28 October, 2016

Halloween horrors

For some people Halloween is just as exciting a holiday as Christmas. I have many friends who put just as much effort into their scary costumes in October as they do when they're putting their tree up in December! There are various well known events around the world, such as the famous parade in New York, but I decided to have a look at some of the coolest (or creepiest!) places to celebrate this spooky holiday.

How about travelling to Transylvania? The country of Romania not only has stunning Gothic architecture but the impressive Bran Castle was said to be home of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. The castle is open to the public, and they do special Halloween tours!

Long beach California may not strike you as the most spooky place, but the cruise liner Queen Mary that docks here is. This is one of the most unique places to celebrate on Halloween. So-called 'Dark Harbor' starts on October the 1st and runs for a month, offering terrifying experiences for visitors! There are rides; live shows, and mazes haunted by spirits - many inspired by the actual ghosts that are said to haunt the ship. This is not suitable for young children!

Finally a three day celebration called Day of the Dead begins on October the 31st each year. It's a celebration that happens in many Catholic countries, but only in Mexico is it celebrated wildly with colourful parties. Plenty of ideas for you to travel and celebrate Halloween at the same time if that's your thing!

21 October, 2016

Ha Long Bay - A must in Vietnam

If you're planning to visit Vietnam then one place that should be on your list is Halong Bay, which translates as 'where the dragon descends into the sea'. If you've never heard of it then I'm sure you'll have seen pictures of it, because it's one of the most visited and photographed places in the north of Vietnam - and you can see why below.

There are almost two thousand towering limestone pillars and small islets in the bay, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994. It's spectacularly beautiful and is a must if you're in Vietnam. Halong City itself is full of high-rises, so give it a miss - the best way to see the bay is to do a tour - some tours include sleeping on board within the bay.

Halong Bay attracts visitors all year round, with peak season between late May and early August, but to avoid the crowds many people visit in November. Others skip the main bay and head for Cat Ba Island where you can take a trip to Lan Ha Bay which is just as beautiful but not as busy.

Personally though, I think sometimes you just have to accept the most beautiful places in the world will be busy when you visit, so bear with the crowds and soak up the stunning views in this piece of paradise. Isn't the world an amazing place?

14 October, 2016

Friday's Lightbulb: Wroclaw

This week I'm featuring the largest city in western Poland that was once described as "the holy blossom of Europe, a beautiful gem among cities". One of the reasons I chose Wroclaw is that it is the 2016 European Capital of Culture.

The city is located on the Odra river; and with its 12 islands and more than 100 bridges, it almost looks like a city on water. This is Poland's fourth largest city, and has a lively cultural centre, which many major festivals taking place throughout the year.

 Wroclaw is bursting at the seams with beautiful cafes, excellent restaurants, and plenty of things to do, and simply walking around a city that many have named the 'Venice of Poland' is a very pleasant way to spend the day.

While cities like Vienna, Prague are perhaps more famous, Wroclaw holds its own with its not too distant neighbours, and it's easy to see why it's rapidly catching the attention of travellers.

07 October, 2016

A night under the stars

I've featured several places on my blog that I know I would be scared to go to, but today takes the biscuit! Before I go any further, take a look at the photo below and look closely!

Yes, you may have spotted the transparent capsules which are hanging from the top of a mountain in the Sacred Valey of Peru. Skylodge Adventure Suites offer you the chance to sleep in a hanging bedroom that let's you appreciate the amazing views of this magical valley. 

You've got to work for it though (and this is where my vertigo kicks in!) - you either have to climb 400 metres of Via Ferreta or hike an intrepid trail through ziplines.  There are three capsule suites with a capacity of 8 people. They have a 300 degree view of the valley and each suite comes complete with four beds; a dining area, and private bathroom.

Those of you who are brave enough to spend a night here can not only soak up fabulous views, but the package includes breakfast and a gourmet dinner with wine. I spent a night under the stars in Peru on a trek, and know how fabulous the sky is to watch so being that little bit closer to the stars must be fantastic.

A true once in a lifetime experience, and if you want more information on these incredible capsules with a view, click here.