxmal, like many other Maya cities, remains a subject of debate among archaeologists.

The city was eventually abandoned, likely due to a combination of factors, including resource depletion, environmental challenges, and possibly internal conflicts.

Today, Uxmal is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world who come to marvel at its well-preserved structures and learn about the fascinating history of the ancient Maya civilization.

It continues to be an essential site for researchers and archaeologists, contributing valuable insights into the complexity and sophistication of Maya culture.

Mysteries of Uxmal: Explore Ancient Mayan Ruins in the Heart of Yucatan
USA, America, United States

Different kind of beauty

This arid and rugged terrain is characterized by its vast expanses of open space, rolling hills, and sparse vegetation that has adapted to the harsh conditions.

The desert is adorned with iconic saguaro cacti, prickly pear, and various other desert flora that have evolved to thrive in the dry climate.

There's a different kind of charm that comes with the desert.

Seeing a landscape on horseback is like stepping into a living painting, where every step taken by your four-legged companion reveals a new layer of the natural world's beauty.

~ Stategies to beat the heat! ~

Remember to stay hydrated

In the desert's arid climate, the combination of physical activity and high temperatures can quickly lead to dehydration.

I cannot stress this point enough! It is so easy to not realize that you're getting dehydrated until you're at a point where it's much more serious and medical attention is required.

Being proactive is the best way to protect yourself and your horse. Offer water to your four-legged friend throughout the ride!

It's possible to become dehydrated without realizing it, especially in low-humidity environments where sweat evaporates quickly and might not be as noticeable.

In dry and arid conditions, such as desert environments, your body can lose significant amounts of moisture through respiration (breathing) and through the skin's surface, a process known as insensible water loss.

This can lead to a gradual decrease in your body's hydration levels, even if you're not experiencing the typical signs of excessive sweating.

Always carry water with you especially on long rides.

Dress appropriately

Choose lightweight, breathable clothing that provides adequate sun protection. Opt for long-sleeved shirts and pants made from moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and shielded from the sun's rays. Don't forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the harsh sunlight.

My go-to for avoiding a sunburn is a ball cap! 

Apply Sunscreen

Before hitting the trail, generously apply a high SPF sunscreen to exposed skin, including your face, neck, arms, and legs. (If you wear jeans, and a high-neck t-shirt, you mainly just have to worry about your face and arms!) Remember to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours, especially if you're sweating profusely or spending an extended period in direct sunlight. Look for sweat-resistant formulas designed for outdoor activities.

Time Your Rides Wisely

Plan your rides during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon, to avoid the peak heat hours. Desert temperatures can soar during midday, making it uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for both you and your horse. Be mindful of the heat index and adjust your riding schedule accordingly.

Horseback Riding in the Desert
Located in the remote northwest territory of Iceland, is a beautiful little town called Höfn. With its dramatic landscapes, rugged coastlines, and abundant wildlife, the Hornstrandir Peninsula beckons those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure to immerse themselves in a world of untouched wilderness.
Iceland

Despite its modest size, Höfn boasts a picturesque harbor where colorful fishing boats bob gently in the water.

The town's maritime history is deeply rooted in fishing, and you'll often find locals going about their daily routines, repairing nets, or unloading their catch.

This maritime heritage has left an indelible mark on the town's character, making it a true reflection of Iceland's coastal culture.

A gateway to glacial wonders

Höfn's location near the Vatnajökull Glacier, Europe's largest glacier, makes it an ideal starting point for exploring this frozen wonderland.

The glacier's otherworldly ice formations, glacial lagoons, and stunning blue ice caves are accessible through guided tours that depart from Höfn.

These adventures into the glacial realm provide a unique opportunity to witness the power and majesty of nature up close.

The town is fairly small but don't miss out on this little gem!

Take some time to explore the local museum and walk the streets to fully enjoy Höfn.

A picture perfect fishing village
Höfn

Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Alaska, Portage Pass stands as a symbol of untamed beauty and wonder.

Offering a portal into the heart of the Chugach National Forest, this scenic wonderland attracts adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and photographers alike. I

It serves as a crucial link between the Turnagain Arm and Prince William Sound, two iconic bodies of water known for their pristine beauty and abundant wildlife.

Once an essential route for Native Alaskans and Russian fur traders, Portage Pass has evolved into a sought-after destination for modern-day adventurers seeking an escape into the wild.

Surrounded by towering peaks, including the iconic Byron Glacier, this pass boasts awe-inspiring views that leave visitors spellbound.

Hiking the trail

Portage Glacier is about 60 miles from Anchorage. You will have to take a little hike on the Byron Glacier Trail to get to to see these views pictured.

As you ascend the trail, you're treated to picturesque views of Portage Lake and its vibrant blue hues, contrasted beautifully against the verdant surroundings.

The trail's ascent may be challenging, but the rewards make the effort worth it.

Along the way, you might encounter wildlife such as mountain goats, Dall sheep, and even the occasional black bear.

The sense of adventure and the anticipation of what lies ahead make this hike all the more thrilling.

Remember to check the weather conditions and road status before starting your journey, especially if you plan to drive yourself.

The weather in Alaska can be unpredictable, and road closures due to wildlife crossings or other factors may occur.

Plan ahead and be prepared for an incredible experience at Portage Glacier!

Portage Pass

Village Charm: Downtown Blowing Rock

The heart of Blowing Rock is its charming and walkable downtown area. With an array of quaint shops, boutiques, and local art galleries, it's a shopper's paradise. You'll find everything from handmade crafts to mountain-inspired fashion.

Be sure to explore the charming streets, dine at local eateries, and maybe even indulge in some sweet treats at a local bakery. And don't miss the annual Christmas in Blowing Rock celebration if you're visiting during the holiday season – it's like stepping into a winter wonderland.

Outdoor Adventures Abound: Grandfather Mountain and More

One of the standout attractions near Blowing Rock is the iconic Grandfather Mountain. It's not only a lofty peak but also a place for high adventure. The Mile-High Swinging Bridge is a thrilling experience, providing incredible views of the surrounding mountains.

If you're feeling more adventurous, you can embark on a hike on one of the many trails within the park. Grandfather Mountain is just one of many opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and exploring the great outdoors in the area. If you're a fan of outdoor activities, you won't be disappointed.

A Natural Playground: The Blue Ridge Parkway and Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Blowing Rock is a haven for nature enthusiasts. The nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, often dubbed "America's Favorite Drive," provides breathtaking scenic routes, ideal for leisurely drives and photo opportunities.

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is another gem, offering miles of hiking and horseback riding trails. The park's iconic Flat Top Manor, an historic mountain estate, is a must-visit. In the warmer months, you can explore the serene Bass Lake, which is perfect for picnics and relaxation.

Another fun stop when visiting this area is The Mast General Store. It's a historic little shopping destination that captures the essence of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This charming emporium, housed in a beautifully preserved building, invites visitors to step back in time while offering a delightful selection of goods.

From rustic outdoor gear to nostalgic candies, home decor, and regional products, the Mast General Store is a delightful place to explore, shop, and relish in the timeless atmosphere of the Appalachian region.

Blowing Rock is a hidden gem in the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering a delightful blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and small-town charm. Whether you're seeking a peaceful mountain retreat or an active getaway, this lovely town is really something special.

Blowing Rock
Iceland

This natural wonder arises from the gradual separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, which continue to drift apart at a rate of about 2 centimeters per year.

This tectonic activity has created a distinct landscape of rocky cliffs, fissures, and rifts. The park is a part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a major boundary where the Earth's tectonic plates are pulling away from each other.

Historical Significance of Thingvellir National Park: Walking through the ancient assembly grounds of Thingvellir National Park, you can almost hear the echoes of political debates and legendary sagas.

If you are a history lover like me, you will be sure to find the park fascinating for its role in politics.

This park holds immense historical significance as the site of Iceland's first parliament and the world's oldest parliament called the Althing, established in 930 AD.

The Althing was not only a place for political discussions but also served as a judicial and legislative body for the early Icelandic settlers.

It was a symbol of the early democracy that flourished in Iceland, making Thingvellir a place of great pride for the Icelandic people.

As you explore the park, you'll come across the Law Rock, where the laws of the land were proclaimed to the assembly.

Standing on this historic spot, you can envision the early settlers gathering here, discussing the future of their nation and setting the course for Icelandic society.

The remnants of the Althing's booths and meeting places are still visible, providing a tangible connection to the past.

A Geological Marvel Between Continents
Flora and Fauna of Thingvellir National Park
Is there a visitor's center at Thingvellir National Park?

Yes! There is a visitor center at Thingvellir National Park. It makes for a great place to hit the bathrooms while you have a chance to stretch your legs.

Be sure to check out the maps and brochures to help you plan your time in the park more efficiently.

Visiting Thingvellir National Park offers a chance to immerse oneself in Iceland's captivating natural wonders and connect with its rich historical heritage.

This park is a must-visit destination when you go exploring this enchanting island nation.

So, are you ready to embark on your own Icelandic adventure? Pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to explore the captivating wonders of Thingvellir National Park!

Thingvellir National Park is not only a geological wonderland but also a haven for diverse flora and fauna. The park's varied landscapes provide a habitat for numerous plant species, including mosses, lichens, and wildflowers.

The vibrant colors of these plants contrast beautifully against the stark volcanic rock, creating a picturesque scenery that photographers will appreciate.

The park is also home to a variety of animal species, both on land and in the water.

Although a sighting would be unusual, keep an eye out for Arctic foxes, who have adapted to the harsh Icelandic environment.

You may even spy reindeer that roam freely through the park.

In the lakes and rivers, you may spot trout and Arctic char, making Thingvellir a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts.

Discover Thingvellir National Park on Your Golden Circle Road Trip in Iceland
Belgium

It is one of the country's most well-preserved medieval cities and is known for its charming canals, cobblestone streets, and well-preserved architecture. Here are some key characteristics and highlights of Brügge.

Book a boat cruise through the canals

The city is famous for its network of canals, which you can explore by taking a boat tour. These canals add to the city's charm and provide excellent views of the historic architecture.

You certainly don't want to miss the boat ride! It's also the perfect chance to give your feet a rest from all the walking you've been doing.

As you glide along the tranquil canals, knowledgeable guides often provide insights into the city's history, pointing out key landmarks and sharing anecdotes that bring the past to life.

These guided tours typically offer a leisurely and picturesque journey through the historic heart of Brügge, passing beneath charming stone bridges and alongside centuries-old buildings with Gothic and Renaissance architecture.

The boat rides offer a unique perspective, allowing passengers to appreciate the city's beauty from the water, with reflections of ornate buildings shimmering on the canal's surface.

It's a serene and romantic way to explore Brügge, and it's particularly enchanting in the evening when the city's lights create a magical ambiance.

Take a carriage ride

These horse-drawn carriage tours typically depart from prominent locations such as the Market Square (Grote Markt) or the Burg Square, where beautifully adorned carriages await

Stroll through the town

Wandering through the city's narrow, winding streets is a delightful experience. The architecture is beautifully preserved, and there are numerous cafes, shops, and restaurants to explore.

Brügge
Alaska, USA

Denali national park is 6,075,030 acres consisting of almost 5 million acres of park and slightly over 1.3M acres of preserve.

Be sure to get yourself a picture of the Denali National Park entrance sign!

Lowest Elevation in Denali National Park
The lowest point in the park is found at the Yentna River at 240 feet. You cannot access this point by driving. The only way for visitors to get to the lowest elevation in Denali National Park is by taking a plane, dogsled, or a snow machine.

Denali National Park Summer Jobs
The park staffs over 100 permanent employees along with about that same number needed as seasonal employees and also relies on the work of interns and volunteers

Denali National Park Rangers
A ranger's role in Denali National Park, Alaska, can be as vast and wild as the landscape they serve.

They are like guardians of this untamed wilderness, they embark on a multifaceted mission to protect its natural wonders and ensure the safety of its visitors. Rangers play a vital role in preserving the pristine beauty and ecological integrity of Denali, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Being a ranger in Denali National Park, Alaska, is like being the ultimate outdoor enthusiast meets protector of the wild.

Here's what they're all about:
Wildlife Watch: Rangers are like the animal whisperers of the park, keeping tabs on the diverse critters that call Denali home, from grizzlies to caribou.

Trail Tacklers: They're the trailblazers, making sure the paths are clear and safe for hikers and adventurers, all while embracing the rugged beauty of the terrain.

Nature's Ambassadors: Rangers aren't just guardians. They're also storytellers, sharing the importance of Denali's ecosystem with visitors, sparking a love for conservation that reverberates far beyond the park's boundaries.

Facts about Denali National Park and Preserve
What Town is Denali National Park In?
How to Tour Denali National Park

Visiting Denali National Park offers a rare opportunity to witness grizzly bears, moose, foxes and many other incredible creatures in their natural habitats.

Driving through this park means you have to keep your eyes open! The animals are all around you, and you can turn it into a game of who can spot the first moose or grizzly bear.
You can explore this wonderland through a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking and backpacking to wildlife watching and mountaineering.

Denali National Park also offers a unique approach to conservation. Be sure to check the latest updates for information before your trip on park openings and/or road closures that could impact your trip.

Denali National Park Closest Airport
The closest airport to Denali National Park is in Fairbanks. It’s about 125 miles away.

Flying into Anchorage is also a great option. The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) is about 250.

Distance to Denali National Park
Denali National Park is a bit of a drive from any major city but the distance is very manageable, especially if you love a good road trip.

Seriously, the views on an Alaskan road trip more than make up for any discomfort caused by a long drive.

Denali National Park Rental Cars
Renting a car from the airport is a convenient option for exploring Denali National Park, offering visitors flexibility and independence to navigate the park's vast wilderness at their own pace.

When I was in Denali National Park during the month of September, we flew into ANC and rented an SUV from the airport. I made the reservation online ahead of time.

Be mindful that just because you make a reservation, it does not mean that you automatically are reserving that specific type of car you chose. Rental car companies operate somewhat on a first-come-first-serve basis.

To help ensure that you get the vehicle you need, call your rental car company the day before and confirm your arrival. Ask for a specific vehicle to be marked for you!

Alaska Auto Rental is another service you can rent directly from to explore Denali and other parts of Alaska.

The cool thing about Denali National Park is that even with a car, you can see so much of the park! You can easily access many of the highlights that make up Denali's various scenic viewpoints and trailheads and help you make the most of your time exploring the park's landscapes and catching views of the wildlife.

Healy, Alaska is the closest town at just over 10 miles away from Denali. You can find lodging options in this little town along with restaurants and grocery stores.

The closest town of any significant size is Fairbanks. It’s the second-largest city in the state, covering approximately 32 square miles.

Despite its relatively modest size compared to urban centers in the lower 48 states, Fairbanks serves as a vital cultural, economic, and transportation hub for the region. Fairbanks is in the Alaska Time Zone, which is an hour behind Pacific Time and 4 hours behind Eastern Time Zone.

Fairbanks experiences the long summer days and equally extended winter nights due to its high latitude.

The city's economy is diverse, with key industries including tourism, mining, and research, thanks in part to its proximity to the Arctic Circle and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which is renowned for its Arctic research programs.

Fairbanks boasts a rich history, shaped by its origins as a trading post during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 19th century.

Find out more about Fairbanks here.

Do Denali National Park United States the Right Way
Welcome to Anchorage, the mesmerizing jewel of Alaska! Known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, Anchorage offers a unique blend of urban amenities and pristine wilderness.
America

Anchorage Airport (ANC) is a pretty easy airport to navigate through which makes entering Alaska through Anchorage a convenient choice.

Anchorage's proximity to the wilderness offers a plethora of outdoor adventures for thrill-seekers.

Whether you're into hiking, fishing, kayaking, or even dog sledding, there's an adventure awaiting you.

In winter, the city transforms into a winter wonderland, with opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and even the chance to witness the northern lights dancing across the sky.

Wildlife encounters

Anchorage is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. The city is teeming with opportunities to observe a variety of wildlife up close.

Take a scenic drive along the Seward Highway, and you might spot moose grazing along the roadside or bald eagles soaring through the skies.

For a more intimate encounter with Alaskan wildlife, consider taking a wildlife tour that allows you to view bears, whales, and other native animals in their natural habitats.

Easy access to outdoor adventures
Festivals and events

Throughout the year, Anchorage hosts a vibrant array of festivals and events that celebrate its unique culture and traditions.

From the Fur Rendezvous in February, a winter festival showcasing dog sledding and snow sculpting, to the summer solstice celebration, where the city comes alive with music, art, and food, there's always something exciting happening in Anchorage.

Anchorage
Germany

Its charming old town, fortified walls, and bustling markets offer a delightful contrast to the city's dynamic business and cultural scene.

Old Town

Nuremberg's Altstadt, or old town, is a living testament to the city's storied past. Encircled by centuries-old walls, the medieval architecture exudes an air of timelessness.

The Hauptmarkt, or central square, is adorned with the ornate Schöner Brunnen fountain and hosts the famous Christkindlesmarkt, a Christmas market steeped in tradition.

Enjoy walking through the old town and going in and out of the little shops! It's the perfect spot to find a Christmas ornament or some other souvenir to remind you of this city.

A Renaissance Haven

Step into the world of one of the greatest artists of the Northern Renaissance, Albrecht Dürer.

His former residence, now a museum, showcases his masterpieces and provides insight into his life and creative process. The meticulously preserved rooms transport visitors back to the 16th century, offering a glimpse of Dürer's genius.

Nazi Documentation Center: Confronting History

Nuremberg holds a pivotal place in the history of World War II.

The Nazi Documentation Center, located at the former Reich Party Rally Grounds, offers a sobering and educational experience.

Through exhibits and multimedia presentations, it provides a comprehensive look at the rise of the Nazi regime and the Nuremberg Trials that followed.

The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals held in the aftermath of World War II to prosecute high-ranking Nazi officials for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other atrocities committed during the war.

Taking place in the city of Nuremberg, Germany, from 1945 to 1946, these trials marked a significant milestone in international law, establishing the principle that individuals, regardless of their official position, could be held accountable for their actions during times of conflict.

The trials set a precedent for subsequent international criminal proceedings and played a crucial role in shaping modern humanitarian and legal standards.

For WWII history buffs, understanding the Nuremberg Trials provides a deeper context to the events of World War II and the post-war efforts to seek justice for the victims of wartime atrocities.

Nürnberg
Ireland

A glimpse into history

Dating back to the 11th century, Christ Church Cathedral's roots are firmly intertwined with the evolution of Dublin itself.

This medieval masterpiece has witnessed the ebb and flow of time, surviving through Viking invasions, Norman conquests, and countless historical events.

The cathedral's architecture is a fusion of styles that showcases the passage of time and the influences of different eras.

From the Norman arches and Romanesque details to the elegant Gothic elements, the cathedral's structure is a living chronicle of architectural evolution.

The soaring nave, adorned with delicate stained glass windows and intricate stone carvings, exudes a sense of reverence and awe-inspiring beauty.

Christ Church Cathedral stands as a bridge between the past and the present, a space where faith, history, and artistic achievement intertwine.

The crypt below

Beneath the cathedral's hallowed halls lies an intriguing world—the crypt.

The largest cathedral crypt in all of Britain and Ireland, it houses fascinating exhibits that delve into the cathedral's history, showcasing ancient artifacts, manuscripts, and even the mummified remains of a cat and a rat, popularly known as "Tom and Jerry."

Emerging from the depths of the crypt, you ascend back to the surface and find yourself in the cathedral's tranquil courtyard.

As you complete your walk around Christ Church Cathedral, it really feels like you're walking through a history book.

Be sure to include a visit to this destination when you're in Dublin!

Christchurch Cathedral
New Zealand
Larnach Castle
America, USA, United States

Resort

The heart of Chena Hot Springs is its geothermal waters, which flow from deep within the Earth to create soothing pools that provide the perfect sanctuary to unwind.

Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and pristine wilderness, soaking in the hot springs is a serene experience

The Ice Museum

As you step into this frozen wonderland, you're greeted by a mesmerizing display of intricately carved ice sculptures, each a masterpiece that showcases the artistic prowess of talented sculptors.

The museum's walls, ceilings, and even the furniture are crafted entirely from ice, creating an otherworldly ambiance that transports you to a realm of shimmering elegance.

From life-sized ice bears to delicate ice chandeliers, the sculptures glisten under the soft lighting, casting an ethereal glow that adds to the enchantment.

The Ice Museum is a must when you visit Chena Hot Springs!

One of the most captivating features of the Ice Museum is its Ice Bar—a unique experience where you can enjoy drinks served in glasses made of ice.

Day or Multi-Day Trip Options

Chena Hot Springs makes for a great day-trip, but if you want to stay longer, you certainly can!

Accommodations at Chena Hot Springs range from cozy cabins to luxurious lodges, offering a range of options to suit different preferences.

The on-site restaurant serves delicious meals prepared using local ingredients, allowing you to savor the flavors of Alaska's bounty.

It will likely be very busy so use the extra time to browse their little gift shop for a souvenir!

Chena Hot Springs

Skiing in the Last Frontier: An Overview

Skiing in Alaska is a captivating adventure for winter enthusiasts.

With its rugged landscapes and abundant snowfall, Alaska offers a unique skiing experience that combines thrilling downhill runs with breathtaking natural beauty. Alaska boasts an array of ski resorts, each with its own distinct character, from the world-class facilities of Alyeska Resort to the rustic charm of Eaglecrest Ski Area.

Chasing Powder: Layering Tips for Staying Warm

Alaskan winters can be harsh, with cold temperatures and occasional storms. Proper layering is crucial to ensure warmth and comfort on the slopes. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your body. Add an insulating layer, like fleece or down, for warmth.

Top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect against the elements. Don't forget to wear moisture-wicking socks and thermal gloves.

A good quality neck gaiter, helmet, and goggles are also essential to shield your face from biting winds and snow. Remember, layers allow you to adjust your clothing as your body temperature changes throughout the day.

Exploring the Alaskan Wilderness: Beyond the Slopes

Alaska's allure extends beyond the ski resorts, beckoning adventurers to explore its wild, untamed landscapes. Heli-skiing is a popular way to access pristine, untouched powder, and caters to those seeking a thrilling off-piste experience.

The state's vast backcountry terrain provides ample opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, allowing you to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Keep an eye out for local

The Alaskan Après-Ski: Culinary Delights and Northern Lights

No skiing adventure in Alaska would be complete without savoring the local culinary offerings and experiencing the mesmerizing Northern Lights. Alaska's dining scene is diverse and flavorful, offering everything from fresh seafood to hearty, locally-sourced dishes.

Warm up with a cup of reindeer chili or indulge in the renowned Alaska king crab legs. Make sure to venture out at night to witness the enchanting spectacle of the Northern Lights, a natural wonder that often graces the Alaskan skies with its ethereal dance.

Gaze up in awe as the vibrant colors of the aurora borealis paint the night sky, bringing a perfect end to your day of Alaskan skiing adventures.

Alaska is a remarkable experience that combines the thrill of the slopes with the pristine beauty of the wilderness.

Whether you're carving down the trails at a resort, exploring backcountry powder, or savoring local cuisine while watching the Northern Lights, Alaska offers an enchanting winter wonderland for skiers of all levels.

So, pack your gear and embrace the splendor of the Last Frontier on your next ski adventure in Alaska.

Skiing
Ireland

Rich history

Belfast played a significant role in the industrial revolution and shipbuilding, with the world-famous Titanic being built in the city's shipyards in the early 20th century.

Today, you can visit the Titanic Quarter, which houses the Titanic Belfast museum.

The Titanic Museum, also known as Titanic Belfast, is a world-class museum commemorating the tragic but historic story of the Titanic.

It is dedicated to telling the story of the RMS Titanic, one of the most famous and tragic maritime disasters in history.

The museum is situated in the Titanic Quarter, on the site where the Titanic was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard.

The museum offers a highly interactive and immersive experience, using cutting-edge technology and multimedia displays. Visitors can explore various exhibitions, artifacts, and interactive installations that bring the Titanic's story to life.

Educational opportunities

In terms of education, Belfast is home to several universities, including Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University, attracting students from around the world.

Queen's University Belfast (QUB) is a prestigious public research university located in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Founded in 1845, it is one of the oldest and most renowned universities in the United Kingdom.

The university's main campus is situated in the southern part of the city, a short distance from Belfast's city center.

Belfast offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and contemporary experiences, making it an intriguing destination for travelers and a unique place to live for its residents.

Belfast, Ireland
Belgium

Mons reminds me of that smaller town feel and is a much slower pace than Brussels.

Museums and galleries

Mons boasts several museums that showcase its history, art, and culture.

The Mons Memorial Museum is dedicated to the memory of World War I, and the Mundaneum is known as the "Google of the 20th century," preserving an early attempt at cataloging global knowledge. Additionally, the BAM (Beaux-Arts Mons) museum features contemporary art exhibitions.

La Collégiale Sainte-Waudru

Be sure to stop in at the Collegiate Church of Saint-Waudru. It's a prominent religious and architectural landmark located in the city within walking distance of the Grand Place.

It holds significant historical and cultural importance in the region and is dedicated to Saint Waudru, a local saint and the patroness of the city.

The interior of the church is equally impressive, with a spacious nave, side chapels, and a beautifully designed choir. The intricate wooden choir stalls are notable for their detailed carvings depicting biblical scenes, saints, and various symbolic figures.

Festivals

The Carnival of Mons, locally known as "Doudou," is a vibrant and lively event that takes place annually and has been recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

It involves various festivities, including a procession, folkloric characters, and a mock battle featuring the famous "Lumeçon."

Plan your day walking the city
Food and coffee breaks
Pro tip

Many places are actually closed on Mondays so plan to spend your day in Mons on any other day. I did not realize this part about Mons until I was already here and of days, a Monday!

I still had a wonderful time, just missed going to a few places that I wanted to visit. I guess that means I've just got to go back. :) 

Mons offers a delightful array of food and coffee shops that cater to a range of tastes and preferences. From cozy cafés with artisanal pastries to charming bistros serving local Belgian cuisine, the city's culinary scene is diverse and inviting.

Visitors can savor freshly baked waffles dusted with powdered sugar, indulge in velvety Belgian chocolates, and enjoy a cup of rich, aromatic coffee in the welcoming ambiance of its cafes.

Whether you're seeking a leisurely brunch, a quick espresso, or a taste of traditional Belgian dishes, the food and coffee shops of Mons provide a flavorful journey through the city's gastronomic delights.

You can eat lunch with a beautiful view of the Grand Place in Mons.

A couple of coffee shops I recommend here are Five Senses at Grand Place and a little spot on Rue D'Harve called Le Pain Quotidien. This gem serves food too and is a great spot to connect to W-Fi so you can check-in with family and friends.

I also tried to go to MoMa, as a friend recommended that place as well, but it was closed on Monday.

Accessibility

Mons is well-connected by road and rail, making it accessible for both local and international visitors. It's also only about a 45 minute train ride to Brussels and relatively close to other major European cities making it a feasible destination for day trips.

Mons
Bahamas

Straw Market

The city's Straw Market is a bustling hub where visitors can shop for Bahamian crafts, artwork, and unique souvenirs.

However, navigating the market requires a blend of assertiveness, mindfulness, and tact to ensure you have a pleasant shopping experience without feeling pressured into making purchases.

The Pirates of Nassau Museum

Visitors are taken on a journey through the history of piracy, learning about the notorious figures such as Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, and Calico Jack who became legends of the high seas.

The museum's multimedia presentations and artifacts offer insights into their lives, tactics, and the challenges they faced.

The Nassau Pirates Museum immerses guests in the world of swashbucklers and offers a glimpse into Nassau's pirate history.

It doesn't take much time to go through the entire museum. It's fairly small but is definitely a great stop.

The Queen's Staircase

Also known as "66 Steps," the Queen's Staircase was built in the late 18th century by enslaved Africans.

The staircase was constructed by hand over the course of 16 years, providing a direct link to Nassau's past and the stories of those who toiled to create it.

The name "Queen's Staircase" honors Queen Victoria, who reigned during the time of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire

The staircase consists of 66 steps that lead to a serene garden at the top.

The steps are intricately carved and feature a smooth, stepped design that showcases the remarkable skill and dedication of those who worked on its construction.

Arriving to the island by cruise

When you are getting off the boat, immediately waiting for you are tons of individuals who wish to offer you transportation around the island.

If you know where you're headed, you do not need to hire a car. You can easily walk to many places on the island. I always love to walk anywhere I can!

Just be prepared to say "no" many times as you get through the crowd.

Best Day Tours to Take in The Bahamas from Cruise
Austria

A Symphony of Culture & Nature

Its old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a stunning ensemble of Baroque architecture, narrow alleys, and charming squares.

Dominated by the Hohensalzburg Fortress perched atop a hill, Salzburg is also famed for its musical heritage, hosting the renowned Salzburg Festival each summer.

The Salzach River winds through the city, offering scenic views and opportunities for leisurely strolls along its banks. With its rich history, cultural significance, and breathtaking natural surroundings, Salzburg is a destination that captivates visitors with its timeless beauty.

Mozart's Birthplace: A Musical Legacy

Step into the world of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by visiting his birthplace in the heart of Salzburg's old town. The museum is filled with memorabilia, musical instruments, and insights into the life of the musical genius. It's a must-visit for music enthusiasts.

The Sound of Music Tour: Relive the Magic

For fans of of the beloved file, "The Sound of Music," Salzburg is a pilgrimage site. Take a tour that guides you through the iconic locations featured in the movie, from the Mirabell Gardens to the gazebo where Liesl and Rolf sang, "Sixteen Going on Seventeen."

The hills are indeed alive with the sound of music in Salzburg!

Hohensalzburg Fortress: A Medieval Marvel

Perched atop a hill, the Hohensalzburg Fortress offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding Alps. Explore the castle chambers, visit the fortress museum, and enjoy the medieval atmosphere that transport you back in time.

Don't miss the thrilling ride up the hill! It's so fun and takes you to an incredible view. You can also have lunch at the fortress or stop for a little break and get a coffee with a snack.

Alpine Adventures

Beyond its cultural treasures, Salzburg offers a playground for nature lovers. The surrounding Alps provide opportunities such as hiking, skiing, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Explore the stunning Lake District, where crystal-clear lakes are framed by the majestic mountains all around.

Salzburg is a city that harmoniously weaves together the strands of its history, musical legacy, and the breathtaking natural surroundings.

Whether you're strolling through its Baroque old town, following in the footsteps of the von Trapp family, or immersing yourself in the world of Mozart, Salzburg promises an unforgettable journey.

It's a place where you can create beautiful memories to share with others.

Salzburg
USA, America, United States

A grand display of mountain peaks

At the heart of Grand Teton National Park stands the awe-inspiring Teton Range.

Characterized by its jagged peaks and sweeping vistas, this mountain range is a paradise for hikers and photographers alike. The Grand Teton itself, soaring to an elevation of 13,770 feet, serves as the crown jewel of the park's landscape.

The ever-changing play of light and shadow against these granite giants creates a mesmerizing spectacle, offering a canvas that shifts from fiery sunrises to tranquil sunsets.

Trails for every explorer

Grand Teton National Park boasts a diverse network of trails catering to adventurers of all skill levels.

For those seeking a leisurely stroll through picturesque meadows and along the banks of serene lakes, the Jenny Lake Loop trail is a popular choice.

On the other hand, more experienced hikers may opt for the Cascade Canyon Trail, which leads to breathtaking vistas of waterfalls and glacier-carved canyons.

Wildlife encounters

Be on the lookout for moose on this trail! 

I was within about 6 feet of one as he was right off the trail which was definitely wayyyy too close so be careful as they can hide well in the thick brush.

One of the most captivating aspects of Grand Teton National Park is its vibrant wildlife population.

The park is home to a diverse array of animals, including moose, elk, bison, and the elusive gray wolf.

Bird enthusiasts may be able to spot species such as bald eagles and peregrine falcons soaring above.

Visitors can witness these creatures in their natural habitats, a reminder of the delicate balance that exists within this pristine ecosystem.

To keep the park looking pristine, be sure to always pack out whatever you bring in with you!

Grand Teton National Park
Germany

Römer: Frankfurt's Timeless Town Hall

No visit to historic Frankfurt is complete without a stop at Römer, the city's iconic town hall. This stunning medieval building, with its distinctive stepped gables and picturesque façade, has been at the center of Frankfurt's history for centuries.

Inside, you'll find the Kaisersaal, a lavishly decorated banquet hall where numerous imperial elections took place. The Römerplatz, surrounded by quaint half-timbered houses, is a delightful square where you can enjoy a coffee or a meal while soaking in the historic ambiance.

St. Bartholomew's Cathedral: A Gothic Masterpiece

For architecture and history enthusiasts, St. Bartholomew's Cathedral, commonly known as the Kaiserdom, is a must-visit. This imposing Gothic cathedral, dating back to the 14th century, has witnessed coronations of emperors and served as the venue for important historical events.

Climb the tower for panoramic views of the city, and explore the interior to marvel at its beautiful stained glass windows, intricate sculptures, and rich history.

The Historic Museumsufer: A Cultural Paradise

Frankfurt's Museumsufer (Museum Embankment) is a cultural haven along the banks of the River Main. This district boasts a remarkable concentration of museums, many of them housed in grand historic buildings.

You can explore art, archaeology, film, and even an extensive collection of antique artifacts at the Liebieghaus. The Städel Museum, one of Germany's most important art museums, offers an impressive array of European masterpieces. A leisurely stroll along the Museumsufer allows you to soak in art and history at your own pace.

Sachsenhausen: History and Apfelwein

Crossing the river to Sachsenhausen, you'll discover another layer of Frankfurt's history. This charming district is known for its traditional Apfelwein (apple wine) taverns and half-timbered houses.

Visit the St. Bartholomew's Cemetery, which contains the graves of notable figures like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's family. Take a seat at an Apfelwein pub and savor this local beverage, a tradition dating back to the 16

Whether you're interested in architecture, art, or simply soaking in the ambiance of centuries-old streets, Frankfurt's historic core promises an enchanting and educational adventure.

Frankfurt

Unleash the Arctic Adventure!

Alaska, the last frontier of the United States, is a pristine playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Among the myriad activities that this icy wonderland offers, dog sledding stands out as a thrilling and immersive experience.

Let me give you a glimpse into the world of dog sledding in Alaska and discuss its rich history, the incredible dogs that make it all possible, and essential tips for staying warm in this frigid wilderness. I definitely needed some tips BEFORE going dog sledding on how to stay warm.

  • Trust me! You will be happy you put on that extra pair of socks.

A Glimpse into History: The Origins of Dog Sledding in Alaska

Dog sledding has deep roots in Alaskan culture, tracing back to the indigenous peoples who have called this rugged terrain home for thousands of years.

Historically, dog teams were indispensable for transportation and survival in this harsh environment.

Today, dog sledding has evolved into a popular recreational activity, with a dash of competitive spirit. The iconic Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, spanning over 1,000 miles, commemorates the historic serum run to Nome in 1925.

This incredible event is a testament to the enduring bond between humans and their canine companions.

Meet the True Heroes: Alaskan Huskies and Malamutes

The stars of the show are undoubtedly the incredible dogs that pull sleds through the Alaskan wilderness. Alaskan Huskies and Malamutes are the breeds of choice, known for their incredible strength, endurance, and resilience in sub-zero temperatures.

These four-legged athletes work in harmony with their mushers (the sled drivers), forging a unique and unbreakable bond. Not just strong, these dogs are incredibly intelligent, and they take their job seriously.

A typical dog team can consist of anywhere from 6 to 16 dogs, each contributing to the success of the journey.

Surviving the Arctic Chill: Dressing for an Alaskan Dog Sledding Adventure

Alaska's frigid climate can be unforgiving, but with the right gear, you can comfortably navigate the wilderness. Layering is the key to staying warm during a dog sledding excursion.

Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin. Add an insulating layer to trap heat, and top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to shield against the elements.

Don't forget a warm hat, gloves, and high-quality snow boots to keep extremities cozy. Wear thick, wool socks. If you don't have a thick pair, wear two pairs of socks.

Sunglasses are a must to protect your eyes from the glaring snow.

With the proper gear, you'll be ready to embrace the adventure and enjoy the unparalleled beauty of Alaska from the back of a dog sled.

Dog sledding in Alaska offers an extraordinary adventure for those seeking a true taste of the frozen wilderness. With its rich history, amazing sled dogs, and tips for staying warm, this experience is an unforgettable journey into the heart of the Last Frontier.

So, don your winter gear, hop on a sled, and let the powerful paws of Alaskan Huskies guide you through the majestic landscapes of this remote and breathtaking part of the world.

Dog Sledding
Iceland

Yes, that's right! If you're a Game of Thrones fan, you will definitely want to have this waterfall on your itinerary. In fact, there are so many scenes from this series filmed against Iceland's beautiful backdrops. After all, what better way to add an element of mystique and grandeur to the show.

Prepare to have your breath taken away as you come upon Godafoss, a majestic and iconic waterfall located in northern Iceland.

Popular Waterfalls in Iceland

It is one of the most famous and visited waterfalls in the country. The name "Godafoss" translates to "Waterfall of the Gods" in Icelandic, which alludes to its historical significance and the stories associated with it.

Godafoss is renowned for its unique horseshoe-shaped cascade, where the river plunges over a cliff edge that spans approximately 98 feet in width and drops around 39 feet into the gorge below.

The surrounding landscape is striking, characterized by dramatic rocky cliffs and lush greenery during the summer months.

Where is Godafoss Waterfall in Iceland?

You couldn't ask for an easier waterfall to access! This waterfall is located in the North East part of Iceland, directly off of Ring Road 1.

Godafoss Game of Thrones
Dettifoss Parking East
Where is Seljalandsfoss Waterfall?

This waterfall is a little less than a 2 hour drive Reykjavik!

What sets Seljalandsfoss apart from many other waterfalls is the narrow cave-like opening that allows you to walk behind the cascading water curtain.

This waterfall is one of my favorites because of this feature! You get to experience the waterfall from a unique perspective and to feel the sheer power and beauty of the rushing water up close.

The feeling is incredible and the amazing sound of the water just gushing over the cliff is insane.

The waterfall is situated along the Seljalandsá River, which originates from the Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano.

The cascade drops about 197 feet (60 meters) from the cliff's edge into a serene and tranquil pool below.

I recommend you use the east parking lot. You can then take a short walk, about 1/2 mile, to see the falls.

Wear good shoes as the little trek to view Dettifoss is a steep rocky trail.

The waterfall is formed by the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river, which originates from the Vatnajökull Glacier, one of Europe's largest glaciers.

Dettifoss has a height of about 148 feet and a width of approximately 328 feet, making it the most powerful waterfall in Europe in terms of water volume.

The sheer force of the water plummeting into the canyon below generates a massive amount of spray and mist, which often creates rainbows on sunny days, adding to the natural spectacle.

The surrounding landscape is stark and volcanic, with black basalt rocks and rugged terrain, giving visitors a glimpse of Iceland's raw and untamed beauty.

Iceland Waterfalls Golden Circle 2024
Australia

It lies along the eastern coast of Queensland, facing the Coral Sea, and is approximately 680 miles north of Brisbane, the state's capital.

Gateway to exploration

Airlie Beach is also the primary gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, an archipelago of 74 stunning islands.

Tourists can take day trips or multi-day sailing adventures to explore the Whitsundays, which offer pristine beaches, secluded coves, and excellent opportunities for water sports.

Airlie Beach serves as a popular base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system.

Tour operators offer a range of reef experiences, including snorkeling, scuba diving, and boat tours to various reef locations.

Stunning scenery

The town's most striking feature is its picturesque location with the azure waters of the Coral Sea on one side and lush tropical rainforests on the other.

The breathtaking views and natural beauty attract tourists from all around the world.

Airlie Beach Lagoon

A popular attraction in the heart of the town is the Airlie Beach Lagoon, a large artificial swimming pool with sandy beaches, palm trees, and plenty of space to relax and enjoy the tropical climate.

It's a perfect spot for families and individuals to cool off and enjoy the water.

Adventure activities

Besides reef and island tours, Airlie Beach offers a wide range of adventure activities, such as skydiving, scenic flights, jet-skiing, and hiking in the nearby rainforests.

Whether you want to explore the Great Barrier Reef, relax on pristine beaches, or indulge in exciting activities, be sure to make a stop at Airlie Beach.

Airlie Beach
Iceland

With its dramatic shape, vibrant greenery, and stunning volcanic cliffs, this Icelandic wonder is a paradise for adventurers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts.

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a stunning and picturesque canyon located in the southeastern region of Iceland. It is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and unique geological features.

The canyon was formed by the gradual erosion caused by the Fjaðrá River, which carved through the ancient lava fields and sedimentary rock.

Landscape like no other

The canyon stretches for approximately 1.24 miles and reaches a depth of up to 328 feet.

Its meandering shape and steep walls create a dramatic landscape that captivates visitors from around the world.

The sheer cliffs are adorned with vibrant green moss and vegetation, which contrasts beautifully with the dark volcanic rocks.

The Fjaðrá River flows through the bottom of the canyon, adding to its allure as the crystal-clear water winds its way through the rocky terrain.

There are also several small waterfalls and cascades along the river's course, enhancing the natural charm of the area.

Must see

This destination has to be on your list when you visit Iceland. Before my visit here, I had never seen anything quite like this scenery.

Be sure to allow plenty of time to go for a walk around the cliffs to see the views.

Fjaðrárgljúfur
America, United States, USA

Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park is over 600,000 acres! That's a lot of ground to cover so I'm going to give you my top 3 ways to experience the Kenai Fjords National Park.

   1) Boat Tour: Book a boat cruise and sit back and wait for the views to amaze you. Experience the park's wonders from the water, witnessing glaciers calving and spotting marine wildlife like whales and seals.

I still have yet to catch a boat tour with an amazing sighting of the humpback whales and orcas.

   2) Hiking: Take a hike and explore the park by foot. You can traverse scenic trails through ancient forests and alpine meadows, offering panoramic views of snow-capped peaks and fjords.

   3) Helicopter Tour: Soar above Kenai Fjords National Park for a bird's-eye view of its dramatic landscapes, including glaciers, fjords, and rugged coastline.

Experience Kenai Fjords National Park on Your Terms
Up Close Views of Glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park
Explore Kenai Fjords National Park by Boat

The Kenai Fjords National Park is a nature lover's paradise, where every turn reveals a new marvel.

Keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles soaring overhead, and maybe even a chance encounter with a curious harbor seal peeking above the waterline.

The untouched wilderness and raw beauty of this place instill a sense of awe and respect for the natural world.

Setting sail from Seward

Your adventure begins in the charming coastal town of Seward, situated on the Kenai Peninsula, just a few hours' drive from Anchorage.

As you board the boat, anticipation builds as you prepare for a journey into one of the last unspoiled frontiers of the world.

Typically, there are seats inside the boat which is great for getting a break from the chilly weather. However, be sure to walk outside and take in the scenery with the wind in your face. I know it's cold, but the views are worth it.

Plus, it's easier to spot the seals when you're outside looking for them!

The vessel glides gently through Resurrection Bay, providing you with breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and its diverse marine life.

Many people talk about the wildlife encounters of Alaska but make no mistake the glacier encounters are just as thrilling.

The boat cruise brings you face-to-face with some of the park's most iconic tidewater glaciers.

I absolutely loved Aialik Glacier. There's something about being so close to this glacier that you just have no choice but to marvel at the view.

This colossal glacier is an ever-changing mass of ice that cracks as it pushes forward, creating waves going far out into the water.

Witness the powerful calving of ice chunks into the ocean.

Exploring the Kenai Fjords from Seward on a boat cruise is an experience that will stay etched in your memory forever.

From the monumental glaciers to the abundant wildlife, every aspect of this journey is fantastic.

I hope you can go and experience these views for yourself!

3 Great Ways to See Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Ireland

Exploring the charm of Howth

Whether you're a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply looking for a relaxing day by the sea, Howth has something to enchant every visitor.

Howth is a haven for nature lovers, boasting a stunning landscape that combines rugged cliffs, lush greenery, and pristine beaches.

The centerpiece of the area is the Howth Head Peninsula, a hiker's paradise that offers breathtaking coastal walks and panoramic views of the Irish Sea.

The most famous trail, the Howth Cliff Walk, takes you along the edge of the cliffs, treating you to awe-inspiring vistas of the coastline and beyond.

Keep an eye out for local wildlife such as seals, seabirds, and even dolphins, which occasionally make appearances in the waters below.

Culinary delights

No visit to Howth would be complete without indulging in its fresh seafood offerings.

The village's fishing heritage is evident in its bustling fish markets and a wide array of seafood restaurants and cafes.

Treat yourself to a traditional fish and chips meal or sample freshly caught oysters and mussels.

Many eateries also offer outdoor seating, allowing you to savor your meal while enjoying stunning sea views.

The Howth Harbour experience

Howth's charming harbor area is a lively hub, buzzing with activity throughout the day.

You can stroll along the pier, watch fishing boats come and go, or even try your hand at angling by joining a local fishing tour.

If you're feeling adventurous, consider taking a boat tour to Ireland's Eye, a small island just off the coast of Howth.

The island is a nature reserve and offers an opportunity for hiking and birdwatching.

Getting to Howth

From Dublin, transportation to Howth is convenient and easy.

Simply hop on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) train from the city center, and within 30 minutes, you'll arrive at this enchanting coastal destination.

The train journey itself offers scenic views, setting the tone for a delightful day ahead.

Be sure you know when the last train leaves for Dublin. You don't want to get strandid!

Howth
Austria

Unveiling the Charm of Saint Gilgen

Nestled deep within the Austrian Alps lies a hidden gem, the picturesque village of Saint Gilgen.

A Glimpse into Saint Gilgen's History

Saint Gilgen is a village with a rich history, dating back centuries. Its roots are intertwined with the enchanting folklore and traditions of the Austrian Alps. The village is adorned with charming, well-preserved architecture that reflects its historical significance.

Its church, with its distinct bell tower, has become an iconic symbol of Saint Gilgen.

The architecture is a testament to the enduring connection between the community and its heritage. Saint Gilgen's history also includes legends of local heroes and myths that continue to be celebrated through festivals and cultural events.

A visit to Saint Gilgen is like stepping back in time and immersing yourself in the stories that have shaped this Alpine haven.

Nature's Embrace: Saint Gilgen's Alpine Beauty

Surrounded by the pristine landscapes of the Austrian Alps, Saint Gilgen is a nature lover's paradise. The village is enveloped by lush meadows and dense forests that come alive with vibrant colors during the changing seasons.

In summer, hiking and biking trails beckon adventurers to explore the unspoiled wilderness, while winter transforms Saint Gilgen into a snowy wonderland, perfect for skiing and snowshoeing. The majestic peaks provide an ideal backdrop for those seeking tranquility, offering breathtaking views, the purest of mountain air, and opportunities to connect with nature.

Wildlife enthusiasts will be thrilled to spot native creatures like deer, marmots, and even the occasional chamois amid the mountainous terrain.

Activities and Exploration in Saint Gilgen

Saint Gilgen may be a small village, but it offers a myriad of activities and experiences for visitors. Hiking enthusiasts can embark on trails that lead to hidden waterfalls, alpine lakes, and stunning viewpoints.

Mountain bikers will find numerous routes to challenge their skills and admire the scenery. In winter, Saint Gilgen becomes a snowy playground, with skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing options in the surrounding area.

The village's charm extends to its local cuisine, where you can savor traditional Austrian dishes and hearty alpine fare at cozy, family-run restaurants.

Additionally, Saint Gilgen is well-connected to other nearby attractions, such as the Salzburg region, making it an excellent hub for exploring the beauty of the Austrian Alps.

Saint Gilgen, Austria, is a destination that promises a memorable blend of history, natural beauty, and outdoor adventures. Whether you're seeking cultural immersion, outdoor exploration, or a peaceful retreat in the heart of the Alps, Saint Gilgen has something to offer every traveler.

So, plan your visit to this hidden gem and experience the enchantment of Saint Gilgen for yourself

Saint Gilgen
Italy

When the Colosseum was newly constructed, it was a magnificent and imposing structure, showcasing the engineering prowess and architectural grandeur of ancient Rome.

Known as the Flavian Amphitheater in its heyday, this iconic structure in the heart of Rome has been captivating the world with its remarkable history, architectural brilliance, and cultural significance for centuries.

As you stand before the Colosseum, imagine it in its prime, the white travertine gleaming under the Roman sun. Visualize the grand arches, the detailed columns, and the imposing statues that once adorned the exterior. Picture the bustling crowds entering through the vast entrances, the excited murmur of thousands of spectators filling the air.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Colosseum is its ingenious design. The amphitheater boasts an elliptical shape, allowing for unobstructed views from any seat. Its multi-tiered architecture includes arches, columns, and statues, reflecting the opulence of ancient Rome.

The elaborate underground network of tunnels and chambers, known as the hypogeum, facilitated the staging of elaborate spectacles, enabling the smooth movement of gladiators, animals, and scenery.

What Did the Colosseum Look Like When It Was New?
How Many Years Did it Take to Build the Colosseum?
Colosseum Stadium for Entertainment

The Colosseum games were primarily associated with gladiatorial combat, where trained warriors battled to entertain the masses.

It also witnessed other events, such as naval reenactments after filling the amphitheater with water, wild animal hunts, and public executions.

These spectacles were a means for emperors to showcase their power and gain public support.

A glimpse into Ancient Rome

The Colosseum, commissioned by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty in AD 70-72 and later completed by his successor, Emperor Titus, was a symbol of Rome's power and grandeur.

Standing at 159 feet tall and with a circumference of 1,788 feet, the amphitheater could hold up to 80,000 spectators who gathered to witness gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, and other public spectacles.

This colossal structure was a testament to Roman engineering prowess, with its innovative use of concrete, travertine stone, and iron clamps holding the massive stones together.

The Colosseum took approximately 8 years to build.

Construction began in AD 72 under Emperor Vespasian and was completed in AD 80 under his son, Emperor Titus.

The Colosseum was built by the emperors of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people and served as a venue for public spectacles such as gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights.

Later, Vespasian's younger son, Emperor Domitian, made modifications and additions to the structure.

Explore the Colosseum in Rome Italy
Iceland

Geological marvel

Fjaðrárgljúfur offers a glimpse into the raw beauty of Iceland, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a truly unique and magical experience.

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon stretches over 1.2 miles long and over 300 feet deep, showcasing an otherworldly landscape shaped by volcanic activity and glacial erosion.

The layers of sedimentary rock, basalt columns, and vibrant hues of moss and vegetation create an enchanting visual feast that is sure to leave you in awe.

Legends

Like many places in Iceland, Fjaðrárgljúfur is steeped in folklore and legends.

According to local tales, the canyon was formed by the footsteps of two giants who were competing for the affection of a beautiful woman.

Their mighty footsteps and struggles eventually created the deep crevasse we see today.

Bird watching and hiking

For adventure seekers and nature lovers, Fjaðrárgljúfur offers a variety of hiking trails and observation points.

The most popular path leads visitors along the rim of the canyon, offering breathtaking vistas of the cascading river below and the lush green landscape that envelops the canyon walls.

The hike is relatively easy and suitable for most fitness levels, but trekkers should exercise caution and stick to designated paths to protect the delicate ecosystem.

So, if you find yourself on the enchanting island of Iceland, make sure to put Fjaðrárgljúfur on your travel itinerary and experience the magic of this captivating natural wonder.

Fljótsdalshérað
Belgium

Step into Medieval Splendor: Gravensteen Castle

Ghent's Gravensteen Castle, the "Castle of the Counts," is a portal to the city's medieval past. As you wander through its imposing stone walls and centuries-old chambers, you'll feel transported back in time.

The castle's well-curated exhibits, brought to life by an informative audio guide, reveal the fascinating stories behind each room, enriching your visit with tales of knights, nobility, and the daily life of the castle's inhabitants. Be sure to allocate around 1.5 hours to fully immerse yourself in the castle's history, making your visit not just educational but deeply meaningful.

Explore Ghent's Old World Charm

Beyond the castle, Ghent's historic center is a treasure trove of architectural wonders. The Graslei and Korenlei, two picturesque canalside streets, offer a captivating glimpse of medieval Ghent.

Stroll along these cobblestone streets, flanked by beautifully preserved guildhalls, and soak in the timeless ambiance. Don't forget to gaze upon the iconic St. Michael's Bridge for a postcard-worthy view of this enchanting canal district.

A Modern Twist: Ghent's Vibrant Cultural Scene

Ghent's allure doesn't stop at its medieval splendor; it's also a hub of creativity and contemporary culture. The city's cultural scene is alive and thriving with art exhibitions, music festivals, and an eclectic mix of eateries.

The Design Museum Ghent is a prime example of the city's artistic spirit, showcasing design and applied arts from various eras. And if you're a foodie, Ghent's culinary scene offers a delightful fusion of traditional Belgian cuisine and innovative gastronomy.

Ghent

Before going into hiding in Amsterdam during World War II, Anne Frank and her family lived in Frankfurt, Germany. They fled to the Netherlands in 1933, seeking refuge from the escalating persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. Initially, they settled in the city of Aachen and later moved to Amsterdam in 1934.

The Anne Frank House, a canal-side building in Amsterdam, concealed the secret annex where Anne and her family hid from July 1942 until their arrest in August 1944. The Frank family, along with another Jewish family, the Van Pels, and later a dentist named Fritz Pfeffer, lived in constant fear of discovery.

Anne's father, Otto Frank, had prepared the annex as a hiding place, and it was here that Anne wrote her diary. The house, now a museum, retains the clandestine rooms where Anne and her family lived, preserving the secret life they led during their time in hiding. The museum's exhibits and restored rooms provide a chilling glimpse into the challenges and isolation faced by those living during this time.

Where did Anne stay before going to holland?
Anne Frank House Outside View
How Much Time to Spend at Anne Frank House

So, when it comes to visiting the Anne Frank House, I'd suggest planning for about 1.5 to 2 hours. That should give you enough time to explore the museum at a comfortable pace without feeling rushed.

You'll want to take in all the exhibits, read Anne's diary excerpts, and really feel the weight of history in those rooms.

Keep in mind, there might be a queue to get in, especially during peak times, so factor that in when planning your day. Overall, aim to give yourself enough time to fully immerse yourself in this important piece of history.

The Anne Frank House is like a calm spot in the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam.

Its unassuming exterior belies the weight of history within, offering a quiet tribute to the courage and endurance of Anne Frank and her family.

Surrounded by picturesque Dutch architecture, the house invites visitors to pause and reflect on the profound impact of one girl's diary on the world.

As tourists stroll by, the facade silently bears witness to the atrocities of the past while embodying a beacon of hope for the future.

Visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam
Cologne, Germany

The Cologne Cathedral, officially known as the Cologne Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Mary (Kölner Dom), is a magnificent Gothic masterpiece and one of Germany's most iconic landmarks.

Prepare yourself to be amazed

There really is no way that I can adequately describe this cathedral. Standing in front of it will leave you stunned. It's a feeling that you must experience for yourself.

Rising majestically along the Rhine River, its twin spires dominate the city skyline, while its intricate facade and stunning interior, adorned with intricate stained glass windows and ornate sculptures, leave visitors in awe of its grandeur and spiritual significance.

Awe-inspiring architecture

The Cologne Cathedral is a striking example of Gothic architecture at its finest. Its twin spires, reaching for the sky at over 157 meters, are visible from nearly every corner of the city.

The intricately detailed facade, adorned with countless statues and sculptures, tells a visual tale of religious devotion and artistic mastery.

Stepping inside, visitors are met with the breathtaking sight of towering pillars, stunning stained glass windows, and an aura of sacredness that transcends time.

Seamless arrival by train

One of the most remarkable aspects of visiting the Cologne Cathedral is its proximity to the main train station, Köln Hauptbahnhof.

From the moment you step off the train, the cathedral's towering spires beckon, guiding you towards this architectural wonder.

The station itself is a bustling hub of activity, well-equipped with facilities, shops, and eateries, making it a convenient starting point for your Cologne adventure.

When I was traveling through Germany, I knew I wanted to stop at the cathedral.

Even though I had been years before, I was still just as mesmerized . I highly recommend planning a stop here while you're here.

Cologne Cathedral
Iceland

You'll be amazed at the color

Situated approximately 40 minutes from Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is a striking natural wonder known for its otherworldly milky-blue, geothermal waters.

As it's located in a lava field near the town of Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula, you can do some exploring of the nearby town after you've visited the lagoon.

You can easily spend a few hours here. The Blue Lagoon also offers additional amenities such as saunas, steam baths, and silica mud masks, which are included in the spa experience.

There are various packages available for visitors to choose from, ranging from basic access to more luxurious offerings.

Due to its immense popularity, it's advisable to book tickets in advance to secure entry at preferred times.

I visited the Blue Lagoon during the summer in August with my brother, Bob. The weather during this time of year is perfect.

Take a dip in the mineral-rich water

The Blue Lagoon also offers additional amenities such as saunas, steam baths, and silica mud masks, which are included in the spa experience.

There are various packages available for visitors to choose from, ranging from basic access to more luxurious offerings.

Due to its immense popularity, it's advisable to book tickets in advance to secure entry at preferred times.

The lagoon is fed by a nearby geothermal power plant that releases excess mineral-rich water into the pools.

The Blue Lagoon is an iconic destination in Iceland that blends the beauty of nature with the indulgence of a luxurious spa, providing visitors with a unique and memorable experience amidst the country's breathtaking landscapes.

Blue Lagoon

Historical significance

The Roman Forum, or "Forum Romanum" in Latin, was the epicenter of public life in ancient Rome.

It served as the heart of the city, where political, religious, and social activities converged.

Over the centuries, this sprawling plaza witnessed the rise and fall of emperors, the shaping of laws, the exchange of ideas, and the devotion to gods and goddesses.

It was a place where Roman citizens gathered to engage in debates, witness monumental events, and partake in various celebrations.

Architecture marvels

Walking through the Roman Forum is like navigating a labyrinth of architectural marvels that evoke the majesty of a bygone era.

The remnants of ancient structures, such as the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimius Severus, and the Temple of Vesta, stand as silent witnesses to the grandeur of Rome's past.

Temples and religious sites

Religion played a central role in the lives of ancient Romans, and the Roman Forum was adorned with temples dedicated to various deities. The Temple of Julius Caesar, built on the very spot where his body was cremated, stands as a tribute to the legendary leader.

The House of the Vestal Virgins, where the priestesses of Vesta resided, offers insights into the rituals and customs of the time.

The Roman Forum is more than just an archaeological site; it is a living testament to the legacy of an ancient civilization that shaped the course of human history.

As you explore its ruins, you'll find yourself transported back in time.

The Roman Forum is a must-visit destination for anyone who seeks to connect with the rich tapestry of Rome's past and witness the enduring impact of a civilization that continues to influence the world to this day.

Roman Forum

Cliffs by the sea

Milford Sound is situated within Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is about 180 miles northwest of Queenstown, a popular tourist destination within New Zealand's South Island.

The fjord is characterized by towering granite cliffs that rise dramatically from the dark, deep waters.

These majestic peaks, some reaching heights of over a thousand meters, are often veiled in mist, creating a mystical and awe-inspiring atmosphere.

Milford Sound is known for its changeable weather conditions, which can range from sunny skies to heavy rainfall.

The frequent rainfall contributes to the lush rainforest that lines the cliffs, creating a verdant and lush environment.

The day that I visited Milford Sound was a really foggy one. The views were still wonderful, but I can only imagine that they are out of this world on a clear day.

Milford Sound is renowned for its numerous cascading waterfalls that plunge from the cliffs into the fjord below.

The most famous of these waterfalls is the iconic Mitre Peak, which is often surrounded by mist and is a symbol of the area.

Get the full experience

The waters of Milford Sound are teeming with marine life, and it's not uncommon to spot seals, dolphins, and sometimes even whales swimming in the fjord.

If yo like to watch birds, you're in the right spot to observe a variety of bird species, including the rare Fiordland crested penguin.

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Milford Sound is by taking a boat cruise.

Several tour operators offer boat trips that take visitors through the fjord, providing panoramic views of the stunning landscape and the chance to get up close to the waterfalls.

For those who prefer to explore on foot, there are several hiking trails in the area, including the famous Milford Track, which is considered one of New Zealand's Great Walks.

These trails offer opportunities to immerse oneself in the pristine wilderness and witness even more of the region's natural beauty.I definitely recommend doing both if you have the time!

Milford Sound
New Zealand

Adventure Awaits: What to Do in Queenstown

Queenstown is a playground for adventure seekers, and there's no shortage of thrilling activities to indulge in. The town's nickname is literally, "The Adventure Capital of the World."

You can start your day with a breathtaking sunrise hot air balloon ride over the stunning Southern Alps or experience the ultimate adrenaline rush with a bungee jump from the iconic Kawarau Bridge or the Nevis Highwire Platform.

For those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground, the TSS Earnslaw steamship offers scenic cruises on Lake Wakatipu, while the Skyline Gondola provides panoramic views and luge rides for the whole family. Nature enthusiasts can explore the surrounding fjords on a day trip, such as Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, and wine connoisseurs can visit the nearby Gibbston Valley vineyards.

Queenstown's Culinary Delights: A Feast for the Senses

Queenstown isn't just an adventure capital; it's also a foodie haven. Be sure to sample New Zealand's famous Fergburger, an iconic burger joint known for its delicious, locally-sourced ingredients.

And don't miss a visit to the Queenstown Farmers' Market, where you can find artisanal products and fresh produce.

Queenstown is also close to the Central Otago wine region where you can explore vineyards and enjoy wine tastings. Whether you're in the mood for fine dining, street food, or a cozy cafe, Queenstown offers a diverse range of culinary delights.

Scenic Splendors Abound: Queenstown's Natural Beauty

Queenstown's stunning surroundings are a natural wonder in themselves. Lake Wakatipu, with its crystal-clear waters and mountain backdrops, is perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, or leisurely strolls along the lakeside trails.

The Remarkables mountain range, so named for its unique jagged peaks, offers a striking backdrop for any outdoor adventure. Nearby Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, beckons with its lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and iconic Milford Sound, a place of jaw-dropping beauty.

Queenstown's natural beauty is an ever-present backdrop, ensuring that every moment in this South Island gem is a picturesque one.

A Climate for All Seasons: Weather in Queenstown

The city enjoys a temperate maritime climate, meaning it experiences moderate temperatures throughout the year. Summers, from December to February, are warm and ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and water sports on the lake. Autumn, from March to May, paints the region in a symphony of reds and golds as the leaves change, making it a perfect time for wine tasting and scenic drives.

Winters, from June to August, bring snow to the surrounding mountains, transforming Queenstown into a skiing and snowboarding paradise, with world-class resorts like Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.

Spring, from September to November, is a time of renewal, with budding flowers and increasingly warmer weather, making it great for golfing and early-season hiking.

New Zealand's South Island is a destination that caters to every traveler's desires, offering a diverse range of activities, a vibrant food scene, and breathtaking scenery.

No matter the season, this beautiful city and its surrounding landscapes are a must-visit for anyone looking for adventure, natural beauty, and a taste of New Zealand's unique culture. So, pack your bags and prepare for an unforgettable journey in Queenstown.

Queenstown

Held annually in Lakeland, Florida, this airshow is a week-long celebration of all things aviation. Here I'll take you on al tour of what you can expect at Sun 'n Fun, and provide you with some handy tips for an unforgettable experience.

The Sky's the Limit: Spectacular Air Displays

Sun 'n Fun is renowned for its breathtaking air displays that will leave you in awe. From high-speed aerobatics to vintage aircraft showcases, there's something for everyone.

Marvel at the precision of skilled pilots, enjoy formation flying, and get up close and personal with historic warbirds. The daily airshows are the heart of the event, and you won't want to miss the thunderous roar of jet engines, the graceful ballet of wingwalkers, or the heart-pounding maneuvers of aerobatic performers.

Get Up Close and Personal: Aircraft Exhibits

The airshow isn't just about watching from the sidelines; it's also an opportunity to get hands-on with aviation. Stroll through the aircraft exhibits, where you can explore a wide range of planes and helicopters up close.

You'll have the chance to chat with pilots and aircraft enthusiasts, and maybe even climb into the cockpit of your dream plane. Whether you're interested in experimental aircraft, vintage warbirds, or modern jets, the aircraft exhibits offer an immersive experience for aviation fans.

Beyond the Runway: Workshops and Fun Activities

Sun 'n Fun isn't all about the sky and aircraft displays; it offers an array of fun activities and workshops for visitors of all ages. Engage in hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities, where you can learn about the science of flight and even build your own model aircraft.

For the little ones, there are interactive and educational programs designed to spark their interest in aviation. Additionally, you'll find a variety of food vendors, live music, and a bustling marketplace for aviation-themed souvenirs.

Tips for a Smooth Sun 'n Fun Experience

To make the most of your visit to Sun 'n Fun, here are some useful tips. First, check the schedule in advance, as there are different airshows and events each day. Dress comfortably, wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated, as Florida's sun can be intense.

Consider bringing binoculars to get a closer look at the action in the sky. And lastly, arrive early to secure a good viewing spot, especially if you want to see the aerial performances up close.

The Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo is an exhilarating experience for aviation enthusiasts and families alike. It offers a captivating mix of aerial displays, hands-on experiences, and educational opportunities.

Whether you're a seasoned pilot or just curious about aviation, this airshow is your ticket to soaring to new heights of excitement.

Sun 'N Fun
USA, America, United States

Upper and Lower Falls

As you stand on the canyon's rim, your gaze is met with awe-inspiring vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see.

The Lower Falls and the Upper Falls, two thunderous waterfalls within the canyon, punctuate the landscape with their cascading beauty.

The view from Artist Point, a renowned overlook, offers a panoramic vista of the canyon's dramatic features, the river's serpentine course, and the verdant forests that surround this natural spectacle.

The Lower Falls in Yellowstone National Park is a magnificent waterfall that plunges dramatically into the depths of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

With its roaring cascade of water, the Lower Falls creates a mesmerizing spectacle, surrounded by the canyon's colorful walls and lush vegetation.

The Upper Falls in Yellowstone National Park is another striking waterfall that adds to the park's natural allure.

With a height of approximately 109 feet (33 meters), the Upper Falls showcases a powerful descent of water as it rushes over the edge and into the chasm of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

The falls create a dynamic contrast with the surrounding rock formations and lush greenery, offering visitors a captivating view and a sense of the sheer force of nature.

The mist and spray created by the waterfall contribute to the ethereal atmosphere, making the Upper Falls a must-see attraction within the park.

There are several amazing viewpoints to get a good look at the canyon!

Remember to take a few minutes and just take in the sights. Set down your phone/camera and just look!

You will not be disappointed.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Iceland

Rich history

The city's name translates to "Smoky Bay," which is derived from the steam rising from the numerous hot springs in the area.

Reykjavik is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, including volcanic mountains, geothermal springs, and the vast Atlantic Ocean, giving visitors a constant reminder of Iceland's geological wonders.

Reykjavik Maritime Museum

I love a good museum, and this one offers a fascinating insight into Iceland's maritime history and its close dependency with the surrounding seas.

Housed in a historic fish freezing plant, the museum showcases a diverse array of exhibits and artifacts, including ancient fishing equipment, traditional boats, navigational instruments, and engaging multimedia displays.

Visitors are immersed in the maritime world, learning about Iceland's seafaring heritage, the development of its fishing industry, and the challenges faced by fishermen throughout the ages.

With informative and interactive exhibits, the Reykjavik Maritime Museum provides an educational and enjoyable experience for both locals and tourists, fostering a deeper appreciation for Iceland's maritime traditions and the vital role the sea has played in shaping the nation's identity.

Explore the city

Reykjavik's cityscape is a blend of modern architecture and colorful, quaint buildings.

The iconic Hallgrímskirkja, a striking Lutheran church with its distinct expressionist design, stands tall as one of the city's most recognizable landmarks.

Be sure to allow time to walk around the city!

Walking is a different experience compared to driving. You're moving at a slower pace so you can absorb the scenery a bit more.

The city's proximity to stunning natural wonders makes it an ideal base for exploring Iceland's breathtaking landscapes.

Popular day trips from Reykjavik include visiting the Blue Lagoon, the Golden Circle route featuring Geysir and Gullfoss, and the picturesque Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Reykjavik
Iceland

Whale Watching Extravaganza

Often referred to as the "Whale Watching Capital of Europe," this quaint fishing village has evolved into a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a unique and authentic Icelandic experience.

One of Húsavik's most notable attractions is undoubtedly its exceptional whale-watching opportunities.

The chilly waters of Skjálfandi Bay serve as the feeding ground for numerous whale species, including humpback whales, minke whales, and even the majestic blue whale—the largest animal on Earth.

Local tour operators provide guided boat trips, offering an up-close encounter with these gentle giants amidst a breathtaking backdrop of rugged mountains and stunning fjords.

The experience is a true marvel of nature and one you'll cherish for a lifetime.

Charming maritime heritage

Húsavik's rich maritime heritage is evident as you stroll through the town's colorful streets.

The town was historically a fishing village, and remnants of its seafaring past are visible in the charming wooden houses, a picturesque harbor, and the interesting Maritime Museum.

The museum houses a diverse collection of exhibits detailing the town's deep-rooted connection to the sea, showcasing old fishing boats, navigational instruments, and tales of heroic Icelandic fishermen.

Húsavik whale museum

For those who want to delve deeper into the world of whales, the Húsavik Whale Museum is a fascinating place to visit.

This renowned museum provides a comprehensive insight into the biology and behavior of whales, featuring life-size replicas, interactive displays, and informative exhibits.

It's an educational experience that offers a newfound appreciation for these incredible creatures and the importance of their conservation.

Cultural experiences

For culture seekers, Húsavik offers plenty of options to dive into Iceland's artistic and musical traditions.

The town hosts several annual festivals, celebrating everything from music and film to local food and crafts.

Be sure to catch a performance at the charming wooden church, which is also one of the town's iconic landmarks.

Include Húsavik on your Icelandic adventure

Húsavik is a true Icelandic gem, offering an unforgettable journey into the heart of nature and culture.

From the mesmerizing whale-watching excursions to the rich maritime history and breathtaking landscapes, this charming town has something for everyone.

So, whether you're an avid wildlife enthusiast, a culture buff, or simply seeking a serene escape, Húsavik promises an adventure like no other.

Plan your trip to this picturesque fishing village and immerse yourself in the wonders of Iceland's northern beauty.

Húsavik
Located on the southeastern coast of Iceland encompasses the beauty and serene charm that makes Iceland so unique.
Iceland

Driving to Djúpivogur is an experience that takes you through some of Iceland's most picturesque landscapes.

Your drive to Djúpivogur might start from various locations, such as Reykjavik or Höfn.

As you leave the urban areas behind, you'll quickly find yourself surrounded by expansive landscapes that showcase Iceland's untamed beauty.

As you make your way towards Djúpivogur, you'll encounter stunning fjords and winding coastal roads.

The road hugs the shoreline in places, giving you glimpses of the North Atlantic Ocean crashing against rugged cliffs.

The play of light and shadow on the water's surface creates an ever-changing, mesmerizing spectacle.

Be sure to stop along the way and take in the views! 

The drive is beautiful
Breathtaking Búlandstindur Mountain:

One of the highlights of the drive is encountering the majestic Búlandstindur Mountain.

As you approach Djúpivogur, the towering peak dominates the horizon, capturing your attention with its sheer size and grandeur.

The road provides opportunities to pull over and capture photographs that barely do justice to the awe-inspiring presence of this natural wonder.

Isolation and serenity

What truly sets the drive to Djúpivogur apart is the sense of isolation and tranquility that surrounds you.

The road may lead you through stretches of untouched wilderness, where the only sounds are the wind and the occasional bird call.

Changing weather

Iceland's weather is known for its unpredictability, and this adds an element of adventure to your drive.

One moment you might be driving under clear blue skies, and the next you could find yourself in the midst of a sudden rain shower or mist rolling in from the sea.

Djúpivogur

One of its most iconic features is the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, an exhilarating suspension bridge that spans an 80-foot chasm. This bridge offers visitors an awe-inspiring opportunity to walk among the clouds, providing unrivaled views of the surrounding mountain peaks, the rugged landscape, and the endless expanse of wilderness.

If you're afraid of heights, this bridge is the perfect opportunity for you to get a heart-pounding experience that provides a unique perspective on the world below.

Exploring the Mountain's Majesty: What to Do on Grandfather

Grandfather Mountain is a haven for outdoor activities and nature exploration. The vast network of hiking trails caters to all levels of hikers, from easy strolls to challenging treks.

If you want a panoramic reward for their efforts, the hike to Calloway Peak, the highest point on the mountain, is a must.

Wildlife enthusiasts can spot native creatures like black bears, white-tailed deer, and Peregrine falcons, making it a prime destination for animal lovers and photographers. The mountain also offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the diversity of its flora, with a wide array of plant species, including rare and endangered ones.

Picnic areas and interpretive programs add to the charm of Grandfather Mountain, making it a place for everyone to enjoy.

Cultural Insights and Attractions: The Grandfather Experience

Grandfather Mountain extends beyond its natural wonders, with cultural attractions that deepen the visitor experience. The nature museum on the mountain provides insight into the local ecology, and the conservation center focuses on wildlife protection efforts.

For those interested in local heritage, the attraction pays homage to the mountain's namesake, Hugh Morton, through displays of his photography and impact on the area. The mountain also hosts annual events, such as the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, celebrating Scottish culture with events like the caber toss and Highland dancing.

Whether you're drawn to the natural wonders or the cultural heritage of the region, Grandfather Mountain offers an enriching experience.

A Relaxing Retreat Amidst Nature's Grandeur

Grandfather Mountain isn't just about adventure and exploration; it also provides a peaceful retreat for those seeking relaxation and solitude. With its serene forests, picturesque picnic areas, and well-maintained trails, it's an ideal place to find solace in the beauty of nature.

The mountain's peaceful ambiance makes it perfect for a leisurely walk, quiet contemplation, or simply taking in the fresh mountain air. Whether you're looking to hike to the highest peak or simply relax in a tranquil forest glen, Grandfather Mountain has something to offer every visitor.

Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina is a marvel of nature and a destination that caters to outdoor enthusiasts, cultural aficionados, and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

Whether you're daring to cross the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, exploring the trails, or immersing yourself in the region's history and culture, Grandfather Mountain provides a memorable experience in the heart of the High Country.

So, pack your hiking gear and embark on an unforgettable journey through this North Carolina gem.

Grandfather Mountain
Germany

The Old Town

Rothenburg's old town is a living museum, a place where history comes to life.

The well-preserved medieval architecture is nothing short of a masterpiece. Stroll along the town walls, visit the imposing Markusturm, and admire the intricate carvings on the buildings.

Each corner holds a new discovery, from the charming Plönlein square to the iconic Siebers Tower.

The Medieval Crime and Justice Museum

For a taste of the darker side of history, the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum offers a fascinating experience.

Explore the exhibits on medieval law, crime, and punishment, and step into a world where justice was often swift and harsh.

The extensive collection of artifacts and interactive displays provide a unique perspective on medieval life.

Das Plönlein

Of course, you have to get your picture at the picturesque and iconic square. It is known for its charming, fairy-tale-like appearance, characterized by a distinctive half-timbered house, flanked by two towers, that stand at a slight angle to each other.

This idyllic scene, often featured in postcards and photographs, captures the essence of Rothenburg's medieval charm.

When you stand in this little spot, it's like you're peeking into a different time period.

Schneeballen

In Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a charming medieval town in Germany, "snowballs" refer to a delightful local treat rather than an actual snowy activity. These confections are also known as "Schneeballen" in German.

Schneeballen are round, pastry-like desserts made from strips of shortcrust pastry dough that are twisted together, creating a spherical shape resembling a snowball. They are then deep-fried to a golden brown and dusted with powdered sugar. The result is a delightful combination of crispy layers on the outside and a tender, flaky interior.

Rothenburg is particularly renowned for its Schneeballen, and you'll find a variety of flavors and toppings to choose from, ranging from classic powdered sugar to chocolate drizzle, nuts, and even fruity glazes.

They make for a delicious and popular souvenir for visitors exploring the picturesque streets of Rothenburg.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Austria

Exploring the Austrian Alpine Wonderland

The Austrian Alps, a breathtaking paradise of towering peaks and lush meadows, have captivated travelers for generations.

A Symphony of Seasons: Weather in the Austrian Alps

Before embarking on your Austrian Alpine adventure, it's essential to understand the region's weather patterns. The Alps experience a four-season climate, and the weather can be quite variable.

Winters are a wonderland of snow, making it a mecca for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts.

Spring offers the opportunity for budding wildflowers and hiking amid vibrant greenery.

Summers are pleasantly warm and perfect for outdoor activities, while autumn paints the landscape with the golden hues of foliage. It's wise to check the weather forecast and pack accordingly, with layers to adapt to the shifting conditions and keep you comfortable as you explore.

A Wealth of Activities: What to Do in the Austrian Alps

The Austrian Alps are an adventurer's dream. Whether you're a seasoned hiker, a skiing aficionado, or simply a nature lover, there's something for everyone.

Hiking trails crisscross the region, from easy strolls to challenging multi-day treks, offering stunning vistas at every turn. Winter enthusiasts can indulge in world-class skiing in towns like Kitzbühel and St. Anton.

For a cultural experience, consider visiting Salzburg, home to the renowned von Trapp family, whose life inspired "The Sound of Music." You can explore the city's musical heritage, as well as the beautiful landscapes featured in the iconic film.

Don't forget to savor traditional Austrian cuisine at mountain chalets and local restaurants, such as hearty schnitzels, apple strudel, and delightful Alpine cheeses.

The Sound of Music and Other Fascinating Insights

The Austrian Alps hold a special place in the heart of music enthusiasts. The classic movie "The Sound of Music" was filmed in various locations across the region, immortalizing its beauty.

You can take "Sound of Music" tours to relive the iconic moments from the film.

Lastly, be sure to visit quaint alpine villages like Hallstatt, famous for its picturesque lakeside setting and charming architecture. It's a place where time seems to stand still, and the serene beauty of the Alps will leave you in awe.

The Austrian Alps are a true gem of Europe, offering a diverse range of experiences throughout the year.

From exploring enchanting villages to skiing down pristine slopes and reveling in musical history, the Alps are a destination that will undoubtedly leave a beautiful mark on your heart.

So, pack your bags, and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty and culture of the Austrian Alps.

Austrian Alps
Ireland

One of the city's most iconic attractions is Trinity College, home to the famous Book of Kells, a beautifully illuminated manuscript dating back to the 9th century.

You can also explore Dublin Castle, which has witnessed centuries of political and cultural changes.

A Multifaceted Urban Tapestry

Dublin's neighborhoods offer an enticing array of experiences. The Temple Bar district is a hub of creativity, with its lively atmosphere, colorful buildings, and numerous art galleries and studios.

For those interested in shopping, Grafton Street is a bustling retail paradise, lined with boutique shops, street performers, and cozy cafes.

Don't forget to explore the historic streets of the Liberties, where you can delve into Dublin's distilling heritage with a visit to the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, the city's first new distillery in over a century.

The grandeur of Georgian Dublin can be observed in Merrion Square, where you can tour the preserved home of Oscar Wilde and revel in the area's architectural elegance.

The Warmth of Dublin's Welcome: Irish Hospitality and Cuisine

Irish hospitality is renowned, and Dublin is no exception. The city is dotted with traditional pubs where you can enjoy live music, a friendly atmosphere, and a pint of Guinness.

For a true Dublin experience, visit the famous Guinness Storehouse, where you can learn about the beer's history and enjoy a pint at the Gravity Bar with panoramic views of the city.

As for cuisine, Dublin has evolved into a foodie destination with a variety of culinary experiences. Taste traditional Irish dishes like hearty stews and soda bread, or explore Dublin's diverse international cuisine scene.

The Temple Bar Food Market is a must-visit for sampling local produce and artisanal goods, while Michelin-starred restaurants like Chapter One showcase the city's culinary excellence.

Whether you're fascinated by ancient manuscripts, vibrant urban life, or the welcoming Irish spirit, Dublin has something to offer every traveler.

Dublin
America, United States, USA

Situated within Kenai Fjords National Park, it stands as one of the most accessible glaciers in the state, drawing tourists and nature enthusiasts alike to witness its grandeur.

It's about an hour drive from Seward, AK making it a pretty easy day trip if you're staying in the fishing town for a couple of nights.

This glacier also makes a great stop on your way to Soldotna, AK.

The glacier derives its name from its historical significance as a common exit for travelers navigating the Harding Icefield, a colossal ice plateau in the Kenai Mountains.

Notable for its impressive size and stunning icy-blue appearance, Exit Glacier is a dynamic feature, constantly moving and shaping the landscape around it.

This glacier flows as a "toe" or terminus glacier from the Harding Icefield down into the valley below, creating a striking visual contrast between the gleaming ice and the lush greenery of the surrounding landscape.

Visitors to Exit Glacier have the opportunity to engage in various activities, including hiking and guided tours.

There are well-maintained trails leading to viewpoints from where one can observe the glacier's ever-changing face.

Depending on the desired intensity of the hike, options range from the moderate trek to Marmot Meadows or the more challenging journey to the Top of the Cliffs.

For the adventurous souls seeking an immersive experience, the full 4.1-mile hike to the glacier's end offers an exhilarating adventure with over 3500 feet of elevation gain, requiring 6-8 hours to complete round trip.

It is one of the most visited attractions within Kenai Fjords National Park, drawing thousands of visitors annually.

Exit Glacier
Australia

World-class waves

Surfer's Paradise, located on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia, is a vibrant coastal hub renowned for its golden beaches, the waves, and lively atmosphere. It offers a perfect blend of sun-soaked sands, bustling nightlife, and a laid-back surf culture that attracts surfers and travelers from around the globe.

Easily accessible

The tram system in Surfer's Paradise is called the "G:link."

It's a light rail network that connects various locations along the Gold Coast, including Surfer's Paradise, making it a convenient mode of transportation for both locals and tourists to explore the area's attractions, beaches, and urban centers.

If you're staying in the area for an extended period of time, I recommend you purchase a card to make your transportation more convenient.

Getting a G:link card for the tram at Surfer's Paradise is a simple process and allows you to "tap on, tap off" quickly.

Shopping scene

Visit Q1 Building

An architectural icon towering over Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast of Australia, the Q1 Building stands as a testament to modern engineering and design.

Soaring 322.5 meters (1,058 feet) into the sky, it ranks among the tallest residential buildings globally.

Shopping Scene

With its sleek glass facade and distinctive design, including a tapered shape reminiscent of a sleek ocean liner, the Q1 Building dominates the city skyline. The picture here is taken from the Q1!

Its observation deck, known as the SkyPoint Observation Deck, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Gold Coast's coastline, the Pacific Ocean, and the hinterland, making it a must-visit attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Beyond its impressive height, the Q1 Building houses luxurious residential apartments, retail spaces, and amenities, encapsulating the essence of modern urban living amidst the beauty of the Gold Coast's natural surroundings.

Restaurants

There are so many food options here! From trendy beachfront cafés serving freshly brewed coffee and brunch delights to vibrant international eateries dishing out flavors from around the world, visitors can savor everything from seafood feasts to gourmet burgers, authentic Asian cuisine to sumptuous desserts.

Shopping scene

Shopping in Surfer's Paradise is an eclectic and exciting experience, offering a diverse array of options to cater to every taste and style.

From bustling shopping malls to open-air markets, the area boasts a mix of high-end boutiques, trendy fashion stores, souvenir shops, and unique artisanal offerings.

Whether you're strolling along the beachfront promenade or exploring the labyrinthine alleys, you'll discover everything from fashionable apparel to local crafts, making shopping in Surfer's Paradise a true delight for both fashion enthusiasts and souvenir hunters alike.

Surfer's Paradise

Fall transforms the landscape with a burst of colors, perfect for exploring scenic trails. Winters bring a serene atmosphere, making it suitable for crisp forest hikes.

As spring arrives, vibrant blooms and mild weather invite birdwatchers and wildflower enthusiasts. Sauratown Mountain Range promises a full spectrum of seasonal beauty for visitors to enjoy.

Things to Do on Sauratown Mountain

The Sauratown Mountain Range offers an abundance of outdoor activities for a wide range of interests.

Hikers and rock climbers will discover numerous trails and climbing opportunities, catering to both beginners and experienced adventurers. The Sauratown Trail, a 25-mile loop, meanders through lush forests, offering breathtaking summit views.

The Dan River is a haven for fishing enthusiasts, boasting prime spots for trout and bass. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the region's diverse avian species, from songbirds to raptors. Spring unveils a breathtaking display of wildflowers, attracting photography enthusiasts.

Exploring History and Local Attractions

Sauratown Mountain Range isn't just about outdoor adventures; it's also steeped in history and local charm.

Discover Sauratown's Native American historical sites, which add a cultural layer to the region. Pilot Mountain State Park, nestled within the range, offers outstanding opportunities for rock climbing and hiking. Its iconic peak serves as a prominent regional landmark.

Explore the quaint town of Pilot Mountain, home to charming shops, eateries, and a welcoming community. Find the Sauratown Trail Maps here, an invaluable resource for trail exploration and insights into the local flora and fauna.

Sauratown Mountain Range
Guess what's awesome about making the Grand Place in Brussels your base? Lots of great food, coffee, amazing architecture and you can easily catch a train and check out amazing cities like Bruges, Antwerp, and Ghent! And if you're into guided tours, they've got those right from the square, so you can have some pretty neat adventures nearby.
Belgium

Belgian waffles are not just a treat for the palate; they're a cultural icon synonymous with indulgence and joy. As you stroll through Grand Place, you'll encounter a myriad of waffle stands and cafes, each offering their own unique twist on this beloved delicacy.

The Art of Waffle Making

Watch as skilled artisans pour batter onto hot irons, transforming simple ingredients into golden, crispy waffles. The scent of caramelized sugar fills the air, enticing passersby to indulge in this timeless classic.

Toppings Galore

From traditional toppings like powdered sugar and whipped cream to more adventurous options like fresh fruit, chocolate sauce, and even savory ingredients like cheese and bacon, the possibilities are endless. Whether you prefer your waffle simple and elegant or piled high with decadent delights, there's a combination to suit every palate.

A Culinary Adventure

Sampling Belgian waffles in Grand Place is more than just a culinary experience; it's a journey into the heart and soul of Belgian culture. Take a moment to savor each bite, allowing the sweet flavors to dance across your taste buds and transport you to a state of pure bliss.

Tips for Waffle Lovers

  • Timing: Visit Grand Place in the morning for the freshest waffles, straight off the iron.
  • Exploration: Don't limit yourself to the first waffle stand you see – wander through the square and discover hidden gems tucked away in charming alleyways.
  • Sharing: Belgian waffles are best enjoyed with friends and loved ones, so don't be afraid to order a few extras and spread the joy.

Indulge in Sweet Bliss: Exploring the Chocolate Shops of Grand Place, Brussels

Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, is renowned for many things – its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture. But perhaps nothing captures the essence of Belgian indulgence quite like its world-famous chocolate. And where better to experience the epitome of chocolate heaven than in the heart of Brussels' historic center, the Grand Place? Join me as we embark on a delectable journey through the chocolate shops that grace this UNESCO World Heritage site.

A Taste of Tradition: The Chocolate Heritage of Grand Place

Belgium's love affair with chocolate dates back centuries, and the Grand Place serves as a living testament to this cherished tradition. Nestled amidst the ornate guildhalls and cobblestone streets are a plethora of chocolatiers, each offering a tantalizing array of handcrafted delights.

Exploring the Chocolate Delights of Grand Place

1. Pierre Marcolini:

Step into the world of luxury chocolate at Pierre Marcolini, where innovation meets tradition. Renowned for his exquisite creations and meticulous attention to detail, Marcolini's chocolates are a true indulgence for the senses. From velvety pralines to delicate ganaches, every bite is a symphony of flavor and texture.

2. Neuhaus:

As one of Belgium's oldest chocolate houses, Neuhaus has been delighting chocolate lovers since 1857. Their flagship store in Grand Place offers a treasure trove of iconic treats, including the praline, invented by Neuhaus himself. Be sure to sample their signature ballotins and truffles for a taste of Belgian chocolate at its finest.

3. Godiva:

No discussion of Belgian chocolate would be complete without mentioning Godiva. With its rich heritage and global reputation, Godiva's Grand Place boutique is a must-visit for chocolate connoisseurs. Indulge in their decadent truffles, exquisite pralines, and luxurious chocolate bars, all crafted with the finest ingredients and time-honored techniques.

Beyond Chocolate: Experiencing Grand Place

While the allure of chocolate may be irresistible, Grand Place offers much more than just sweet treats. Take some time to soak in the beauty of this historic square, with its opulent guildhalls, majestic Town Hall, and dazzling flower carpet (seasonal). Lose yourself in the maze of narrow streets and alleyways, where hidden gems and architectural wonders await around every corner.

Tips for Your Chocolate Adventure

  • Sampling: Don't be afraid to ask for samples – many chocolatiers are more than happy to let you taste before you buy.
  • Gift Ideas: Chocolate makes the perfect souvenir or gift for loved ones back home. Look for beautifully packaged assortments or personalized creations to take home with you.
  • Guided Tours: Consider joining a chocolate-themed walking tour of Grand Place to learn more about the history and culture of Belgian chocolate while sampling some of the best offerings in the city.

The chocolate shops of Grand Place offer a glimpse into the rich and decadent world of Belgian chocolate. Whether you're a devoted chocoholic or simply curious to experience a taste of local culture, a visit to these iconic establishments is sure to leave you craving more. So, indulge your senses, savor each moment, and let the magic of Belgian chocolate transport you to sweet bliss.

Grand-Place of Brussels
Germany

Visit the Marienplatz and the Glockenspiel

Marienplatz, the city's central square, is a vibrant hub of activity. Witness the Glockenspiel's animated figures reenacting historical events, a whimsical display that captures the essence of Munich's past.

Surrounding the square, the New Town Hall and Old Town Hall stand as architectural marvels.

As part of your Munich journey, visit the Nymphenburg Palace, a Baroque masterpiece surrounded by sprawling gardens.

Once the summer residence of Bavarian royalty, its opulent rooms and tranquil parklands offer a glimpse into a bygone era of splendor and extravagance.

Munich, with its central location in the heart of Bavaria, serves as an ideal home base for exploring all corners of Germany.

Its strategic position at the crossroads of major transportation routes makes it incredibly convenient for day trips and extended journeys to surrounding regions.

If you didn't rent a car, don't worry!

From Munich, you can book day tours to other nearby cities and can easily venture into the picturesque landscapes of the Bavarian Alps, delve into the fairytale charm of southern Germany's castles, or embark on cultural expeditions to cities like Nuremberg and Augsburg.

Additionally, Munich's well-connected airport provides seamless access to both domestic and international destinations, making it an excellent starting point for further European exploration.

With its excellent transport infrastructure and proximity to Germany's diverse attractions, Munich offers travelers the perfect hub for a comprehensive German adventure.

Münich
Italy

Architecture

Situated in the heart of the picturesque region of Tuscany, Florence is renowned as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, a period of great cultural and artistic achievements in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Florence boasts an architectural landscape that mirrors its cultural significance.

The Florence Cathedral, also known as the Duomo, with its iconic red dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, dominates the city's skyline.

The Uffizi Gallery, originally built as government offices, is now a world-renowned museum that houses an unparalleled collection of Renaissance masterpieces.

The city's art-rich churches, such as Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce, showcase exquisite frescoes and sculptures that transport visitors to another time.

While you're here, take a few minutes to just observe the city. Look at the buildings, the people, the shops and just watch and listen.

Culinary delights

Be sure to arrive to this city hungry. The food is amazing!

You are also never far away from a gelato shop no matter where you are at in the city. There's one on practically every street corner!

Photo ops are everywhere

The Ponte Vecchio, or "Old Bridge," is a remarkable and iconic landmark in Florence, Italy, renowned for its historical significance and unique architectural charm.

Spanning the Arno River, this ancient bridge is characterized by its distinctive design, featuring a series of arches that connect its two sides. What makes this bridge truly special is the collection of shops that line its edges.

These shops, historically occupied by butchers and fishmongers, have since evolved to house a variety of jewelry stores, art galleries, and souvenir shops.

Stepping into Florence is like stepping into history itself, where every corner reveals a new layer of the city's storied past.

As you explore its streets, museums, and piazzas, you'll find yourself swept away by the beauty and magic of a place that continues to inspire and captivate all who visit.

I visited this city with some of my best friends which made my experience in Florence absolutely perfect.

Florence
Fairbanks, Alaska, a remote northern city surrounded by pristine wilderness, the enchanting Northern Lights, and a rich gold rush history.

One of the most captivating natural phenomena to grace Fairbanks' skies is the enchanting Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.

During the winter months, when the nights are long and dark, the city becomes an ideal spot to witness this celestial spectacle.

Travelers flock to Fairbanks in the hope of catching a glimpse of the shimmering lights dancing across the horizon, leaving them in awe of nature's grandeur.

Go World Travel Magazine has listed Fairbanks among the top 10 places to see the Northern Lights.

Gateway to the Arctic

Fairbanks is often referred to as the "Gateway to the Arctic" due to its prime location in the central part of the state.

It serves as a launchpad for those seeking to venture into the Alaskan wilderness, including the Arctic Circle, Denali National Park, and the vast expanse of the Arctic tundra.

The Northern Lights capital
Where to stay

This positioning has made Fairbanks a vital hub for exploration and research, attracting scientists, researchers, and adventurers from around the world.

Fairbanks has plenty of options for where to stay. You can stay at a local hotel in the city or find a cozy cabin through VRBO or AirBNB.

A pioneer's past

Fairbanks has a rich history deeply intertwined with the Gold Rush era.

Established in the early 1900s, the city thrived as thousands of hopeful prospectors arrived in search of gold.

Today, you can relive this period by visiting historic sites like Gold Dredge 8 and the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, art, and exhibits that shed light on the region's fascinating past.

From the otherworldly display of the Northern Lights to the rich history of the Gold Rush era, Fairbanks offers an abundance of attractions for adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and history buffs alike.

So, whether you seek a brush with the Arctic wilderness or a taste of authentic Alaskan culture, Fairbanks is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories that last a lifetime.

Fairbanks

This remarkable museum offers a fascinating journey through the rich heritage of the Württemberg region and beyond. In this blog post, we'll take you through the highlights of this cultural gem and share some insights on what to expect during your visit.

A Glimpse into Württemberg's Past

Stepping into the Württemberg State Museum feels like stepping back in time. The first section of the museum, dedicated to the history of Württemberg, provides a captivating insight into the region's past.

From ancient artifacts to medieval relics, you'll find yourself immersed in the stories and traditions that have shaped the local culture. The displays are thoughtfully curated, making it easy to appreciate the significance of each artifact.

Art lovers won't be disappointed when they reach the art section of the museum. The Württemberg State Museum houses a splendid collection of European art from various periods.

Whether you're a fan of Baroque, Renaissance, or contemporary art, you'll find masterpieces that cater to your taste. Don't forget to check out the paintings by famous artists like Rubens and Cranach, and be sure to explore the impressive collection of sculptures, too.

Dive into Archaeology and Ethnology

To complete your journey through this multifaceted museum, don't miss the archaeology and ethnology sections. These parts of the museum provide a deeper understanding of cultures worldwide.

You'll encounter ancient Egyptian artifacts, cultural exhibits from Asia, and captivating insights into the lives of indigenous peoples.

The Württemberg State Museum in Stuttgart is a treasure trove for history buffs, art aficionados, and anyone with a curiosity about the world's cultures. Its rich and diverse collection offers an engaging and educational experience that's both enlightening and enjoyable.

So, if you're in Stuttgart, make sure to set aside some time to explore this extraordinary museum and immerse yourself in the captivating tales of the past.

Württemberg State Museum

Yep, that's right! Niagara Falls comprises three distinct waterfalls: the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls.

Each of these waterfalls contributes to the awe-inspiring spectacle that draws millions of visitors annually.

The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls are located entirely within New York, United States, separated by Luna Island, while the Horseshoe Falls straddles the border between the United States and Canada.

The Horseshoe Falls, named for its distinctive horseshoe-shaped crest, is the most powerful of the three, accounting for approximately 90% of the total water flow of the Niagara River.

Conversely, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls are narrower and slightly shorter but still impressive in their own right.

Together, these three waterfalls create a mesmerizing display of natural beauty and power, making Niagara Falls a truly iconic destination revered around the world.

Niagara Falls 3 Waterfalls
Is Niagara Falls a 7 wonder of the world?
What is the height of Niagara Falls?

The height of Niagara Falls varies depending on which part of the falls you're referring to.

Horseshoe Falls (Canadian Falls): As the tallest and most iconic of the three falls that collectively make up Niagara Falls, Horseshoe Falls is a stunning sight to behold. Named for its distinctive horseshoe-shaped crest, this majestic waterfall plunges approximately 167 feet (51 meters) into the Niagara River below.

Its immense volume of water, combined with the powerful force of gravity, creates a mesmerizing cascade that draws millions of visitors each year.

I have not seen this waterfall from the Canadian side, only from the United States side, but I cannot wait until I can see this natural wonder again!

American Falls: Located adjacent to Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls is another impressive feature of Niagara Falls. Though slightly shorter than its Canadian counterpart, it still stands at an impressive height of approximately 70-100 feet (21-30 meters).

The American Falls is characterized by its broad curtain of water that crashes dramatically onto the rocks below, sending mist and spray into the air.

Bridal Veil Falls: The smallest of the three falls, Bridal Veil Falls is no less enchanting. Standing at approximately 56 feet (17 meters) tall, this cascade is known for its delicate appearance, resembling a bridal veil as it descends into the Niagara River.

Despite its smaller stature, Bridal Veil Falls exudes its own sense of beauty and grace. You can admire this  waterfall from various vantage points, including observation decks and boat tours, marveling at its elegance amidst the grandeur of Niagara Falls.

No, it is not. Niagara Falls is indeed a breathtaking natural wonder, but it's not officially recognized as one of the 7Wonders of the World.

However, it's often considered one of the most awe-inspiring and iconic natural landmarks on Earth.

Its sheer volume of water, majestic beauty, and the thunderous roar of the falls make it a must-visit destination for travelers from around the globe. While it may not hold the formal title of one of the 7 Wonders, its splendor certainly places it among the world's most impressive natural phenomena.

It is truly an amazing experience to witness the sheer force and beauty of the falls up close.

Niagara Falls Cool Facts
USA, America, United States

Where to spot the lights

This enchanting display of lights occurs primarily in high-latitude regions near the Earth's magnetic poles, creating a breathtaking dance of colorful and luminous patterns across the dark canvas of the night.

The Northern Lights are caused by interactions between charged particles from the sun, known as solar wind, and the Earth's magnetic field.

When these charged particles collide with atoms and molecules in the Earth's atmosphere, they release energy in the form of light, producing the vibrant colors that characterize the Aurora Borealis.

The best places to witness the Northern Lights include high-latitude regions such as northern Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, and certain parts of Russia.

They can occasionally be seen at lower latitudes during periods of heightened solar activity.

The different colors

The colors of the Northern Lights vary and can include shades of green, pink, red, purple, and even blue.

The specific colors depend on the type of gas particles being excited by the charged particles and their altitude in the atmosphere.

Green is the most common color and is usually produced by oxygen molecules at lower altitudes, while red and purple hues are generated at higher altitudes.

Captivating

The experience of witnessing the Northern Lights is a profound and unforgettable one, often leaving observers in awe of the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

To fully appreciate the Northern Lights, seek out locations away from light pollution.

Remote areas with clear skies offer the best chances for an unobstructed view.

National parks and rural landscapes often provide the perfect backdrop for this celestial spectacle.

Seeing the Northern Lights requires patience and sacrificing a little sleep.

Even if you plan your trip during optimal conditions, the lights are a natural phenomenon, and their appearance can't be guaranteed.

Be prepared to spend several nights outside waiting for the lights to make their appearance.

One of my favorite experiences with my dad and several of my siblings was seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska on my birthday!

It was incredible, and I can't wait to go again.

Northern Lights
Mexico

A walk through time

Campeche's historic center is a treasure trove of well-preserved colonial architecture that evokes the city's storied past.

Cobblestone streets wind their way past pastel-hued buildings adorned with intricate balconies and ornate facades.

The city's fortified walls, once a defense against marauding pirates, now stand as a testament to its resilience and history.

The Puerta de Tierra gate, with its drawbridge and imposing presence, invites you to step back in time and imagine the maritime city of centuries past.

The city is renowned for its picturesque historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, characterized by colorful pastel-hued buildings and cobblestone streets.

A walk through time

Be sure to take a walk in the mornings before the city gets busy. It's beautiful!

Beyond the city

Campeche's allure extends beyond its streets. The nearby Edzná archaeological site takes you on a voyage through ancient Maya history, with its impressive pyramids and plazas.

Enjoying the food

Campeche's culinary scene is a celebration of local flavors and influences.

Seafood takes center stage, with dishes like pescado tikin xic (grilled fish marinated in achiote) showcasing the city's coastal bounty.

Quaint cafés and street-side vendors offer a chance to savor regional delicacies, providing a sensory journey through Campeche's culinary heritage.

If you like to eat outdoors, you've got lots of options here.

The outdoor restaurant scene in Campeche is a delightful and captivating experience that seamlessly blends the city's colonial charm with its coastal allure.

Beyond the culinary offerings, the restaurants in Campeche are also characterized by warm and welcoming hospitality.

Whether it's a leisurely breakfast, a relaxed lunch, or getting a coffee, the outdoor restaurant scene in Campeche offers a chance to create cherished memories against a backdrop of history and beauty.

Campeche
New Zealand

360 beauty

As the highest peak in New Zealand, Aoraki Mount Cook is not only a climber's dream but also a symbol of the nation's rugged beauty and rich cultural history.

Nestled within the Southern Alps, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park offers an awe-inspiring natural playground for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike.

The region has an exceptional display of glaciers, sparkling alpine lakes, and emerald-green valleys, creating a postcard-perfect panorama that captivates visitors from all corners of the globe.

No matter which direction you're facing, the views are spectacular here.

A Dark Sky Reserve

Aoraki Mount Cook and its surrounding region have been designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve, recognized for its exceptionally low light pollution levels and exceptional stargazing opportunities.

On clear nights, the skies above Mount Cook light up with a dazzling display of stars, making it an ideal location for stargazers.

This area is a beautiful example of that verse in the Bible that talks about how the heavens declare the glory of God.

Visiting this area was definitely one of the highlights of my time in New Zealand.

Staying at a hostel near Mount Cook provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the rugged beauty of the Southern Alps and the surrounding national park.

The breathtaking scenery, including glaciers, alpine lakes, and snow-capped peaks, is just a stone's throw away from the hostel, offering an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts.

If you're able to, I would highly recommend staying a night in this area. Waking up to the views is incredible.

I can't help it. I just love a good national park! It feels so secluded too which adds to the park's charm.

Aoraki Mount Cook
United States, USA, America

The Start of Ice Alaska

Ice Alaska, also known as the World Ice Art Championships, began as a small ice sculpting competition in 1988.

Over the years, it has evolved into a world-renowned event that attracts talented sculptors from every corner of the planet.

Held annually in Fairbanks, Alaska, during the chilly winter months, this celebration of ice art has become a significant cultural and tourist attraction for both locals and tourists alike.

The Ice Art Competition

Teams and individual artists take up chainsaws, chisels, and other specialized tools to transform colossal blocks of ice into stunning works of art.

The competition is divided into several categories, ranging from realistic to abstract sculptures.

I can say from personal experience that visitors are truly left in awe after watch these incredible masterpieces take shape and evolve as the artists perfects his piece of ice.

Cultural showcase

One of the unique aspects of Ice Alaska is its dedication to showcasing various cultures through ice art.

International teams of sculptors bring their heritage and folklore to life in the form of intricate ice sculptures.

Visitors can learn about the rich cultural tapestry of different countries, from the mythologies of Asia to the history of Europe and the indigenous traditions of the Americas.

Watch amazing creativity in action

Ice Alaska is a true testament to the beauty and ingenuity of winter.

It combines artistic excellence, cultural diversity, and environmental responsibility to create a winter wonderland like no other.

I had the best time walking around the show and looking at the little details in the ice sculptures. The artists are so talented as all the cuts looked  perfect.

Whether you are an art enthusiast, a culture buff, or simply someone who loves to embrace the magic of winter, Ice Alaska offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you with cherished memories for a lifetime.

So, plan your trip to this icy paradise, and get ready to immerse yourself in the captivating world of ice art!

Ice Alaska
Bahamas

Under the sea

It's a whole other world just below the surface of the water.

With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, Princess Cays provides an idyllic setting for snorkelers of all levels to immerse themselves in an unforgettable aquatic adventure.

As you venture into the warm and inviting waters, you'll be greeted by an array of marine treasures.

The coral reefs surrounding Princess Cays are teeming with colorful coral formations that provide shelter to a kaleidoscope of tropical fish, including parrotfish, angelfish, and sergeant majors.

I'm not super comfortable in the water so whenever I snorkel, I usually get a little panicky for the first little bit.

If you're like me, just take some deep breaths, and you will work through it! The snorkel experience is so worth it. I've never regretted it!

Rent snorkel gear

Snorkeling gear is readily available for rent on the island, allowing visitors to equip themselves with masks, snorkels, and fins to fully enjoy the marine wonderland below.

Invest in a GoPro

Investing in a GoPro for snorkeling is a decision that can elevate your underwater adventures to a whole new level of excitement and memorability.

The compact and rugged design of GoPro cameras makes them perfect companions for capturing the vibrant and captivating world beneath the surface.

With their exceptional video quality and waterproof capabilities, GoPros allow you to document your snorkeling escapades with stunning clarity, capturing the brilliant colors of marine life and the serene beauty of coral reefs.

Wear sunscreen or swim shirts

If you burn easily, be sure to wear sunscreen. The sun's rays are super strong as you're near the equator so be sure to protect against getting sunburned.

Even though you're underwater, you can still get burnt even though yuo won't realize it in the moment.

Snorkeling at Princess Cays
New Zealand

A scenic introduction

Often referred to as the "Gateway to Fiordland," Te Anau serves as a launching point for adventurers seeking to immerse themselves in the awe-inspiring beauty of this World Heritage-listed area.

As you approach Te Anau, the captivating landscape of the South Island unfolds before you like a painter's masterpiece.

The town's name, Te Anau, translates to "cave of swirling water" in Māori, hinting at the wonders that lie beyond the surface.

With Lake Te Anau stretching out serenely, mirroring the surrounding snow-capped peaks, you'll quickly realize that this is a place of unparalleled beauty.

Te Anau is the gateway to Fiordland National Park, one of New Zealand's most celebrated natural wonders.

Covering almost 3 million acres, this pristine wilderness is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Within the park, you'll find an array of dramatic landscapes, including fiords, lakes, mountains, rainforests, and waterfalls.

Glowworm Caves

Te Anau is also home to the fascinating Te Anau Glowworm Caves.

Embark on an underground boat journey through a labyrinth of limestone caves, adorned with thousands of bioluminescent glowworms.

As you glide silently through the dark, the illuminated ceilings create an otherworldly spectacle, leaving you mesmerized by nature's own light show.

More adventures close by

Two of the most iconic destinations in Fiordland are Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound.

Milford Sound, often hailed as the "eighth wonder of the world," is renowned for its towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and abundant wildlife.

Take a boat cruise through the sound to witness seals basking on rocks and dolphins frolicking in the waters.

Te Anau
Back to top of page