Exploring Spain

The bang of road trip adventures is unbeatable no matter where you go for your vacation, and the same applies when you hop over to Spain. There are countless road trips snake-lining all over country which lead to secluded hidden treasures for you to uncover. Among others, exploring Basque country on your car is a must, for you can explore deep inside the region destinations not approachable by buses or trains.

Bizkaia

Visit the hub of the Basque country where a massive puppy is poising as the ‘His Master’s Voice’ in front of the Guggenheim museum. It is an amusing piece of architect with wire frame, stuffed with 25 tons of soil where plants have grown to cover its body. The museum as a whole is a world-class affair built with titanium, glass, steel, and limestone. Then there are other astonishing exhibits to steal your hearts. Drive around the old town, visit other attractions or hit the road and head to Axpe, a tiny village that will introduce your taste buds to the local cuisine flavours, either smoked or grilled over the embers.

Guest Posts

London: Shopping, Museums and Theatre Galore

Editor’s Note: This post is provided by Lucy C.

It’s fair to say that London is a melting pot of experiences that are just waiting for you to explore them. From the sights and sounds of the major attractions, to the cultural hit of the museums, London has it all. If you’re planning on a visit to the city at some point in the near future, to see what all the fuss is about, book a room with Travelodge and make the most out of your time in the Big Smoke.

If you’ve never been to London before, it can be extremely overwhelming. There’s so much to see and do that picking an itinerary that suits you down to the ground can be a difficult task. Is it a spot of retail therapy that you’re after? An art gallery to peruse? Or a theatre trip that you’ll never forget? Whatever you wish to do during your stay, there’s bound to be a part of London that can provide you with what you’re looking for. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Guest Posts

Don’t hold yourself back from achieving your dreams

That man on the plane

I boarded my flight from LAX to JFK and saw that I had an aisle seat on the last row. Soon after my plane neighbor arrived and grabbed the window seat.

So, were you visiting LA, or do you live there?”.

Turned out his family was actually from Italy, but his parents moved to New York two years before he was born and he was now living in Santa Barbara with his (American) wife and kids.

Our conversation took off and we first got the typical questions out of the way: where did we live, what did we do for a living, did we have a partner, children, a house, a dog – no wait, I don’t think we asked anything about a dog.

Of course the man, let’s call him C., also wanted to know what I thought about Los Angeles.

I told him I’d absolutely loved it.

Guest Posts Travel Tips

Preparing for Songkran

Editor’s note: This post is written and provided by Momondo.

Songkran is the celebration of the Thai New Year and it’s essentially a three-day, country-wide water fight. While this festival is often a place for visitors to come and participate in the revelry, there is more to the festivities than New Year’s celebrations: statues of Buddha are washed and cleaned, and temples and homes are purified.

Of course, getting through Songkran can be a challenge, but if you’re well prepared, you’ll have a great time. Preparation is key of course, so here are a few tips to help with your arrangements.

What exactly happens during Songkran? Should I be worried?

Songkran can be very overwhelming. Thousands of people gathered in the streets throwing buckets of water and powder at each other – the thought is unsettling – but there’s no need to be worried! The festival is about purification, and the country has a very convivial atmosphere. Be prepared to get drenched and don’t be surprised if people offer to wash your hands, it’s a friendly gesture.

Of course when you give people buckets of water, water guns and hoses, things can get out of hand – especially in places where there are a lot of travellers. Just keep an eye out – though not too wide or you might end up with talc in it!

Which cities should I go to?

Songkran is celebrated among several communities across Thailand and choosing your city depends on the experience you’re looking for.

There are famous (infamous?) Songkran cities, like Chiang Mai and Bangkok, where you will have colourful parades and thousands of people on trucks throwing buckets of water at each other.

Alternatively, cities like Nong Khai and Khon Kaen have smaller celebrations and more of an emphasis on the tradition with folk plays and food fairs.

It’s up to you to decide where you would spend Songkran, though another option would be to visit a few places since they are held on different days in some cities!

How should I prepare? What should I bring?

You will be soaked. Accept it. Thailand is really hot at that time of year so you won’t be cold or anything. Keep a stock of balloons, water guns and buckets – though you will find stalls on the roadsides that sell these things.

Be mindful of the clothes you bring with you. Don’t pack Prada unless you intend on wearing a waterproof jacket the entire time – and even then…

Wear comfortable shoes that dry quickly. Cheap flip-flops aren’t the greatest idea – you’ll feel quite sorry when they break and you have to run around the streets of Bangkok barefoot! Wear waterproof sunscreen – it’s hot out there.

What should I not bring?

Leave your personal belongings in your hotel if you don’t want them wet. Cell phones, cameras, iPads … they’re all better left in your room. Of course, if you really want photos, investing in a waterproof cover and lens protector is a sensible idea.

If you’re planning a trip to Songkran, check out flight comparison website momondo – they’ll help you find excellent value flights to Bangkok!

Happy Songkran!

 

 

Guest Posts

Where to take photos in Puerto Rico

The US territory of Puerto Rico is a fascinating place to visit: It’s got folklore, bio-luminescent plankton, great diving spots and a unique cuisine. But whatever initially lures you to the island be sure to charge the battery on your camera. With scenic overlooks through winding mountains roads, rushing waterfalls and beaches in every direction Puerto Rico is one of the most photogenic islands in the Caribbean.

From the Plane

Even before landing in Puerto Rico the island shows its photogenic self. In fact, the entire plane ride from southern Florida to the San Juan airport lends itself nicely to stunning views. So be sure to request a window seat on the right side of the plane keeping in mind that the wing can get in your way of taking unobstructed photographs. From the perfect seat you can get great areal shots of Puerto Rican coastline.

Puerto Rico coast from the plane

Puerto Rico coast from the plane

Las Croabas

Just north of the city of Fajardo in northeast Puerto Rico lies the beach community of Las Croabas. This isn’t just any beach, however as it is surrounded by mangroves and a short kayak ride will take you to see the bio-luminescent plankton in the bay. It is also home to very delicious authentic mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rico dish. Due to much activity on the water, Las Croabas is the perfect place to get multi-layered pictures, with birds on the beach in the foreground, a small harbor with boats in the middle ground and the ocean and if you’re lucky even the moon in the background, creating the perfect postcard shot!

Sailboats at Las Croabas, Puerto Rico

Las Croabas, Puerto Rico

Ponce Beach

Located at the very south of the main island just off of Route 10, Ponce Beach looks out over the Caribbean Sea. In addition to its soft sand, the water is a beautiful shade of blue, very clear and sparkles in the sun. Sprinkled along the shore are small mangrove trees making Ponce Beach the perfect place to capture a serene beach scene. It may be hard to actual take pictures here though as you may find yourself compelled to put down the camera and just relax on the beach.

Ponce Beach, Puerto Rico

Ponce Beach, Puerto Rico

El Yunque Peak

What better place to get panoramic pictures than from the top of a mountain! El Yunque Mountain is located in El Yunque National Park about 50 minutes outside of the capital of San Juan. To reach the peak, park your car at the Palo Colorado Information Center and follow the trail marked Pico El Yunque. About two hours later you will be rewarded with watching fog roll over the mountains draped with lush green rain forest all set to the backdrop of the sea and Vieques Island in the distance.

View from the peak of El Yunque in Puerto Rico

View from the peak of El Yunque

Ruta Panoramica

A short 1 hour drive north of Ponce routes 128 and 129 are appropriately named Ruta Panoramica (Panoramic Route). These two roads will lead you on windy roads through the jungle filled mountains with scenic lookouts at almost every turn. Be sure to add more time to your trip to allow for pulling over and snapping shots of valleys and mountain ranges in every direction.

Gorgeous vista along Ruta Panoramica in Puerto Rico

Gorgeous vista along Ruta Panoramica

Viewpoint along Ruta Panoramica in Puerto Rico

Viewpoint along Ruta Panoramica

From the San Juan Fort

The San Juan Fort is strategically placed on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, making it an excellent vantage point for taking photographs of the vast ocean and the coastline. Although I’m sure the architects of this historic fort did not have picture taking in mind, the lookout points once used for military reasons, can easily be re-purposed for photographers.

View of the fort from San Juan, Puerto Rico

View of the fort from San Juan

Have you been to Puerto Rico or is it on your bucket list?

Guest Posts Travel Tips

The Quirky Guide to NYC


Editor’s Note: This post is written and provided by Smart Save.

We’ve put together five fascinating and off-beat things to do in the Big Apple – make sure you get yourself there and get involved quick, before the masses find out! Whether you choose to walk on the wild side with rock royalty, or you have a taste for quirky NYC artefacts, it’s possible to see a fascinating underside of the Big Apple with a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise.

The City Reliquary Museum
City reliquary, bklyn

This is a quaint little Brooklyn museum that contains ephemera and trinkets from NYC history. The City Reliquary includes full-scale models of the USS Monitor – a Civil War steamship – along with hand drawn illustrations of the city’s landmarks and random treasures from the 1964 World’s Fair. This is definitely a place for die-hard history buffs to discover, a not-for-profit community museum that takes a quirky look at history through a series of both permanent and changing exhibitions.  

The Green-Wood Cemetery

The Green-Wood Cemetery provides a final resting place for many famous New Yorkers such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein and William “Boss” Tweed. This cemetery is more than a just place where you can discover interesting gravestones and look for ghosts – it’s beautiful, peaceful and has one of the highest viewpoints in the borough. From the peak of Battle Hill you can see Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and of course that inimitable skyline.

A TV Addict’s Paradise

Travellers with square eyes and a passion for the box should head to the Paley Center for Media. This is the holding location for around 150,000 clips from TV shows, radio programmes and podcasts. It’s got a calendar packed with talks from TV producers, wellknown actors, screen writers and journalists, all wanting to discuss the merits and downsides of shows like Breaking Bad, Dexter and more.

A Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour of NYC

Famed rock historian Bobby Pinn leads a two hour tour around New York’s East Village area. This takes in the legendary CBGB nightclub and famous old rock residences, such as the Christodora House, once home to the notorious Iggy Pop. The East Village was once a poor neighbourhood but had its street cred revived with the Punk movement in the 1970s. This is a fascinating tour of New York’s underground music scene, with discussion of the Ramones, New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, the Velvet Underground, The Clash, Led Zeppelin and more. It’s a definite must for any rock or punk aficionado.

Coney Island Baby

A fascinating part of New York that’s often off the tourist radar is Coney Island. This place has had a chequered history. A refurbishment of the boardwalk area in the past decade has increased its popularity and there’s an intriguing history here, made all the more cool because of Lou Reed’s eponymous album. Nowadays there are plenty of beachgoers and hot dog stands plus it’s possible to find out all about Coney Island at the museum.

Image: City Reliquary Museum in NYC by Clementine Gallot used under creative commons license: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7476739@N05/3362864490/

Author Bio:

 

Walter Channing was born and brought up in New York City and he loves every inch of it from the café on the corner of his road to the skyscrapers of Times Square. When he is not spending time in his home city he is often on the road travelling America from east to west in search of new experiences, visiting friends and generally following his heart.  

 

 

Guest Posts

Surfer’s Paradise: Where to Surf in Barbados

Editor’s Note: This post is sponsored y Travel Bag.

Barbados is a mecca for surfers. The island is situated in the Atlantic Ocean and boasts warm clear water that is perfect for surfing. There are spots that cater to all levels of experience, from beginners to veteran surfers.

The best time to visit is between October and March as waves range from 2 to 12 feet in the north, and 1 to 8 feet around the rest of the island. If you go outside of this time, waves are an average of 2 to 6 feet.

If you are planning a surfing trip to Barbados, you can consult this helpful list of the best places in Barbados to surf.

Soup Bowl

If you want to surf, Soup Bowl is the place you need to visit. This location sports world-class waves that are enjoyed by local surfers as well as travellers. The waves here are powerful and have a lot of water behind them. They are deep and thick, making them a lot of fun to ride. The beach is relatively quiet, providing you with room to surf. Watch out for urchins, rips and undertow. It is advisable to wear protective footwear.

Surfer’s Point

Surfers Point, also known as Arawak Inn, is a favourite spot amongst surfers in Barbados. It is located on the south east coast and provides consistent waves. This location is great for longboarding, but also provides smaller waves ideal for beginners and kids. The waves are not too powerful, but you should watch out for rocks.

Duppies

Duppies is great for serious and experienced surfers. It has a powerful break. It is advisable to speak with locals before heading out to get an idea of the conditions. Duppies waves are renowned for being fast and powerful. It is best to go out when the tides are low. This beach is quieter in the week compared to weekends. When you surf here, watch out for rips and undertow.

Cattle Wash

Cattle Wash, also known as Sand Bank, is north of Soup Bowl. This location is great for experienced surfers as it enjoys regular waves. Some waves here can become powerful, making them great to surf.

Parlour

Parlour, also known as Mushroom Rock, is ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers. It is one of the most consistent locations in the area, and offers some fast and powerful waves. The great thing about it is that the beaches stay relatively empty. This is another spot where protective footwear is advisable as there are urchins and rocks, as well as rips and undertow to watch out for.

Brandon’s

Brandon’s is great for beginners and surfers of all experience levels. The location is relaxed and quiet most of the time, which takes the pressure off of first timers. It is best to go here when the tides are at mid to low levels.

 

Guest Posts