Author: Gill Dewar

Fly fishing in Patagonia

Fly fishing in Patagonia

Fly fishing in Patagonia

Patagonia is a wild and unique territory, worn down by enormous masses of ice that shaped its interesting landscapes. It forms one of the most extreme precipitation gradients in the world. From east to west the landscape is very different – it changes from Patagonian steppe to evergreen forest in less than 125 miles (200 km).

It is thought that settlers saw this as an excellent opportunity for the introduction of the voracious Salmonids, which quickly spread and flourished throughout the diverse watercourses of the zone and created a paradise for fly-fishing.

Within the Salmonids, we will mainly find Salmon trutta, known as Fario or the brown trout, coveted by fishermen for its beautiful colors and fierceness. It is also possible to find rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon (Salar salmon), coho salmon, and the mythical king salmon (Chinook).

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Santana ATV in Costa Rica

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Santana ATV in Costa Rica

Santana ATV in Costa Rica

This unique adventure begins once participants arrive at Santana Welcome Center in Brasilito beach.

There, they will receive the equipment and safety instructions to enjoy this adventure to the fullest!
After a short drive on the main road, participants will take several dirt roads through the forest and
drive to some of the most beautiful beaches in the area; like Brasilito, Conchal, los Piratas, Puerto Viejo
and Flamingo.

This unique ride also drives through local villages, where participants will have the possibility to see how people in this area live.

Then, participants will drive to the top a hill where they will enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

During the ride, participants might have the opportunity to see different plant and animal species that live in Guanacaste. Some of the most common animals to see are monkeys, lizards and birds.

Once participants return to the welcome center, they will have a time to relax before taking their transfer back to the hotel.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION
Operates: Daily.
Departure: Morning and Afternoon
Duration: 2 hrs. 30 min.
Estimated driving time:
10 min. from Westin Playa Conchal & W
Reserva Conchal – each way.
Minimum: 8 ppl.
Maximum: 15 pl. / 15 ATV (6 of this ones are
DBL)
Includes: Deluxe private transportation, certified
TE DMC guide, one bottle of water on the bus,
ATV equipment, local Guides, fruit and bottle of
water at the end of the activity, gratuity for local
guides

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Visit the Gobustan petroglyph reserve in Azerbaijan

Gobustan

Visit the Gobustan petroglyph reserve in Azerbaijan

In a magical hilltop landscape of giant boulders with views across the opal blue Caspian, the Gobustan petroglyph reserve is home to rock drawings
dating back almost 15,000 years. These remarkable open-air ‘gallery’ and interactive museum provide a veritable archive of mankind’s cultural evolution and attracts visitors and researchers from across the globe.

The Unesco-listed Qobustan Petroglyph Reserve protects thousands of stick-figure stone engravings dating back up to 12,000 years. Themes include livestock, wild animals and shamans.

The images were carved into what were probably caves but over time they have crumbled into a craggy chaos of boulders. Even if you have no particular interest in ancient doodles, Qobustan’s eerie landscape and the hilltop views towards distant oil-workings in the turquoise-blue Caspian are still fascinating.

A visit starts 3km west of Qobustan at a state-of-the-art museum, which gives context to what you will see on the mountain ridge 2km above. 

Comparing this with similar ancient designs in Norway led ethnologist Thor Heyerdahl to speculate that Scandinavians might have originated in what is now Azerbaijan.

Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape covers three areas of a plateau of rocky boulders rising out of the semi-desert of central Azerbaijan, with an outstanding collection of more than 6,000 rock engravings bearing testimony to 40,000 years of rock art.

The site also features the remains of inhabited caves, settlements and burials, all reflecting an intensive human use by the inhabitants of the area during the wet period that followed the last Ice Age, from the Upper Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. The site, which covers an area of 537 ha, is part of the larger protected Gobustan Reservation.

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Visit the Thonburi Khlongs

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Visit the Thonburi Khlongs

Visit the Thonburi Khlongs

An independent province until it was merged with Bangkok in 1972, Thonburi – the old capital located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River – has largely escaped the modern development.

Its Khlongs network, including Bangkok Noi Khlong and Mon Khlong retains much of its old-world charm.

It is a real discovery of the art of living in Bangkok – of its huts on stilts and its old wooden houses – all at the leisurely pace of a boat sailing through the maze of canals.

The west bank of Chao Phraya River is called Thonburi and it’s the only area of the fast-growing Bangkok that hasn’t been developing with the time. Quite the opposite. It’s still like it used to be, with man-made water canals used as streets, small boats parked by the sides of the local houses that are built right on the water.

Can you imagine that Thonburi was once the capital of Thailand, at the end of the 18th century?

Part of the locals has never wanted to let this piece of history go, so they still live the slow-paced lifestyle.

Not everyone in Thonburi lives wealthy, so circling through the narrow canals allowed me to see fragile huts built right on the water that looked like they’re about to collapse if the wind blows a bit stronger. Some windows didn’t have glass and seemed to have no electricity either.

People here go to work by boat. They buy their fruit and vegetable from the neighbours who use their boats as floating markets.

The kids play on the porch of their homes right above the water. They throw in some bread to attract the fish and then jump in the water to play with them.

In between the houses by the water, there’s so much greenery – large banana trees, palm trees, green bushes. It’s the kind of nature you don’t see that much in Bangkok.

While people live here in different circumstances, they still seem to be happy, as they wave to the tourists from their porches with warm smiles on their faces.

The boat tour on the Thonburi Khlongs

Taking the tour offers a great contrast between the mighty Chao Phraya River and the small 6-meter wide Klongs. Most of the tours usually start at the Phra Arthit boat pier right next to Khao San Road.

The first few minutes the boat rushes between the quite heavy ferry traffic along the river and then it takes a sharp turn into one of the Klongs that connect the new Bangkok with the old one.

Right after the turn, you suddenly find yourself in a totally different environment.

The city noise slowly disappears, the water becomes more peaceful and local homes in size of small wooden boxes on one side of the canal and larger mansions with beautiful yards on the other side reveal themselves.

And most importantly – the air is fresh, the surroundings are quiet and it feels like you’ve entered a serene oasis. The loud noises coming from your boat’s engine are the only things ruining a bit this otherwise blissful environment.

The tour takes you along temples by the canals, a local school, and other establishments just like in every normal town. But in this case, it’s all on the water. Unfortunately, boat drivers usually don’t speak any English, so they won’t be able to give you more information about any of the objects you’ll see along the way.

I also had an old Thai lady approaching us in her small boat, selling cold drinks, snacks and souvenirs, right before we stopped by a temple, where I could throw in the water some snacks for the fish myself, sold to me by a local monk.

Always keep an eye on the boat coasts, as you might notice some monitor lizards sunbathing there.

I was so impressed with the surroundings and how different Thonburi life is from the rest of the Bangkok, that 90-minute tour felt like it’s been only 15 minutes.

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Shopping in Santorini

Shopping in Santorini

Shopping in Santorini

Shopping in Santorini can be great fun. Small shops border the stone streets, while beautiful galleries, quality leather shops and loads of Gold shops sit side by side with local handicrafts and small souvenir shops featuring inexpensive buys.

Even if you are not a fanatical shopper, Santorini’s shopping market -especially in Fira- will prove to be more than tempting. Prices range from the very costly to the preposterously inexpensive.

Compared to Fira’s market, the market in Oia is less flashy and more ethnic and local. The original and ingeniously decorated of shop’s windows will certainly leave an impression on you. The pleasant small shops feature an assortment of artefacts and works of art from several countries and cultures. Similar shops can be found in Fira.

Also, if you wish to buy cosmetics there are a large store in central Fira with a wide range of cosmetics, perfumes and sun protection products.

As you see, there you can find several goods to buy, jewelleries, high quality leather goods and others as woven goods, folk art, and handicrafts. So, do not hesitate to go for Santorini shopping.

The other thing that many people buy on the island is the wine. There are a number of wineries to visit and here you can taste some of Santorini’s famous wines before deciding on your purchase. Other local products such as tomato juice can also be purchased at the wineries.

Shopping in Santorini can be an excellent and unique experience. The biggest economic driver for the island is tourism, which means that there is a large market for local producers, designers, artists, and jewel smiths to create their own unique wares for sale.

Of course, there is a broad variety of souvenir shops all over the island, which tend to sell mass-produced items, similar to those that can be bought throughout Greek tourist destinations. Prices can range from very cheap to the extremely costly, high-quality items you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The shops stay open until late in the evening- especially in the summer season- so you can enjoy searching for the right thing beyond the heat of the day.

Shopping in Santorini

Fira

Fira is the main centre for shopping on the island, as it is the capital. There is a huge variety of places to visit here, with a great diversity of products for sale. Through the centre is a street known as ‘gold street’ for its over 40 jewellers present. Make sure your purchases are truly handmade, as there are many shops which offer unique items which speak to the tradition and history of the island. Such a shop would be ‘Ilias Lalaounis’, where every piece of jewellery has its own story and is inspired deeply by Santorini’s 3,500-year history.

For a more contemporary feel, try Koukla jewelry and crafts. ‘Gorgona’ is both an art and gift shop, which sells its own hand made art, designs into glass and a variety of other artistic gifts which are made by artists on the island. Both Bazaar and Drakkar shops located near to the centre of Fira offer youthful and elegant clothes, bags and accessories from both Greek and international designers. 

For upscale, luxury fashion, try out ‘The White Santorini’, with pieces handcrafted and sewn in Greece by designer Sophia Hatzigeorgiou. Utilizing delicate materials and patterns inspired by the island itself, you can find one branch in Fira and a second in Kamari beach. A perfect place to look for your new outfit before going out for a romantic meal atop the caldera.

Oia

The village of Oia is the site of the famous postcard vistas of Santorini. It’s also one of the best areas for shopping and somewhere you should certainly consider to include in your itinerary. ‘Atlantis Bookshop’ is a must go for anyone who is a fan of reading.

It is owned by people from across Europe and the US who love the island and the history, with a number of volumes that would be very difficult to find elsewhere- particularly if you’re interested in the Cyclades and Greek history.

If you’d like to take home some genuine art by a local then it is worth visiting ‘Galanopoulos’ art gallery. Here you’ll find not only fine art with a specific bent toward home and interior design but also giclee prints on paper or canvas.

There are also mix painting sculptures that utilize local materials- such as stone and earth- and colour palettes. ‘Replica’ is a shop that you can find pieces of fine art inspired by those of antiquity, such as ceramics, pottery, frescoes, and terracotta figurines. ‘Iama’ wine shop is one that started small and has developed into a big name for itself, selling wines from across the island and the rest of the country.

‘Frederika’ is another shop, with globally sought after products, crafted by the artisan who gives her name to the shop. Frederika carves scenes of the island into local pumice stone, reflecting the extreme diversity and complexity of perspectives from every spot in Santorini. This is an age old tradition which has been brought forth elegantly, available for purchase in the shop Finikia, right next to Oia.

Firostefani

Located above the capital of Fira, you will find that Firostefani has the best views of the Caldera, with the added extra height giving you greater distance. The area is typically less crowded than Fira as well, which means greater access to the shops for you. Don’t miss the ‘Art of the Loom’, which has taken old wooden artifacts from the textile factories that were part of the island economy, and crafted them into artistic pieces, as well as practical items and jewelry. ‘Aegean Designs’ is another place to stop by.

Selling handcrafted items on the island itself, and located in a beautiful garden, they retail hand painted linen, wall hangings, jewellery and more, taking deep inspiration from the colours and textures of the Aegean. For more innovative and quirky art pieces, drop into ‘Leoni Schmiedel’, with its excellent view over the caldera and art, featuring materials ever present from Santorini, such as sand, stone and old parchments. Furthermore, the shop/gallery is so ornately decorated, it is like a museum.

Peripheral villages

If you’re down on Kamari beach, one of the biggest hotspots for beach life and shopping, then check out ‘Ammos’ store. Part of the biggest chain on the island, you would have also noticed it in Fira and Oia. Here you can find stylish apparel from international brands, as well as some Greek designers. If you’re passing Vedema resort in Megalochori, be sure to check out luxury fashion boutique ‘Wanderlista’ for a great range of upscale fashion based on locations. And whilst you’re there, ‘Galateas Pottery Studio’ is the perfect place to find unique ceramics that bring a splash of color to any home. 

In Messaria, it’s well worth visiting ‘Spira’, a beautiful sculpture shop that is owned by a long lineage of marble sculptors. You can find a diversity of works made from marble, as well as other local stone, such as kitchen sinks, bathroom flooring, fireplaces, and ornate tiles- all crafted with attention to detail and aesthetics. Keep your eyes open everywhere you go on the island, and you’ll be sure to bring home that something special.

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Adventures in the Azuma Mountains in Japan

Adventures in the Azuma Mountains in Japan

Adventures in the Azuma Mountains in Japan

The Azuma Mountains are located on the border of Fukushima prefecture, which takes about 2 hours from Tokyo by bullet train.

The mountain range provides attractive hiking trails up to its various peaks and across its breathtaking volcanic landscapes that offer craters, marshlands, and ponds. The most popular hiking trail in the Azuma Mountains is called the Azuma-Kofukuji peak, which draws many climbers from spring to autumn each year with its great nature view.

Not only hiking but the area is also known for skiing. The area has a ski resort named Tengendai Kogen Ski Resort, where the visitors have a chance to experience Yonezawa’s puffy, weightless snow.

Channel Square, a company based in Fukushima with rich local contents, provides various guided activities such as snow trekking, powder surfing, extreme sledding, riding in a snowmobile, etc. The guides and instructors are very ready to open the area’s secrets to the visitors who venture off the regular tourist trails!

Since the mountains are series of volcanic mountains, they of course have Onsen (hotspring) in the area. Healing and relaxing your body in Onsen after enjoying the activities in Azuma will be the perfect itinerary for you.

Are you seeking for adventure in nature in a not-very-crowded areas close to Tokyo?

Perched between Yamagata and Fukushima, the Azuma Mountain Range is a powder-snow heaven dotted with indulgent hot springs. Popular with hikers in the warmer months, come winter the area is transformed into a magical place, home to steaming snow-surrounded baths, pristine slopes and the region’s legendary snow monsters. Embracing local wisdom and knowledge and part of a region still in recovery, there are local hosts, guides and instructors ready to open the area’s secrets to the visitors who venture off the regular tourist trails.

Washikura snow mountain white field experience Channel Square.

An indoor park hosting countless activities and events since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, Channel Square has a firm place in the hearts of Fukushima residents. Now offering guided adventures in the local area, the Channel Journey project has everything from kayaking on a private lake to snow surfing on the stunning Adatara Mountain Range. Snow surfing is a fun alternative to snowboarding, a great way to make the most of the incredible powder snow and a unique sport.

For adventurers, there’s a one-day package that’s guaranteed to keep the adrenaline flowing, combining snow-surfing, trekking, extreme sledding and snowmobiling. With a specially cooked hotpot lunch to refuel in the middle and ending in the secret local hot springs, it’s a dream day in the snow.

For those focused on skiing, the 100% powder snow of Tengendai Kogen will transcend expectations. Located on the slopes of Mt. Nishi-Azuma, the region’s highest mountain at over 2,000m, the resort has 10km of slopes to choose from, with the highest course stretching 1,820m.

There is an even spread between intermediate, beginner and expert slopes, with non-groomed courses offering a taste of the wild side. Snowboarders have plenty of options here too, and with the extra-long season, there are adventures to be had for months.

Snow Monsters

As well as being great for snow sports, the incredible snow conditions of the Mt. Azuma area also create some otherworldly sights. Juhyo, known as ‘snow monsters’ are a rare and breath-taking highlight, created by snowstorms blanketing trees with layers of snow and ice.

Creating impossible forms on the mountain slopes as the season deepens, each monster has a unique and unusual form.

Often found in remote areas, a locally-guided trip from Grandeco Snow Resort can combine monster-hunting with local outdoor hot springs. Using a gondola and later snowshoes, the group can enter the world of juhyo on the slopes of Mt. Nishi Azuma.

After bidding the creatures farewell, it’s time to warm up in the beautiful baths of Nakanosawa Onsen. The hot spring town was founded nearly 400 years ago and the source is known to produce the most water in Japan, spouting 13,400 liters per minute. Known for its high sulfur levels, it’s a healing spring and allows bathers to relax deeply into its waters while surrounded by snow.

With a dozen Japanese inns to choose from, staying a little longer in Nakanosawa is a temptation visitors couldn’t be blamed for giving in to.

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Stilt fishing in Sri Lanka

Stilt fishing in Sri Lanka

Stilt fishing in Sri Lanka

You will be taken to Mirissa fishing village where you will be able to witness stilt fishing. In chest-deep water on the beach, just a few meters off-shore, are the stilt fishermen perched on a cross bar fixed on a single pole planted into the sea-bed.

If you are brave enough, you will be able to join with them for fishing and get a real experience of the work they do. You will be able to see them fishing and learn how they do it by speaking to one of the fishermen.

The practice started during World War II when food shortages and overcrowded fishing spots prompted some clever men to try fishing on the water. At first they used the wreckage of capsized ships and downed aircraft, then began erecting their stilts in coral reefs.

Two generations of fishermen have eked out this physically demanding existence at dawn and dusk along a 30-kilometer stretch of southern shore between the towns of Unawatuna and Weligama.

“It’s more or less impossible if you don’t know what you’re doing,” Müller says.

The meagre returns these fishermen pull from the sea are dwindling and may well disappear entirely. The tsunami that devastated much of the Indian Ocean coastline forever altered the Sri Lankan shoreline and reduced access to fish using this method.

Stilt fishing in Sri Lanka

Fishing stops entirely during the annual monsoons, so nowadays it often makes financial sense for fisherman to rent their stilts to people who pose as fishermen for tourists.

“When we were sent, no one really knew if there are still fishermen or not, or if there were only these tourist fisherman, not even the Sri Lankan tourism board were able to tell us where we could find these people,” he says.

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Mercedes Benz World Driving experience

Mercedes Benz World Driving experience

Mercedes Benz World Driving experience

Set within the famous Brooklands motor racing circuit
in Weybridge, Surrey, Mercedes-Benz World is the perfect location for a thrilling Driving Experience.

On our purpose-built Under 17s driving facilities, Handling Circuits, Wet Skid Circle, Wet Straight and 10- acre off-road course, you can enjoy some of the most exhilarating driving available in the UK.

Now everyone can experience the excitement of
driving with a Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience. Get
behind the wheel and find out what makes Mercedes Benz so special.

9:00 -10:00am – Group Track Safety Briefing
10:00am – 12:00pm – 2 Hour driving experience
12:00 – 14:00pm – Private lunch in S-Class suite
14:00 – 15:00pm – Guided Tour of Mercedes-Benz
World
15:00 – 16:00pm – 1 Hour exclusive hire of Driven and
Innovation simulator zone

Mercedes-Benz World is within easy reach of the M25, making it an ideal venue for those in the south-east and London looking to hold a corporate event.

Once at the world-famous venue located on the iconic Brooklands site in Surrey, the pinnacle of German engineering awaits for your driving pleasure, whether that’s on the purpose-built circuits or the off-road course.

Mercedes Benz Driving experience

Among the awesome three-pointed cars to drive on asphalt are the AMG GT and CL AMG V8 – both packing a punch that will test the driver’s handling abilities to the limit around a variety of tracks, including the handling circuit and long straight.

You’ll also be accompanied by an expert instructor to help you get the most out the car, while ensuring safety is paramount. Indeed, at Mercedes-Benz World you’ll find the ultimate corporate driving experience, where everything is taken care of by trained professionals so your team or clients can relax and enjoy their time to the utmost.

However, if the lure of a German supercar isn’t enough then TrackDays.co.uk is also proud to offer a 4×4 corporate driving experience.

This is your chance to get behind the wheel of the incredible GLE 4×4, a critically renowned SUV that can trace its roots back more than 20 years.

The off-road area at Mercedes-Benz World is also equally impressive. It is spread over 10 acres and offers everything you’d expect from a specially designed, and in parts, technically challenging course.

Just make sure your seatbelt is nice and tight as you take on steep inclines and declines, water crossings and a variety of other challenges. Again, you won’t be expected to tackle the course alone as an expert instructor will be by your side, offering hints and tips as you go along.

Booking an experience to enjoy the excellent Mercedes-Benz World and its incredible facilities is easy to do. Simply book a voucher and then look forward to rewarding your staff or entertaining customers with an unforgettable corporate driving experience.

Mercedes-Benz World also has plenty to offer aside from fantastic driving experiences, including three floors of attractions and exhibits, plus a café and a restaurant. What are you waiting for?

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Pope John Paul II route through Krakow

Pope John Paul II route through Krakow

Pope John Paul II route through Krakow

The greatest citizen of Krakow, Poland resided in Vatican from 1978 to 2005. Before having taken over the Holy See as Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla had lived in Krakow for four decades – practically through his entire adult life until his assumption of the papacy. Here he spent his formative years as a student and then as a young priest, a theologian and a philosopher, a playwright and a poet. And here he made most of the breathtaking ascent from the position of a humble curate at Krakow’s church of St. Florian’s to university professor to Krakow bishop to cardinal to the Vicar of Christ. 

Sightseeing, the most famous place linked with a history and life of the Pope John Paul II: Before having taken over the Holy See as Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla had lived in Krakow for four decades–practically through his entire adult life until his assumption of the papacy.

Here he spent his formative years as a student and then as a young priest, a theologian and a philosopher, a playwright and a poet.  The visit starts with the Holly Mass in the Archbishop’s Palace which is Wojtyła’s last residence before leaving for the Vatican in 1978. There one can see the famous “papal window”, where John Paul II used to show up to chat and chant with the youth of Krakow during all his visits and where thousands of people lit candles and prayed during his last days.

Next visit in Krakow is of the Francis Basilica located just in front of the palace.

Discovery of the Jagiellonian University where John Pail II studied Polish language, literature and drama. Guided tour of Collegium Maius.

Finally The Main Market Square, the biggest medieval square in Europe and St Mary’s Church – one of the finest Gothic structures in the country  where John Paul II gave sermons and heard confession. And at the end: St. Florian Church in Kraków – in this church during a period from August ’49 to September ’51 Pope John Paul II served as a chaplain to the students of university and to health workers. Dinner and overnight in Krakow.

Continue the Krakow’s route of Pope John Paul II “:the  Wawel Hill  – the monument of Polish history and culture including:. * The Gothic Cathedral – the sanctuary of the nation * The Royal Castle  a long-time center of political and cultural life of the country,  decorated by the best artists from all over Europe like Bartolomeo Berecci etc.

The centerpiece of the art collections is splendid assembly of Flanders tapestries.   The most important is the cathedral where Pope John Paul II said his first Mass in the 12th-century Crypt of St. Leonard’s.  Then Kanonicza street where Father Wojtyla resided at 19 Kanonicza street from 1951 till 1958, when he became bishop;  Now both those houses are turned into the Archdiocese Museum which exhibits the church art. In the museum you can see the flat where Karol Wojtyła lived while working as a lecturer of theology.

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Walk in the footsteps of Aphrodite through Paphos

Walk in the footsteps of Aphrodite through Paphos

Walk in the footsteps of Aphrodite through Paphos

Wherever one treads in Paphos one comes across a glorious history, which dates back thousands of years, when the cult of goddess Aphrodite flourished in this beautiful part of the world attracting many visitors from inland and abroad. Still under the spell of her Beauty-goddess, the area retaining her magic has remained intact by time. It seduces its visitor with its majestic landscape, lovely coastline, historical treasures and delightful villages where tradition is still a way of life!

Walk in the footsteps of Aphrodite through Paphos

The Birthplace of Aphrodite is one of the most beautiful beaches near the city of Pafos, where locals can enjoy swimming with their families. In the water one can see the enormous rock where legend says Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, was born from the ocean.

In the myth of Aphrodite’s birth, the beautiful Goddess of Love emerges naked from the water around Cyprus. She had just been created from the foam of the sea caused by Cronus castrating his father Uranus and throwing his genitals into the water. Although Aphrodite had originally begun drifting towards the Greek island of Cythera, the wind blew her towards her spiritual home near Pafos.

According to local legend, it was on this particular beach – near the temple built at Palaipafos (Old Pafos) to worship her, as early as the Bronze Age, that she arrived, and this is why it is now known as the Birthplace of Aphrodite.

This stretch is one of the most beautiful along the southwestern part of Cyprus, with the coastline meandering along, creating coves and points. From the pebbly beach at the Birthplace of Aphrodite, you can see dramatic white cliffs in the distance. Closer to the shore, large rocks jut out from the water.

One of these rocks has been named Aphrodite Rock – partly because of the foam that is being formed at its base, which brings in mind the story of the deity’s birth. A local story is that anyone who swims around the rock will be blessed with eternal beauty.

Our search will first take us to the ancient Kingdom of Kourion, which is placed on one of the most spectacular sites on the island, with extensive archaeological ruins including well-preserved mosaics. Its Greco-Roman amphitheatre, built in the 2nd century BC, is famous for its vistas of the Mediterranean Sea.

The kingdom is also renowned for its preserved mosaic floors in the House of Eustolios, the House of Achilles and the House of the Gladiators.

Upon arrival in Paphos, we will visit the famous Mosaics of the Roman period, dating from around the 3rd century AD. These are situated in four main houses: the House of Aion, House of Dionysos, House of Orpheus and House of Theseus. They include many attention-grabbing geometrical decorations and draw inspiration from Greek mythological scenes.
Lunch will be served at a local restaurant overlooking the Castle of Paphos.

We will then continue towards Yeroskipou, just outside Paphos; where the Ayia Paraskevi church stands. Built in the 9th century AD, its 5 domes are decorated with beautiful frescoes. While in Yeroskipou, guests will have the opportunity to visit a traditional Loukoumi factory and taste this local delicacy.

On the way back to Limassol, our guests can enjoy a sunset cocktail, by Aphrodite’s rock, which according to mythology is the birthplace of the Goddess of Beauty and Love. Our guests, will be inspired by this amazing scenery and allow Aphrodite to be their hostess throughout this journey of senses, colours and experiences in beautiful Cyprus. (Dance act).

In the afternoon return back to the hotel.

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Check out the Guggenheim Art Museum in Bilbao

Check out the Guggenheim Art Museum in Bilbao

Check out the Guggenheim Art Museum in Bilbao

Did you know that there is a famous modern art museum in the world, built in an industrial port city in 1997? , which has been called “the most important piece of architecture since 1980? The architect drew his inspiration from the famous painting by Picasso “The Accordionist”.
 
Amazing, right?
 
Shimmering titanium Guggenheim Art Museum in Bilbao is one of modern architecture’s most iconic buildings. It played a major role in helping to lift Bilbao out of its post industrial depression and into the 21st century – and with sensation.
 
It sparked the city’s inspired regeneration, stimulated further development and placed Bilbao firmly in the international art and tourism spotlight.
 
Some might say that structure overwhelms function here and that the museum is more famous for its architecture than its content. But Canadian architect Frank Gehry’s inspired use of flowing canopies, cliffs, promontories, ship shapes, towers and flying fins is irresistible.
 
Gehry designed the Guggenheim Art Museum with historical and geographical contexts in mind. The site was an industrial wasteland, part of Bilbao’s wretched and decaying warehouse district on the banks of the Ría del Nervión. The city’s historical industries of shipbuilding and fishing reflected Gehry’s own interests, not least his engagement with industrial materials in previous works. The titanium tiles that sheathe most of the building like giant herring scales are said to have been inspired by the architect’s childhood fascination with fish.
 
Guggenheim Art Museum in Bilbao

Designed by Canadian American architect Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim Art Museum in Bilbao building represents a magnificent example of the most ground breaking 20th-century architecture. With 24,000 m2, of which 9.000 are dedicated to exhibition space, the Museum represents an architectural landmark of audacious configuration and innovating design, providing a seductive backdrop for the art exhibited in it.

Altogether, Gehry’s design creates a spectacular sculpture-like structure, perfectly integrated within Bilbao’s urban pattern and its surrounding area.

Frank Gehry is considered one of the most relevant and influential architects in the world. He is internationally renowned for his unique designs that incorporate new shapes and materials, and is especially sensitive towards his buildings’ surroundings. The Guggenheim Art Museum in Bilbao is one of Frank Gehry’s most celebrated works.

Set on the edge of the Nervión River in Bilbao‭, ‬Spain, the Guggenheim Museum is a fusion of complex‭, ‬swirling forms and captivating materiality that responds to an intricate program and an industrial urban context‭. ‬With over a hundred exhibitions and more than ten million visitors to its recognition‭, ‬Frank Gehry‮’‬s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao not only changed the way that architects and people think about museums, but also boosted Bilbao’s economy with its astounding success‭.‭ ‬In fact‭, ‬the phenomenon of a city‮’‬s transformation following the construction of a significant piece of architecture is now referred to as the‭ ‬‮“‬Bilbao Effect‭.‬‮”‬‭ ‬Twenty years on, the Museum continues to challenge assumptions about the connections between art and architecture‭ today.

In 1991‭, ‬the Basque government proposed to the Solomon R‭. ‬Guggenheim Foundation that it fund a Guggenheim museum to be built in Bilbao‮’‬s dilapidated port area‭, ‬once the city‮’‬s main source of income‭. ‬Appropriately‭, ‬the museum became part of a larger redevelopment plan that was meant to renew and modernize the industrial town‭. ‬Almost immediately after its opening in 1997‭, ‬the Guggenheim Bilbao became a popular tourist attraction‭, ‬drawing visitors from around the world‭. ‬

The riverside site is on the northern edge of the city center‭. ‬A road and railway line is to the south‭, ‬the river to the north‭, ‬and the concrete structure of the Salve Bridge to the east‭. ‬Making a tangible physical connection with the city‭, ‬the building circulates and extrudes around the Salve Bridge‭, ‬creates a curved riverside promenade‭, ‬and forms a generous new public plaza on the south side of the site where the city grid ends‭. ‬The building alludes landscapes‭, ‬such as the narrow passageway to the main entrance hall reminiscent of a gorge‭, or the curved walkway and water features in response to the Nervión River‭. ‬

Although the metallic form of the exterior looks almost floral from above‭, ‬from the ground the building more closely resembles a boat‭, ‬evoking the past industrial life of the port of Bilbao‭. ‬Constructed of titanium‭, ‬limestone‭, ‬and glass‭, ‬the seemingly random curves of the exterior are designed to catch the light and react to the sun and the weather‭.  ‬Fixing clips make a shallow central dent in each of the‭ .‬38mm titanium tiles‭, ‬making the surface appear to ripple in the changing light and giving an extraordinary iridescence to the overall composition‭. ‬

Because of their mathematical intricacy‭, ‬the twisting curves were designed using a 3-D design software called CATIA‭, ‬which allows for complex designs and calculations that would not have been possible a few years ago‭. ‬Essentially‭, ‬the software digitizes points on the edges‭, ‬surfaces‭, ‬and intersections of Gehry‮’‬s hand-built models to construct on-screen models that can then be manipulated in the manner of animated cartoons‭. ‬

The building‮’‬s walls and ceilings are load-bearing‭, ‬containing an internal structure of metal rods that form grids with triangles‭. ‬CATIA calculated the number of bars required in each location‭, ‬as well as the bars‮’‬‭ ‬positions and orientations‭. ‬In addition to this structure‭, ‬the walls and ceilings have several insulating layers and an outer coating of titanium‭. ‬Each piece is exclusive to its location‭, ‬determined by the CATIA software‭. ‬

The large‭, ‬light-filled atrium serves as the organizing center of the museum‭, ‬distributing 11,000‭ ‬square meters of exhibition space over nineteen galleries‭. ‬Ten of these galleries follow a classic orthogonal plan that can be identified from the exterior by a limestone finish‭. ‬The remaining nine galleries are identified from the outside by swirling organic forms clad in titanium‭. ‬The largest gallery is 30‭ ‬meters wide and 130‭ ‬meters long and houses a permanent installation called‭ ‬‮“‬The Matter of Time‮”‬‭ ‬by Richard Serra‭.‬

The socio-economic impact of the museum has been astounding‭. ‬During the first three years of operation‭, ‬almost 4‭ ‬million tourists visited the museum‮—‬generating about 500‭ ‬million in profit‭. ‬Furthermore‭, ‬the money visitors spent on hotels‭, ‬restaurants‭, ‬shops and transport collected over 100‭ ‬million in taxes‭, ‬which more than offset the cost of the building‭. ‬‬However‭, ‬the‭ ‬promise of the ‮“‬Bilbao Effect‮”‬‭ also ‬sparked a building boom in “statement” architecture across the globe, one which proved imprudent in the wake of the recent economic crisis. Nevertheless, the Museum remains an iconic structure renowned for its complexity and form.

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More Amazing Travel Facts

More Amazing Travel Facts

Explore the street food markets in Marrakesh

Explore the street food markets in Marrakesh

Explore the street food markets in Marrakesh

You can find all kinds of street food day and night across Morocco – and Marrakech is no exception. Here, we explore the best street food in the city, from sandwiches and pastries to freshly squeezed juice and more exotic dishes.

It’s time to venture off in to the square, stopping at four food stalls, all personally tested and recommended by the team.

Depending on guests’ dietary preferences, they may have the opportunity to sample a traditional Marrakchi dish cooked underground on the coals that heat the hammam.

Or tuck in to a sweet-savoury dish typically consumed during Ramadan.

Try the hundred kinds of olives, taste the Marrakchi olive oil, honey…

And of course for the more daring, sheep’s tongue or cheek. If a must-try list includes snails, take a pit stop at the snail stalls and slurp back the flavourful broth.

Explore the street food markets in Marrakesh

Particularly popular in Marrakech, snails can be found everywhere in the square and marketplace Jemaa El-Fnaa. This flavoursome broth is supposed to have restorative and digestive benefits. This is almost reason enough to try it. If that weren’t tempting enough, however, these distinctive chocolate-brown snails are tender with a delicious savoury taste. What’s more, they are served in a broth bursting with flavours and spices.

The oranges found in Morocco are famous worldwide, so it’s no surprise that you can find some of the best orange juice on the streets of Marrakech. They are sourced from the countless orange trees in the limitless alleys and courtyards in the city.

You can get a full glass of this refreshing, tangy juice, perfect for recovering after a long day of exploring in the sun. Also, it’s a must when wandering through Jemaa El-Fnaa.

Originating in Fez, but also plentiful on the streets of Marrakech, b’stilla is a special pie with layers of paper-thin pastry. It is traditionally stuffed with pigeon meat, almonds, eggs and lots of fresh spices. Nowadays, you can also find this pastry stuffed with fillings such as chicken or fish.

Often eaten as a starter, b’stilla offers a combination of sweet and salty and a crisp but doughy texture. For a taste of authentic Morocco, be sure to pick up one or two of these little pastries from a street seller.

This traditional Moroccan soup can be found all year round, but it’s particularly popular during Ramadan and one of the first things eaten to break the fast. This flavoursome, golden-coloured soup is rich with tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas and sometimes noodles, with meat an occasional addition.

You can find this served in little cups or bowls out on the street, and it’s a popular option sure to please even the fussiest eaters.

Although many people may be a little repulsed by this at first, try to be open-minded and sample a popular delicacy on the streets of Marrakech. Try a mixed plate of offal, tongue, head scrapings and a bit of the rest of the sheep. The whole head costs a little bit more but makes quite a meal. While it’s not a roadside snack you’d find in Western countries, you’ll find more than one stall in Marrakech offering this delicacy.

Unusual yet delicious, sheep’s head is a definite recommendation for the more adventurous foodie.

Chebakia is a Moroccan sesame cookie, moulded into a flower-like shape and fried before it is coated with masses of syrup or honey. Extremely sweet and addictive, these delicious sugary delights are a must-try.

It’s a favourite during Ramadan, and households often produce buckets full of these treats each year. Buying some from the streets is recommended – the factory-made versions simply don’t compare.

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Discover Athens by bike

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Discover Athens by bike

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Discover Athens by bike

A 9 km ride passing by all “must see” locations of ancient Athens.

From our starting point, on Donyssiou Areopagitou (in front of Dionyssos Restaurant and by the Roman Theater of Herod Atticus), we will ride down the big walkway until the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch, the gateway to the city in Roman times.

On this enjoyable guided cycling tour around Acropolis we don’t lose sight of this wonderful jewel of Athens even while enjoying our refreshments and cake on our 30 minutes stop at Thission neighborhood!

After crossing a pedestrianised path on the slopes of Filopappou hill, we will end the bicycle trip at the
beginning point, on the slopes of the Acropolis.

Our Athens bike tour is the best way to have fun while cycling and uncovering the charms of Athens. Ride around the historic centre and enjoy Athens monuments at a relaxed pace, using a safe, traffic-free route.

You will get to know Athens from a different point of view, passing by all the must-see locations and many hidden spots. It is the best half day activity and such a fun introduction for first time visitors. You will explore areas that you wouldn’t reach by bus or on foot!
Our bike tour will make your stay in Athens the most pleasant one and it is definitely a must-do activity while in Athens and Greece.

In 2019 we were ranked among the top 25 activities in the WORLD, based on the Trip Advisor and the Get your Guide annual awards!

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Best view of Sydney Harbour

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Best view of Sydney Harbour

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Best view of Sydney Harbour

BridgeClimb is the quintessential Sydney ‘To Do’. Enjoyed by thousands of international visitors worldwide, BridgeClimb is a Sydney must, see panoramic views from the top of this Australian icon.

BridgeClimb is a 3½ hour adventure and an experience that will never be forgotten on one of the world’s modern wonders.… The Sydney Harbour Bridge. The BridgeClimb experience begins with a comprehensive briefing and safety demonstration to prepare climbers for the climb of their lives!

Absorb a 360 degree panorama of Sydney whilst journeying to the summit on the original Climb experience. 

Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for exhilaration and view one of the best panoramas of the beautiful city and beyond, including the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

You’ll scale the bridge with BridgeClimb Sydney in The Rocks. There are a range of climbs, including the 3.5 hour tour and a shorter 90 minute tour. Climbs are available at dawn, during the day, at twilight or in the evening.

An ideal climb for those with limited time is the 90-minute BridgeClimb Sampler. You’ll follow an express route half way to the summit. Throughout the year, BridgeClimb also has climbs to celebrate festivals including Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras and Vivid Sydney. 

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Group travel on the rise in 2022

Spotlight on…

Spotlight on
Group travel on the rise in 2022

 

Daily travel news

Group travel on the rise in 2022

Group travel is on the rise in the United States with “on-the-books” group advance occupancy rates already exceeding performance for 2021 and 2020, according to a report.

Amadeus has looked at data from its Demand360 technology to reveal the increasing rates as well as highlight trends in U.S. group business for 2022.

While business is improving, group travel requirements have changed with event RFPs for groups of as many as 50 people rising to 63% in 2022 compared to 58% in 2019.

In addition, average lead times have decreased from 223 days in 2019 to 193 days last year.

The report also reveals that teams are having to do more with less, with the need for sales and operations teams to handle more smaller projects with reduced employees.

Data is key, however, with hotels able to use guest profile insights to open to up new revenue streams as well as share potential bookings across properties within a portfolio.

The report points to concepts such as those introduced by Accor enabling local businesses and homeworkers to use hotel facilities.

Daniel O’Keefe, senior vice president hotel property solutions for hospitality at Amadeus, says: “While the picture for 2022 is still evolving, there is cause for realistic optimism in the U.S., where signs are pointing toward a continuation of the momentum that built around group travel in Q4 of 2021.

“One of the key takeaways from this report is the importance of both historical and forward-looking data as a prerequisite for overcoming a number of the challenges facing meetings and events executives during a pandemic. In the context of reduced sales and operations teams, accurate data and information is critical, and teams need the expertise to act on it efficiently.”

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Marriott expanding in Vietnam with 30 new hotels

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Marriott expanding in Vietnam with 30 new hotels

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April 8, 2022 – Marriott expanding in Vietnam with 30 new hotels

With the reopening of Vietnam’s borders, Marriott International has announced plans to expand its portfolio in Vietnam, expecting to add nearly 9,000 rooms within the company’s portfolio, as well as debuting brands Ritz-Carlton Residences, Marriott Hotels, Westin, and Courtyard by Marriott.

“Vietnam experienced impressive pre-pandemic economic growth driven in part by coordinated development policies and the strong investment in infrastructure,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International. “Our growth in Vietnam reflects the trust our local owners and franchisees continue to have in Marriott International, and we look forward to presenting them with opportunities to leverage our comprehensive portfolio of 30 brands, as well as our strong distribution network.”

Premium Brands Lead the Way
Marriott’s premium brands continue to resonate in Vietnam. As the most global brand within the portfolio, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, expects to make its debut in several new destinations across Vietnam, including on the Emerald Island of Phu Quoc, the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay, the “City of Eternal Springs” Dalat and the shores of Binh Chau. A stylish new Renaissance Hotels is planned to open in the seafront city of Danang, while Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts plans to debut in Danang and Cam Ranh.

The flagship Marriott Hotels brand is expected to debut in Hanoi, and Hoi An, while the Westin – the company’s leading wellness brand – is expected to open in Hanoi and Cam Ranh. Marriott Executive Apartments, the popular longer-stay brand, is also slated to start welcoming guests in Danang.

Select Service Brands Continue Rapid Growth
Marriott’s select service portfolio is driving strong momentum for growth in Vietnam, providing a range of offerings for both domestic and international travelers. Fairfield by Marriott is slated to be introduced in locations such as Vinh Yen, Ha Long and Hanoi, while several Courtyard by Marriott hotels are expected to open across Danang, Ha Long and Nha Trang.

A Burgeoning Branded Residences Market
Marriott continues to lead the branded residential segment with nearly 190 projects open or in development worldwide. Asia Pacific (excluding China) is one of the world’s fastest growing regions for branded residences, led in part by significant growth in Vietnam where Marriott International anticipates opening several Marriott branded residences over the next four years.

In 2021, the company announced a milestone branded residential project that is expected to include close to 4,200 dual-branded residential and officetel units in Ho Chi Minh City. The project is expected to serve as the world’s largest hotel-branded residential project and is slated to open in phases in late 2024. The highly anticipated The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Hanoi also expects to make its debut in Vietnam in 2024.

“Vietnam is a vibrant destination and has over the years experienced record levels of tourism as international travelers flocked to the country and domestic travelers began to discover the many wonders available in their own backyard,” said Jakob Helgen, Area Vice President – Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia & Myanmar, Marriott International. “With the recent reopening of borders, we are hopeful for Vietnam to rebound rapidly, and we are excited to expand across even more parts of this captivating country.”

Marriott International currently operates ten properties in Vietnam, comprising 3,294 rooms and spanning six of the company’s brands. These hotels and resorts are located across six key business and leisure destinations including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc and Binh Duong.

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Taste wine at Krimulda Manor in Sigulda, Latvia

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Taste wine at Krimulda Manor in Sigulda, Latvia

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Taste wine at Krimulda Manor in Sigulda, Latvia

Sigulda, a town in the Vidzeme Region, is situated in the most picturesque part of the primeval Gauja valley. Reddish devon sandstone forms steep rocks and caves on both banks of the river. Because of this, since time immemorial Sigulda has been called the Switzerland of Vidzeme.

Exciting excursion along the Krimulda Manor’s historical center with medieval castle ruins, the Krimulda Swiss house and the Castle park. The walk around the Manor house salon, halls and rooms will be accompanying by stories about facts and people destinies of the Krimulda Manor. Krimulda manor with its coziness and ancient aura, amazing views overlooking Gauja river valley is an extraordinary wonderful place.

Group will be welcomed to meet the home wine making process in the Krimulda Manor and to taste the home wine, which is prepared by using different berries and recipes. The real taste of wine best appears enjoying with listening to the stories about life in the Krimulda Manor!

An exciting excursion along Krimulda manor house historical centre is possible. When you visit the wine workshop you will be met by winemaker Jānis.

Afterward, the degustation of several wines will follow and there will be a possibility to buy wine.

During the degustation, the secrets of wine and calvados making will be revealed, and you will be able to taste drinks made at manor house winery.

At Krimulda manor house the wine is made of local forest and garden berries – red bilberries, cranberries, raspberries, black currants, gooseberries, sea buckthorn berries, as well as from dandelion and lilac blooms.

“People come, make war and leave, but the majestic and mysterious spirit of the Krimulda valley stays as it was and will be forever…” said Paul Liewen

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New Year 2022

Waldorf Astoria debuts in Australia in 2025

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Waldorf Astoria to debut in Australia in 2025

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April 7, 2022 – Waldorf Astoria to debut in Australia in 2025

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts this week announced its expansion into Australia with the signing of Waldorf Astoria Sydney. The hotel is part of AW One Circular Quay’s mixed-use development, One Circular Quay, a harborside site. Waldorf Astoria Sydney will offer views of the Harbour Bridge as well as the Opera House.

Construction has begun on the 28-floor, 220-key luxury hotel, which is expected to open in early 2025.
 
Tokyo-based Kengo Kuma & Associates and Sydney-based Crone Architects will oversee the architecture. In all, there will be 179 guest rooms and 41 suites, as well as a Waldorf Astoria Spa on the first floor. Waldorf Astoria Sydney will “celebrate Sydney’s gastronomic excellence” with two original restaurant concepts, as well as a rooftop bar offering city and bridge views.

When it opens, the hotel will join a portfolio of more than 30 operating hotels under the brand, with 20 additional properties in the pipeline.

The new Sydney hotel will mark the brand’s first expansion into Australasia and will become the seventh Waldorf Astoria hotel in the Asia Pacific region.

Located in the One Circular Quay mixed-use development at 1 Alfred Street, which includes an adjoining 61-level luxury apartment tower, the hotel will be within walking distance of some of the city’s top shopping destinations and most prominent attractions. Beyond the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, these include the Royal Botanic Gardens and Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Stricter environmental measures for cruise ships in Canada

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Stricter environmental measures for cruise ships in Canada

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April 07, 2022 – Stricter environmental measures for cruise ships in Canada

This week, the government of Canada, in coordination with industry, announced new environmental measures for cruise ships in Canadian waters that exceed international standards.

For the 2022 season, cruise operators will implement stricter environmental measures regarding greywater and blackwater (greywater is defined as the drainage from sinks, laundry machines, bathtubs, shower stalls or dishwashers and blackwater is defined as the wastewater from bathrooms and toilets).

The measures include:
  • Prohibiting the discharge of greywater and treated blackwater within three nautical miles from shore where geographically possible
  • Treating greywater together with blackwater before it is discharged between three and 12 nautical miles from shore to the greatest extent possible
  • Strengthening the treatment of blackwater between three and 12 nautical miles from shore using an approved treatment device
  • Reporting to Transport Canada compliance with these measures as they relate to discharges made within Canadian waters.

These measures will better protect Canada’s oceans and the marine environment and will support the work that is underway to conserve 25 percent of Canada’s oceans by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030. Although currently only in effect for 2022, the government of Canada plans to make these changes permanent.

In a statement, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), said, “Transport Canada’s announcement [Monday] regarding new environmental measures is a result of ongoing dialogue with the cruise industry and reflects the industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship and continually advancing environmental sustainability practices.”

It continued: “CLIA cruise line members have instituted industry policies that in many cases are more comprehensive than national and international regulations on wastewater discharges. For example, CLIA members must implement a mandatory CLIA policy to not discharge untreated sewage in the ocean, anywhere, anytime, under normal operations even though international regulations allow such discharges within specific guidelines.

Many CLIA members’ ships are equipped with Advanced Waste Treatment Systems (AWTS), and all new ship builds will use AWTS, which treat wastewater to a tertiary level, a higher standard than wastewater treatment facilities in some coastal cities in both the United States and Canada.”

Canada Cruising Resumes

As announced in early March, cruising in Canada was OK’d cruising from the start of April. Health measures in place include all crew and passengers being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and passengers being required to take a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours before boarding a cruise ship or taking an antigen test within one day of boarding a cruise ship.

“CLIA applauds Canada’s decision to welcome cruise ships back for a 2022 season,” the association said this week. “This decision allows the tourism sector to start rebuilding the 30,000 jobs and more than $4 billion in economic activity that were generated by the cruise industry across Canada prior to 2020, while strengthening connections to neighbouring regions.”

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What's cooking in Italy - Carbonara

What’s cooking in Italy – Carbonara

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What’s cooking? World recipes

What's cooking in Italy - Carbonara

What’s cooking in Italy – Carbonara

Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish from Rome made with egg, hard cheese, cured pork, and black pepper. The dish arrived at its modern form, with its current name, in the middle of the 20th century.
 
The cheese is usually Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or a combination of the two. Spaghetti is the most common pasta, but fettuccine, rigatoni, linguine, or bucatini are also used. Normally guanciale or pancetta are used for the meat component, but lardons of smoked bacon are a common substitute outside Italy
 
As with many recipes, the origins of the dish and its name are obscure; however, most sources trace its origin to the region of Lazio.
 
The dish forms part of a family of dishes involving pasta with bacon, cheese and pepper, one of which is pasta alla gricia. Indeed, it is very similar to pasta cacio e uova, a dish dressed with melted lard and a mixture of eggs and cheese, which is documented as long ago as 1839, and, according to some researchers and older Italians, may have been the pre-Second World War name of carbonara.
 
There are many theories for the origin of the name carbonara, which is likely more recent than the dish itself. Since the name is derived from carbonaro (the Italian word for ‘charcoal burner’), some believe the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers.
 
Ingredients
100g pancetta
50g pecorino cheese
50g parmesan
3 large eggs
350g spaghetti
2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
50g unsalted butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
 
Method
STEP 1
Put a large saucepan of water on to boil.
 
STEP 2
Finely chop the 100g pancetta, having first removed any rind. Finely grate 50g pecorino cheese and 50g parmesan and mix them together.
 
STEP 3
Beat the 3 large eggs in a medium bowl and season with a little freshly grated black pepper. Set everything aside.
 
STEP 4
Add 1 tsp salt to the boiling water, add 350g spaghetti and when the water comes back to the boil, cook at a constant simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until al dente (just cooked).
 
STEP 5
Squash 2 peeled plump garlic cloves with the blade of a knife, just to bruise it.
 
STEP 6
While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the pancetta with the garlic. Drop 50g unsalted butter into a large frying pan or wok and, as soon as the butter has melted, tip in the pancetta and garlic.
 
STEP 7
Leave to cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the pancetta is golden and crisp. The garlic has now imparted its flavour, so take it out with a slotted spoon and discard.
 
STEP 8
Keep the heat under the pancetta on low. When the pasta is ready, lift it from the water with a pasta fork or tongs and put it in the frying pan with the pancetta. Don’t worry if a little water drops in the pan as well (you want this to happen) and don’t throw the pasta water away yet.
 
STEP 9
Mix most of the cheese in with the eggs, keeping a small handful back for sprinkling over later.
 
STEP 10
Take the pan of spaghetti and pancetta off the heat. Now quickly pour in the eggs and cheese. Using the tongs or a long fork, lift up the spaghetti so it mixes easily with the egg mixture, which thickens but doesn’t scramble, and everything is coated.
 
STEP 11
Add extra pasta cooking water to keep it saucy (several tablespoons should do it). You don’t want it wet, just moist. Season with a little salt, if needed.
 
STEP 12
Use a long-pronged fork to twist the pasta on to the serving plate or bowl. Serve immediately with a little sprinkling of the remaining cheese and a grating of black pepper. If the dish does get a little dry before serving, splash in some more hot pasta water and the glossy sauciness will be revived.
 
Interested in cooking classes in Italy to taste this dish?
 
 

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