Efteling: A World of Wonders

Author: Tracy Taylor

Cover photo: Tracy Taylor© all rights reserved

If you are looking for a fun-filled family adventure during your visit to The Netherlands, then look no further…the Efteling is for you! While there are many wonderful theme parks in The Netherlands, this one is the largest in the country and one of the oldest theme parks in the world. It is a fantasy-themed theme park in Kaatsheuvel, North Brabant, Netherlands. The attractions reflect elements from ancient myths and legends, fairytales, and folklore. There is something there for everyone…and no worries because it is open all year round! I recently got a chance to visit this theme park for the first time and it was definitely some of the most fun I’ve had in a while.

Continue reading “Efteling: A World of Wonders”

Rainy Turin

Author: Lisa Egman

Turin is a regal city in the north-west of Italy, in Piemonte Region. Flanked by the Alps, crossed by the Po river, the city is fascinating in every season, but in my opinion it takes a better shade with the rain.

Continue reading “Rainy Turin”

Spring in Stockholm

Author: Lisa Egman

Grey sky and cold weather, that’s what you probably imagine when someone mention Stockholm. It is likely true, most of the time, but there is something marvellous we call spring, that is able to give a touch of colour and warm to the most frigid environment. So, how does Stockholm, the city built on an archipelago of islands, look during springtime? Absolutely gorgeus, and I am here to suggest you how to enjoy it during the long, sunny Swedish days.

Continue reading “Spring in Stockholm”

Amsterdam by day and by night

Author: Tracy Taylor

Cover photo: inews.co.uk

If you are planning to take a trip to Amsterdam, then you are in luck. No matter the time of day there is ALWAYS something to do which means you will never be bored. The capital of the Netherlands is a unique city in many ways; from its characteristic architecture and canals to its liberal laws on drugs and prostitution. Below you will see some of my favorite things to do when I am in this amazing city. Continue reading “Amsterdam by day and by night”

Seollal: What to do in Seoul for the holiday

Author: Tracy Taylor

Cover photo: visitkorea.or.kr

Happy Lunar New Year everyone! In Korea, Seollal, or Lunar New Year, is one of the biggest holidays of the year and is definitely something you don’t want to miss. This year, the dates for the holiday celebration fall on February 4th to the 6th. 2019 is even more special because it is the year of the golden pig, which only comes every 60 years. This zodiac year is believed to bring prosperity and good luck to people. During the holiday period, many Koreans head back to their hometown to see their families and pay respect to ancestors. As most people head out of Seoul during this time to see their families, the city that is usually bustling with people becomes a lot more peaceful and quieter. BUT…this doesn’t mean it is a ghost town with nothing to do! For those of you intimidated by visiting a big city with almost 10 million people, this is your chance to avoid some of the hustle, bustle, and crowds and get a chance to see some awesome attraction in Seoul.

While it is true that many shops and department stores will be closed, there are many other attractions and events going on around Seoul that you can be a part of!

 

  1. National Folk Museum

Many people might say museums are boring places to visit, but during Lunar New Year the National Folk Museum is a hopping place! It is located in Gyeongbokgung Palace (I mean, who doesn’t like a good palace!) and offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. There are several hand-on exhibitions such as arts and crafts and traditional folk games. Some traditional games you can learn to play are: paengichigi (top spinning), jegichagi (hacky sack) and yutnori (a board game where you throw sticks). Trust me when I say…yutnori is both challenging and addictive, and yet SO MUCH FUN!

 

  1. Korean Folk Village

If you like culture, but museums are not your thing, then try something bit more immersive. The Korean Folk Village also hosts several Seollal events such as folk games and traditional Korean music performances. The Korean Folk Village was developed by moving and restoring real houses from all over the country to replicate a village from the Joseon period. There are four typical cultural performances: Nong-ak play, tightrope play, horseback martial arts, and a traditional wedding. Moreover, the folk village offers cultural experience like coloring ceramics, horseback riding, etc.

 

  1. Korean Royal Palaces

The royal palaces are always a must see no matter what time of year you visit Seoul, but Seollal is the perfect time to go. Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung are all open during the Lunar New Year holiday and offer several different programs for visitors. Programs include traditional rituals and games, activities that you can participate in and performances like the famous “changing of the guards” ceremony with the palace as the perfect backdrop. You can also have an in-depth tour of the Korean royal.

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Photo source: wikipedia.org
  1. Han River Ferry Cruise

If you love city skylines and scenic views, then the best way to enjoy Seoul is on the Han River ferry cruise. You can see some of the most famous landmarks on the cruise such as Namsan Seoul Tower, the 63 Building, and the Sports Complex. Day or night, this cruise is sure to please. During Seollal the cruise also offers live music performances and fireworks. If you want something a bit more luxurious and romantic, they also offer a luxurious buffet cruise. This is a great way to spend the holiday with someone special with amazing food, live music and fireworks.

 

  1. Amusement Parks

Maybe you want to do something unique for the holiday. Or maybe you need to find something that will please everyone in the family. Either way, another fantastic option is to check out one of the many amusement parks. Korea’s 3 best theme parks; Lotte World, Everland, and Seoul Land are all open during Seollal and they offer various attractions and Seollal-themed events like sledding, light shows, and parades. If you are thinking… “No way, it will be too cold to spend all that time outside!” Then no worries because Lotte World is the world’s largest INDOOR theme park. With rides both inside and out, there is something for everyone no matter the weather.

 

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Photo source: habkorea.net

 

Other major tourist attractions that are also open during the Korean Lunar New Year holiday period include the COEX Aquarium and Namsan Seoul Tower. So, I hope you get the chance to check out Seoul during Lunar New Year. It is definitely worth the trip and there is no need to worry about everything being closed.

새해 복 많이 받으세요!

 

 

Kazan, pearl of Tatarstan

Author: Lisa Egman

Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan region and the sixth city in Russia in terms of population. The name comes from “bowl”: this is geographically explained because of the hollow the city is located in, at the confluence of Volga River and Kazanka River. Of course there is also a romantic legend, that tells the story of a Tatar princess who was making her dishes in the Volga River and accidentally lost a bowl there. Another version is about the son of a Bulgar governor, who dropped a copper cauldron in the river that in this way became the Kazanka River. On the web you can find a lot more prosaic version, as the one comparing the hill on which the city seats to an upturned cauldron. Continue reading “Kazan, pearl of Tatarstan”

Leolandia Theme Park

Author: Enrico Ubiali

Photo: http://visitime.it/poi/leolandia/

What a beautiful day in Leolandia Theme Park: the only place where you can see the nicest Italian monuments…being in the same place!

As everyone knows, Italy is one of the most attractive country in the world and almost everybody would like to sightsee entirely this beautiful land. The great variety of natural landscapes, the huge number of cities and the well-known museums, constitute the best stereotype of every holiday plan. The only problem to deal with is the lack of time: a complete tour of Italy could last more than 20 years if you want to visit each typical village.

For this reason, you can experience a sort of overview thanks to the theme park “Leolandia” in Capriate San Gervasio, between Bergamo and Milan.

This park is not only an attraction for children but also for adults: near the amusement park that counts more than 40 attraction, there is a sort “open sky museum”: Minitalia.

In 1971 a visionary project to reproduce the most famous cities of Italy in small size became concrete. More than 160 monuments, the exact reproduction of an Italian railway station and a path without architectonic barriers are only a few details of this realistic contextualization.  Nowadays Minitalia is enriched with a renewed and detailed collection of Italian Statues representing great characters of Italian History; last but not least, Minitalia is settled in a relaxing natural environment with daily entertainment and with an excellent restaurant service.

Our experience in Leolandia was great because it’s a great mixture between culture (well interpreted by Minitalia) and fun (thanks to the exciting rides and attractions).

The visit at the park could last all day long because of the great amount of experiences to live. The corporate goals embraced a deep customer care policy: families, pregnant women and people with physical disabilities are welcomed with a specific assistance, always finding something interesting to do.

In conclusion, if you are a child, a teenager, a couple, an old man/woman or a common tourist, you can enjoy a great day in Leolandia Theme Park and have a great overview of Italy…in miniature!

Skydiving in Cyprus

Author: Lusine Mirzoyan

“Any idiot can fly a plane, but it takes a special kind of idiot to jump out of one”

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Photo: Lusine Mirzoyan© all rights reserved

Skydiving was always in my to-do list, but I wasn’t ready until the last month. Previously I tried my luck in scuba-diving, windsurfing, zip line and parasailing, but that jump out of the plane in Cyprus will stay in my life forever. My advice to you is listen to your inner guts and make sure you ready to do it, the fear can be there forever but being emotionally prepared is important.

I am neither an extreme sports lover nor an adrenaline junkie. I simply love trying new things, discover my own potential and explore the world. I wish I realized earlier that our life is about moments that take the breath away, it is about memories that we must create.

Last seconds before the jump

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Photo: Lusine Mirzoyan© all rights reserved

Cyprus Parachute Association was a great choice for my tandem jump. These guys are highly qualified professionals, and it was clear from the beginning. We received a proper training, they repeated everything again in the plane, explained all possible scenarios and emphasized on not attempting to grab the instructors’ hands or legs, in the end of the day we paid them to make us jump out of a plane (!).

Our aircraft was climbing to 12 000 feet. I didn’t feel any fear at that point, the breath-taking view of Larnaca and Agia Napa was magnificent. My instructor checks the last details, skydivers did their traditional handshaking before exiting the plane and started jumping out like some kind of suicide squad. That’s when I thought: “OMG, what am I doing?”.  I had a co-jumper to record a video of the whole thing (you can see it here).

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Photo: Lusine Mirzoyan© all rights reserved

The next thing I remember is speed, strong wind, the earth going upside down, the sea and sky becoming one, it was freedom, flying like a bird. It was LIFE!

Soon after the instructor opened a small white chute which is used to slow down the fall. We were explained, that it is being done mostly for the cameraman to be able to record us. Even though this small parachute decreased the speed of the free fall, I could still feel the speed and very strong wind.

The main parachute opened and I was taken all the way up, and this second part of skydiving is so calm and relaxing. I was allowed to take my goggles off. We were gliding in the air over this beautiful island, it was so quiet and peaceful up there…I didn’t want to go down. The instructor made a few nice turns, and we started descending to the ground.

We landed…it was over. I was overwhelmed with happiness, emotions and the desire to do it again. Maybe one day, even though I want to keep this first-timer feeling as long as possible.

Next time you are in Cyprus, consider striking the skydiving off the bucket list at  Kingsfield parachute center in Dhekelia. In my opinion, each and every person in the world must experience it at least once.

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