The Natural Wonders Of New Zealand That Will Blow Your Mind

When God created New Zealand, one cannot help but think that he was showing off a little. This relatively small island nation is absolutely packed to bursting with some off the most jaw-dropping scenery you will find anywhere in the world. What is truly amazing is its diversity; with tropical beaches in the North to snowcapped mountain peaks and glaciers in the south New Zealand is like a microcosm for an entire continent.

queenstown

Me in Queenstown, New Zealand

With a population of only 4.5 million people on a landmass the size of the UK (and approximately ten times as many sheep as there are citizens), New Zealand is refreshingly peaceful, quiet, unspoiled and not in the least bit crowded. It’s made up of clean, charming and attractive cities and tranquil pastoral countryside, but as soon as you escape civilization it is a wild and rugged wilderness.

There are way too many stunning locations in New Zealand to list in one article, but here are a few of the most mind-boggling natural wonders that you can discover while exploring New Zealand:

Milford Sound

Located in the southwest of the South Island, this famous tourist site in New Zealand has been called the “8th Wonder of the World” by Rudyard Kipling. The sound spans a distance of 15 km inland from the Tasman Sea and features sheer rock faces all around that rise a staggering 1200 meters or more. There are verdant rain forests clinging to the cliffs and dolphins, seals and penguins have been spotted in the waters. It’s no wonder that this stunning location was used to film some of the scenes of the Argonath in the first Lord of the Rings film.

milford

The Moeraki Boulders

During your New Zealand travels, head to Moeraki Beach on the East Coast of the South Island so that you can see the bizarre natural phenomenon that is the Moeraki boulders. These naturally formed rocks are such absolutely perfect spherical shapes that they look like giant marbles. They have been made into this shape by being tossed around in the waves and eroded over time and some of them have a diameter of up to two meters. Visit during low tide and you will see them scattered all across the beach.

Me at Moeraki Beach

Me at Moeraki Beach

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Imagine walking into a cool and dark limestone cave that is 30 million years old. You are expecting the cave to be dark, but it is lit up with thousands of brilliant blue glowing lights all along the walls and the ceilings. This is truly a natural wonder that will take your breath away.

The lights come from phosphorescent glow worms that live within the caves and their presence makes you feel like you are floating through a radiant starry night sky. There are many ways to explore the glow worm caves in Waitomo, including boat ride tours, cave tubing and guided walks.

glowworms

Geothermal Pools

New Zealand is one of the most volcanically active countries in the world and it is perched right over top of the Pacific Rim of Fire. The underground geothermal energy here creates many hot and steaming geothermal pools and dramatic geysers, some that are the right temperature for a relaxing soak and others that will boil the flesh right off your bones. For example, the pools in Rotorua are not for swimming as they can reach mind-blowing temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius. It is fascinating to watch the boiling water bubbling up from underneath the earth and feel the sulphur-scented steam on your face.

Rotorua

Rotorua

If you want to enjoy a pool that won’t boil you alive, there are plenty in New Zealand that are good for swimming in, including Parakai Springs near Auckland and the Tokaanu Thermal pools near Lake Taupo.

These are just a few of the amazing natural wonders that will blow your mind when you visit New Zealand.

Frankie Hughes is a freelance writer who has recently returned from six months living and working in Wellington. She took a few great luxury tours New Zealand during her stay to see the country’s most impressive scenery.

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Cambridge In The UK – 3 Million Visitors A Year

Cambridge is a vibrant city packed with things to do for all members of the family and is the perfect location for a city break. There are plenty of centrally located hotels to match all budgets in walking distance from the beautiful colleges, museums, galleries and other historical sites.

college

Whether you would like your hotel conveniently located for a punt along the river or within a short stroll of the designer shops, then you will not be disappointed. Booking in advance is particularly important during one of the many festivals such as the world famous Folk Festival or during high peak holiday times.

 Hotels of Choice

 city hotelThe Cambridge City Hotel is one of the largest hotels in the heart Cambridge perfectly located for the shops and for site seeing. You can walk to the stunning King’s College and if you plan to see a show it’s a short distance from the Arts Theatre and the Corn Exchange. If you enjoy shopping then you are in luck as this hotel adjoins the up market Grand Arcade Shopping Centre and is a short stroll from the market square. Despite its city centre location, there is private parking and the concierge will be able to park your car for you when you arrive. If you are looking for convenience and luxury then the Cambridge City Hotel would be a good choice for you.

duvinIf the luxury of a boutique hotel appeals to you then you need look no further that the perfectly located Hotel du Vin. Built in a former university owned building it has retained all of the interesting architectural features creating a quirky yet comfortable ambiance. The building dates back to the medieval times, the restaurant, rooms and cosy library are decorated with traditional, timeless style.  Bedrooms and suites offer hand sprung mattresses, Egyptian linen, monsoon showers, plasma TV’s and some even have their own private terrace. The Bistro du Vin offers an elegant yet informal dining experience serving locally sourced and organic produce in a down to earth setting and a French inspired menu. The hotel is a short stroll for the magnificent Fitzwilliam Museum, the arts and antiquities museum of the University of Cambridge with art collections including works from Constable, Monet, Degas and Picasso.

fitz

This is a perfect place to stay for those who really love to be one with nature. Once a historic watermill this hotel offers delightful accommodation on the edge of the city. A small but luxurious hotel it is a perfect place to relax after a long day shopping or sightseeing in Cambridge. With excellent facilities including free parking, state of the art leisure centre with swimming pool, spa, steam room, sauna and gym not forgetting massage and beauty treatments, this is the ideal choice for a spa weekend.

 Go for a punt!

Visitors to Cambridge should not leave without taking a punt down the river. Punting is actually a Dutch word meaning ‘to push.’  In days gone by it was a method of transporting goods to the mills along what is now known as the ‘Backs.’ Today it is done purely as a leisure activity and is a memorable event.

punting

Tourists can expect to pay up to £90 an hour for a private tour that will take around 45 minutes. Shared tours are provided in very large ferry punts. These cost much less at around £15 per person but beware of touts who provide a poorer service. You can also choose to hire your own punt and go it alone. Punts can be hired competitively from Trinity College.

With easy airport transfers to Cambridge, this city is a delight to visit any time of the year.  With its relaxing cafes, character filled pubs, independent shops and excellent entertainment it’s no wonder the City is on many ‘to do’ lists. Cambridge does not disappoint.

Karen James writes for Business sectors including airport transfer companies in the UK

Exploring Kent, The Garden Of England

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Situated in the beautiful south-eastern corner of England is a county that borders London, Sussex and Surrey. Kent is ‘The Garden’ of England – named because of the abundance of fruit, flowers and vegetables that are grown here. The glorious Kent countryside is home to many hop gardens, the orchards are resplendent in blossom during the Spring and early summer, then as the Autumn months begin to creep into sight, the trees become swollen with glorious fruit.
The county is also home to several large ports – Folkestone, Dover and of course the Channel Tunnel – which means that you could wake up in one of England’s prettiest villages, cross the 20 odd miles of the channel and spend the day shopping in Normandy, Calais, or the picturesque Honfleur and still be home in time for supper!

History

First, the historical significance of the district of Kent is truly amazing. Home to several famous homes of historic men and women of influence, the area is also fantastic for historical architecture. Ightham Mote for example, is one of the oldest castles in England, dating back to medieval times. Not far from this castle is the Hever Castle, where Ann Boleyn lived as a girl before becoming romantically involved with Henry Tudor VIII. Kent has more historic houses than any other county – Knole, Scotney, Penshurst Place, Chartwell, Groombridge Place, Finchcocks, Tonbridge, Hever, Chillham, Dover, Canterbury, Leeds Castles, and Rochester to name but a few. Be sure to do your research and find only a couple that you think you would really enjoy so that you can peruse the grounds at your leisure.

gardens

Kent is also home to some truly amazing woodlands gardens that can be enjoyed all year round, although they are most resplendent in the summertime. They are perfect places to picnic, walk or cycle about. The Miniature World Garden at Lullingstone Castle is a must-visit destination, a small garden with tiny continents outlined in pebbles and filled with plants native to their respective continents. The real garden, itself, is built in much the same way, although it takes 80 minutes to walk all over the entire earth’s garden. The garden is home to many different kinds of orchids that can be found all over the earth, and yet reside on the castle grounds in Kent. For a fantastic woodland adventure, visit Shorne Woods Country Park, a free day out but with a café within the park for an idyllic afternoon tea.
The restaurants in the area are masters of producing tasty dishes with the local produce that is so famous. In addition, many restaurants draw on their abundance of fresh seafood to create amazing meals. Fresh, delicious, and creative, all the restaurants offer a unique taste with one common theme: freshness. None will leave you bored.

lullingstone

Tanner Farm Park is one of the best motorhome or caravanning parks in the region. They host over 100 pitches for tents, caravans, or motorhomes, each complete with 16-amp hookup. The park contains a shop, which is open from 8:30am-6:00pm, selling all you could need, including calor gas, and will re-freeze your ice-packs with a voluntary small donation to charity as an option. The bathrooms contain the usual toilets and hot showers, however both blocks have disabled access, with one block containing an adapted shower for ease of use. In addition, they offer access to wireless broadband, dog walks, cycle paths and a library to be enjoyed. The farm is located just outside of Kent with easy access to many of the county’s tourist attractions. If you desire more information, the reception has leaflets and local knowledge on offer.
Goudhurst Road, Marden, Kent TN12 9ND.

Dover

If you wish to stay near the port for a ferry ride over to Normandy or Calais, Hawthorne Farm in Dover is the place for you. Set in 27 acres and meticulously landscaped, this exquisite site is close to nature whilst still being easily connected to the outside world thanks to convenient public transport links. The site is protected by a security barrier for added peace of mind, with the park containing their own café, takeaway service, shop and laundry facilities so that most of what you need is close by.

dover

Martin Mill

The local village of Martin Mill is a short walk away, and has a welcoming atmosphere with quaint pubs, cafés, shops and the local railway station. Playing fields are over the road from the site, for those who have boisterous children or grandchildren visiting, however for a steadier pace the walking paths in the surrounding area are fantastic.
The majority of the site is made up of static caravans, with residential homes and holiday homes to let. The campsite is at the far end of the grounds in its own separate area. There is plenty of room for games and picnics, and the use of the facilities is included for the duration of your stay.
Martin Mill, Dover, Kent CT15 5LA.

Ramsgate

If Ramsgate is your area of interest, or luxury is your Holiday Park or Residential Park desire, then The Foxhunter Park is the place for you. A 5* Park with a wealth of leisurely amenities on offer from a heated outdoor pool with Roman whirlpool, to a European lagoon garden complete with the busts of beautiful maidens. An 18-hole putting course, tennis court and a Children’s adventure playground are also among the luxuries available. The Restaurant has a Bar and a takeaway option, if you do not wish to dine in or prepare a meal, with the Clubhouse open most evenings until late for the night owl’s on site. Amusements for children can be found in their own club, with arcade games, shows and daily competitions – allowing you a little R&R time.

ramsgate

Monkton Village

The Village of Monkton is very picturesque and not far from the coast, it is a short walk to the local beaches or a trip via the bus service. Statics are available to rent on site and the family that run the park are more than happy to help in any way they can.
Monkton, Near Ramsgate, Kent CT12 4JG.

Featured images:

Sandra Hamilton writes for lifesure for their static caravan insurance. Sandra has had many years experience of blogging on a wide range of topics including park homes, static caravans and motor homes.

The Backpacking Guide: Natural Fibres

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When it comes to clothing material, natural fibres are the absolute best options for comfort and can also be the height of luxury. Things like wool, one hundred percent cotton, silk and cashmere are examples of natural fibres that can make beautiful and comfortable clothing that can last for years.

There is much more to consider when it comes to purchasing clothing than simply whether or not a particular item is fashionable right now. Anyone who has stepped foot in one of the major department stores knows that the latest styles go for a premium price. In order to make sure that a person is getting the maximum value for the money that they are spending, they will want to consider a few things like durability, especially if they are interested in their clothing lasting as long as possible without looking old and worn out after just a few washes.

Natural Fibres Are The Green Choice

Wearing my natural fibre baselayer in New Zealand

Wearing my natural fibre baselayer in New Zealand

Natural fibres are kinder to the environment because they are not manufactured with petroleum products like many synthetic fabrics are. They do not need any chemicals to be processed other than dyes to color them and even that being the case, there are plentiful natural dyes that can be used to give fibers color. They are a renewable resource that give many small farmers all over the world the opportunity to have a livelihood dedicated to producing the fibres that can be turned into clothing and fabrics used in many different industries. They are completely biodegradable unlike many synthetic fibres that are created to last a lifetime and end up in landfills unable to be broken down by natural processes.

Luxurious Properties Of Natural Fibres

angora

Natural fibres have properties that are hard to duplicate in synthetic materials, wool provides excellent warmth even when it is wet. There are so many varieties of wool that the choices for fabrics that can be made with it are endless. From socks and pants to dresses and overcoats, wool is a smart choice that is hard to beat for versatility. Silk is lightweight and has a luxurious feel that makes it a beautiful choice for flowing cashmere garments that are the definition of femininity. It takes color so beautifully that some of the most gorgeous prints are accomplished on silk and look more like artworks than clothing. Cashmere, the wool obtained from cashmere goats is perhaps the ultimate in luxury fibre. Its softness is unparalleled and it has excellent insulating properties making it an idea material for sweaters, scarves and outerwear. The fibres are obtained from the neck region of cashmere goats and must be separated from the coarse hair that it is mixed with when it is gathered from the animals. This cahmereprocess involves more steps than the simple harvesting of wool from sheep and goats making it a more expensive material. This along with the luxurious feel of the material has made it historically popular among royalty and the upper class. Today it is more accessible with cashmere garments gracing every class of society in all parts of the world.

The Backpacking Guide: Selecting A Tent

In this third article in our Backpacking Guide series, Stephanie Frasco, Community Manager at the MyReviewsNow.net tells us how to select the perfect for your needs….

Whether you enjoy family camping trips in local campgrounds or are a seasoned long distance hiker that camps in the backwoods regularly, one of your most important pieces of equipment is your tent. Your tent will provide you with protection against the weather and give you a place to stow your gear to keep it dry and close by. There are as many tent models as there are people who enjoy camping and determining the best one for your needs should be the first step you take before investing in camping supplies. The questions you need to ask yourself about your proposed use of the tent will help you make the right choice for a tent that you will be satisfied with for years. The following questions are a good start:

2 small tents

How Many People Will The Tent Be Accommodating When You Use It Regularly?

If you plan on taking along the family and will have cots or air mattresses, you will need a larger tent than would fit one or two people with a limited amount of gear and sleeping pads.

off theWhat Kind Of Access Will You Have To Your Campsite?

If you will have to hike into a campsite rather than being able to drive right up to it, you will need to consider the size and weight of your tent and if you will be able to carry it comfortably into a remote site.

What Kind Of Activities Will You Use The Tent For?

If you are going on a family camping trip and your tent will be headquarters for kids and pets when the weather is bad, you need to make sure there is enough room to accommodate not only sleeping bags and gear but people that want to sit and enjoy games or activities. A cabin tent with a high ceiling is a better choice than a dome tent with little headroom in this situation.

How Often Will You Use Your Tent?

If you want to keep a tent for years of use and plan to use it regularly during each camping season, you will want to invest in a high quality tent that can withstand frequent putting up and taking down season after season. Read reviews and research what are the best brand for durability and customer satisfaction to help you find what you are looking for.

small tent

There really is no such thing as one tent that is perfect for every person who enjoy spending some time in the great outdoors. Fortunately, with a wide variety of choices available, just about everyone can find a tent that perfectly suits their needs and their budget. Of course, in addition to the previously listed questions, a person will also want to keep in mind that different tents divide different levels of protection. This means a person that is going to be spending time camping where the weather has a habit of not fully cooperating will want to make sure that they choose a product that provides them with adequate protection from wind, rain, and possibly even freezing temperatures so they get the most out of all of their outdoor adventures.

If you take your time to research what options there are available for camping equipment and you make your choice according to your needs and budget, you will find a tent that will make you happy for years of camping enjoyment.

The Backpacking Guide: Dehydrated Food

In the first of a series of articles dedicated to backpackers and hikers, I provide some insight into the world of dehydrated food! Now this may sound gross but when I was backpacking through New Zealand and Australia I found it a lot easier to carry things like dehydrated vegetable packets with me, as it meant I could save money on buying and having to throw away fresh vegetables every time I moved on. Find out more of the benefit of this kind of food below.

Packing Light

Backpacks

When you backpack several miles to your campsite, weight is probably a priority. New backpackers will generally sacrifice weight for comfortability. However, it doesn’t take long to realise that being a little bit less comfortable in camp is well worth not having to carry the extra weight. A common item that most backpackers carry is a personal cooking stove. Camping stoves are useful for sanitising water as well as cooking dehydrated meals.

Benefits of Dehydrated Meals

food

Dehydrated meals appeal to backpackers because they are light-weight and are filling once water is added to them. Most foods are approximately 60 to 90 percent moisture. This means that you can theoretically reduce the weight of your food up to 90 percent. Another advantage of dehydrated foods is that the food is much less perishable since the moisture, which can cause mold or bacteria, is eliminated or significantly reduced. By drying food, even some meats can be spoilage-free. Be aware that it isn’t safe to dry raw means such as pork or fish.

Common Dehydrated Dishes

camping food

Pasta’s are the most common dehydrated meals. You can get creative with these meals by dehydrating food yourself or you can purchase dehydrated meals from companies that specialize in hiking food. Common dehydrated food items include beef stew, chicken alfredo, stroganoff, chili, chicken fajitas, chicken salad, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, granola, corn, peas, rice, mac and cheese, ramen noodles, crackers, and dried fruit.

The Secret to Dehydrating Food

If you don’t want to pay a lot of money on food that has already been dehydrated, you can learn how to dehydrate food yourself. The secret to dehydrating food is keeping the food at a temperature which is hot enough to eliminate moisture but not hot enough to cook the food. The time and temperature varies according to the type and size of the food. As a rule of thumb, vegetables and fruits dry best between 125 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Meats are best dried at approximately 150 degrees.

dehydrator

There are a couple of ways to dehydrate your food. You can either dehydrate your food ingredients separately and then cook combine the ingredients in to a meal or you can dehydrate the meal at the end. Contrary to popular belief, dehydrating food is relatively inexpensive. Most people have the necessary items that they need in their own kitchens. Many backpackers dehydrate their food in an oven. If you plan on dehydrating a lot of food in the future, then a food dehydrator is recommended. Food dehydrators are more efficient and cost effective. A food dehydrator is relatively inexpensive, priced as low as £35.

Rehydrating Your Food Using a Camping Stove

Of course, rehydration times vary greatly according to the type of food that is being rehydrated. Meats take the longest amount of time. With a little bit of research and some practice, you will be able to quickly learn how to dehydrate and rehydrate your favorite meals.

When rehydrating meats, use a 1:1 ratio of water to dehydrated meat. If you use too much water, nutrients is lost. Since meat takes a long time to cook, it is smart to place meat in hot water for a few hours before you plan on eating it. If you let the meat sit in water, rehydration will be much quicker with your camping stove. Since, rehydration takes time, you should try to find a efficient camping stove that will maximize the amount of water it can boil with the fuel canister. Backpacking stove companies such as Jetboil or MSR make great stoves that are built around fuel efficiency and quick boiling times.jetboil2Written by Lexi. She blogs on her overland and backpacking adventures at lexitravels.com

Outstanding Natural Beauty In Snowdonia National Park

Many people underestimate the beauty of their home nation and us Brits are no different. I grew up only 100 miles from the beautiful Snowdonia National Park and The Lake District, yet I can count on one hand the number of times I have visited each of them. I’ve traveled to the great national parks of the Rockies and the north west United States, but never fully explored what is on my doorstep. For me, a trip to Snowdonia is long overdue and so here I present a guide to Snowdonia National Park by my friend Frankie Hughes.

Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia National Park

As you walk through the natural forests of this park, the wind blowing through the Welsh Oak and Mountain Ash and the ravens giving hoarse cries, you could be forgiven in thinking that you had walked into a very old fairy tale. This rugged and mysterious wilderness is rich with atmosphere and within its overgrown forests and stony mountains you will find plenty of craggy old castles with their own ancient stories. The local signs that mark your way along the route are often in both English and Welsh and many traditional and historic aspects of Welsh life can be seen, making you feel like you are more in Middle Earth than in the UK.

Snowdonia National Park is home to the biggest mountains in England and Wales, as well as a coastline of sandy beaches, jaw-dropping cliffs and several excellent bird estuaries. This beautiful region is very popular for mountaineering, hiking, white-water kayaking and other active outdoor activities. It is also known for being home to Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, as well as for being the fortress for the last true Prince of Wales, Llewellyn.

Snowdon

Snowdon

On a holiday to this region, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do. You could be walking barefoot on the sandy of the beaches in the morning and then enjoying the view from the top of a mountain that very same afternoon.

Here are a few ideas of what you can do on your getaway to Snowdonia National Park:

Take the Snowdon Mountain Railway

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Snowdon Mountain Railway

See the stunning scenery in comfort on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, a 4 mile 2.5 hour long train ride that chugs its way slowly up Mount Snowdon to a height of 3500 feet. The railway itself dates back to 1896 and it is the only railway of this type, a rack-and-pinion style, in the UK. The first train of the day will depart at 9am and will stop for 30 minutes at the summit so that you can enjoy the view before returning. The train runs from March to October.

Explore a Castle

Dolbadarn Castle

Dolbadarn Castle

Throughout Snowdonia there are a number of castles that date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. These castles were built during the battles by the Welsh Princes of Gwynedd against King Edward I of England and King John. These castles were generally built high in the mountain country, where the Welsh princes hoped to have the upper hand. Check out Dolbadarn, a beautiful Welsh built castle that is located close to the town of Llanberis. Also, be sure to take the time to visit Castell y Bere, the most impressive fortress of the Welsh Princes and Dolwyddelan, which claims to be the birthplace of Prince Llywelyn.

Have an Extreme Adventure

Mountain Biking in Snowdonia

Mountain Biking in Snowdonia

Snowdonia National Park is known for its excellent extreme sporting opportunities and there are many ways to get your adrenaline pumping here. You could go rock climbing, white-water rafting on the River Tryweryn, kayaking, canoeing or even kite surfing here. There are several outdoor adventure companies that provide instruction and equipment for a wide range of activities. For example, the mountain biking on the trails within the Dyfi Valley Forest is considered to be come of the very best in the country. For the best experience, beat the crowds by avoid weekends in the summertime.

Just Relax and Enjoy

Snowdonia

Snowdonia

On your holiday to Snowdonia National Park, give yourself plenty of time just to soak in the stunning surroundings and breathe the fresh air. Within this area of outstanding natural beauty, the gorgeous views will recharge and invigorate you and leave you feeling energised and refreshed.

Frankie Hughes is a writer who loves a holiday which allows you to explore nature and history. She recommends renting a cottage from STS Holidays in Snowdonia to allow you to enjoy the beautiful and natural surroundings of the National Park.

Festivals in Mykonos

hubMykonos in Greece is one of the islands I’ve always wanted to visit, not least because it inspired one of my favourite songs, ‘Mykonos’ by Fleet Foxes. In this article, my friend Auron tells us about the culture of this stunning Greek island.

As a small island with a long history, Mykonos has built up many traditions and celebrates various events and festivals each year. Many are religious in nature and are celebrated in a similar way throughout Greece while others are more unique to Mykonos and offer you a sight that not many people get to see if you are on the island at the right time.

Easter Celebrations

Probably the most important event for the inhabitants of Mykonos are the Easter celebrations which usually take place in the earliest part of the season so are only witnessed by a small number of visitors. On the Friday before Easter, local women singing religious songs on the streets while moving from one church to another followed by a large crowd. The next evening, a candlelit vigil is held at many of the island’s religious establishments and on Easter Sunday itself, after the ceremonies and worship, it is traditional to eat roast lamb.church

As Greeks are Orthodox Christians, you may have trouble joining in the ceremonies but some churches welcome tourists; you can also find restaurants that will serve the traditional dishes of the day to the few tourists that want to participate in some small way which include sour cheese and louza, local products, onion pie, meat balls, little fried livers and red eggs.

The Mykonos Carnival

The carnival period in Mykonos lasts three weeks, ending on the first day of Lent. It offers a great chance for all concerned to dress up and have a great time and is enjoyed by both kids and adults alike. It culminates in a parade through the streets with many of the floats being satirical representations of events from the year gone by. This is one of the most fun times to be on the island and with the colourful costumes and dancing in the street, you are sure to have a day to remember.

Greek Independence Dayindep

On the 25 March each year, celebrations take place all over Greece to commemorate the gaining of independence after centuries of foreign rule. The Turks had occupied the country for 400 years and before that a host of other nations had control over Greece dating back to ancient times.

This day is the Greek equivalent to the 4th of July in America and it is celebrated across the country with marches and festivities.  Many places close on this day but if you do find a restaurant open and want to join in, the traditional Independence day dish is fried bakaliaro (cod) and skordalia (garlic sauce).

The day of the Panagia (Virgin Mary)

panagiaThis day is special on Mykonos and the rest of the country as it is the second most important religious holiday after Easter. It is celebrated on August 15th so if your holiday corresponds to this date, book your lodgings early as hotels in Mykonos are often booked out for this time of year. Local churches will hold religious services that will include dancing and traditional food, with the celebrations continuing through the night until dawn.

Auron Renius is a time served history and travel writer who specialises in writing about anything from religious holidays to what it’s like to stay in the hotels in mykonos.

The Highest Lakes In The World

When you think that nearly eighty percent of the world’s surface is covered in water, your first thought is to look towards the ocean and not twenty thousand foot above that. However, some of the highest lakes can be found hidden on mountain tops and in cracks on mountain valleys.

Here are six of the highest lakes in the world:

Lake Saiful-Muluk – 3 224m (10 557 foot):

To the north of Kaghan Valley in Pakistan – near the town of Naran – sits the Saiful-Muluk Lake. This lake is home to brown trout and around twenty-six different species of vascular plants. The weather at the lake is moderate during the day, however due to the height above sea-level, drops to below negative at night. The surrounding glaciers feed into the lake, so the lakes size depends on the snow fall of the previous year.

Lake Saiful-Muluk in the winter

Lake Saiful-Muluk in the winter

Lake Saiful-Muluk, Pakistan

Lake Saiful-Muluk, Pakistan

Lake Titicaca – 3 812m (12 464 foot):

Lake Titicaca – otherwise known as Lake of the Clouds – is situated in Bolivia and Peru. While this is not the highest lake in the world, this is the highest navigable lake (by some large boats). In some parts, the lake is nearly 300m deep and can easily accommodate larger vessels, and with a surface area of 3 200 miles, boats are very much needed.

The name of the lake comes from the wildcats that live in the area called ‘Titi’, and according to Inca mythology, Titicaca is where the world was created by the god Viracocha.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Boats on Lake Titicaca

Boats on Lake Titicaca

Lake Tsomoriri – 4 595m (15 080 foot):

The lake Tsomoriri – within the Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve in Ladkh – lies on the Changthang plains in India. This is one of the largest lakes in the area and is only accessible in the summer months. During the winter months, the area is cut off by heavy snowfall that lies on the path leading to the lake.

Grasslands near Tso Moriri

Grasslands near Tso Moriri

The shore of Lake Tso Moriri

The shore of Lake Tso Moriri

Lake Tso Moriri, India

Lake Tso Moriri, India

Lake Panch Pokhari – 5 494 m (18 025 foot):

Hidden high in the peaks of Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area are the five sacred lakes of Panch Pokhari. The area is popular with local hikers and those able to cope with dizzying effects of the high altitude.

Frozen Panch Pokhari

Frozen Panch Pokhari

Panch Pokhari at sunset

Panch Pokhari at sunset

The Lhagba Pool – 6 368m (20 892 foot):

The Lhagba pool is located in Tibet is the highest lake in China and the second highest lake in the world.  The pool is located less than a kilometre southwest of Lhagba La (pass) and west of Lhakpa Ri and six kilometres away from the mountains summit and is only 180 meters long and 50 meters wide.

Lhagba Lake, Tibet

Lhagba Lake, Tibet

The Ojos del Salado Pool – 6 3891m (20 965 foot):

Ojos del Salado sits at the food of the highest volcano in the world. The lake measures 100 meters in diameter and around 10 meters deep and is found on the Argentinean-Chilean border. Due to the extreme height above sea-level, the area receives snow throughout the year and ensures that the lake remains full all year around.

Ojos del Salado

Ojos del Salado

These are the six highest lakes from around the world. Situated high up and far away from civilisation, these lakes are a rare beauty and something all adventurers need to see.

I am Greg Jones, a water coolers user and fun facts lover. I read up on interesting articles and simply had to write this article. In my spare time I am a gym nut, sports enthusiast, keen adventurer and family man.

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Aamir Choudry

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Rojan Sinha

The Great Himalaya Trail

Ejército de Chile

Art Deco Hotels Around The World

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The art deco style first appeared in France in the early 20th century, becoming more popular during the 1920s and 1930s. The style consists of geometric shapes, nature motifs and angular designs.

There are hotels all over the world that are built in the art deco style, some of which were built during the art deco era, others that were built in the style some years later.

Art deco hotels from the 1920s and 1930s

The Burgh Island Hotel in Devon was built in 1929, and has attracted famous guests including Agatha Christie and Noel Coward. From the outside, Burgh Island Hotel is a large, white, imposing building. Inside, guests will find furniture and appliances from the era, as well as archive photographs. Guests can enjoy Jazz-age themed dances at the hotel.

The bar at Burgh Island Hotel, Devon

The bar at Burgh Island Hotel, Devon

Claridges, a luxury 5 star hotel in London is another good example of an art deco style hotel. It was built during the 19th century, but redesigned in the late 1920s. Basil Lonides was asked to carry this out, and his designs can still be seen in the hotel restaurant. An art deco extension was added to the hotel in the 1930s, which consists of several reception rooms and guestrooms. Further work was carried out in 1996, when the foyer was redecorated in the art deco style. Features of particular interest are the engraved glass screens in the restaurant and the chandelier in the foyer.

Hotel Martinez in Cannes was built in the 1920s, opening its doors in 1929. Located by the Mediterranean, the hotel is in a very desirable area, making it a popular choice for stars during the Cannes Film Festival. The hotel is a very large, striking building in the art deco style, with the rooms still decorated with 1920s and 1930s pieces.

Hotel Martinez, Cannes

Hotel Martinez, Cannes

An earlier example of an art deco hotel is the Art Deco Imperial Hotel in Prague. This was completed in 1914, with an exterior in the geometric style. The inside of the hotel is also impressive, with features including an art-nouveau mosaic. The art and architecture at the hotel is considered to be of great historical importance, resulting in the building being classed as a listed monument.

Later interpretations of art deco

In general, the art deco era is considered to have taken place during the 1920s and 1930s, but there are some later examples of art deco architecture.

The Raleigh Hotel in Miami was commissioned to be built in 1940, in an area known as the Art Deco District. The white exterior of the building is very typical of the art deco style, and inside there is a suite named the Art Deco Suite, which measures nearly 600 square feet. One of the highlights of the hotel is the swimming pool which was also built in the art deco style. Considered to be one of the most beautiful hotel pools in the world, it has a cascading waterfall and is surrounded by tropical foliage.

Hotel Britania in Lisbon is another fine example of a 1940s art deco hotel. This is a small hotel, designed by Portuguese architect Cassiano Branco. Highlights include a marble entrance hall and a spectacular staircase. An interesting feature of this hotel is the barbershop, which has been on the site since the hotel was built.

The art deco design is a style which stands the test of time. Art deco hotels have a classic, vintage look, which somehow manages to look modern at the same time. The eclectic style of art deco means that it is very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.

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Graham is a travel blogger who has a particular interest in design and architecture.