Posts Tagged ‘travel destinations’

November 23, 2013 9:00 am

6 Best Places to Travel at Christmas

Sometimes it’s nice to escape the chaos of the holiday season. If that sentence just made you release a much-needed SIGH, then you might want to consider getting away from it all this December. But remember, just because you’re getting away does not mean you have to lose the Christmas spirit. In fact, you might find it in some of the cities we’ve chosen below! Read on for our picks of the best places to travel at Christmas.

1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Visit Amsterdam at Christmastime

The Netherlands is where our modern story of Santa Claus (or Sinterklaas) began, and its capital festively keeps the legend alive at this time of year. The city is sparkling with white lights, which reflect off its icy canals. If it gets cold enough you can lace up yourself and join in the skating party.

2. Lapland, Finland

Visit the reindeer in Lapland, Finland

When they wrote the song “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” they may have been talking about Lapland. It is the unofficial home of Santa Claus, after all. Enjoy the snow-covered landscapes from a cozy reindeer-pulled sleigh, or take the scenic route with some cross-country skis. Visit Santa Claus Village or Santa Park (known as the Christmas capital of Europe!) for some Christmas-themed charm.

3. Munich, Germany

Visit Munich at Christmastime

You should probably just tour all of Germany during December, if you can. Its cities are some of the most festive in the world. In Munich, the city square of Marienplatz is bustling with two dozen Christmas markets, all surrounding a 100-foot Christmas tree. Every evening, the town hall features live holiday music. Ride a tram through the old city to enjoy some hot mulled wine and gingerbread.

4. Prague, Czech Republic

Visit Prague at Christmastime

If you’ve ever considered visiting Prague, Christmas is the time to go. The city almost turns back in time, especially in Wenceslas Square. Listen to choirs singing carols by candlelight, enjoy giant hams spit-roasting on the street and traditional Czech pastries, and browse hand-made ornaments and crafts in old wooden huts. You’ll even come upon a live nativity scene, complete with sheep, goats, and donkeys.

5. Zurich, Switzerland

Visit Zurich, Switzerland at Christmastime

Twelve thousand crystal lights, hot (Swiss!) chocolate, and a Christmas circus all make Zurich one of the best holiday cities in the world. Each year on December 19, children set candles afloat on the Limmat River. While you’re there, you can enjoy some world-class skiing and take in the breathtaking alpine landscapes.

6. New York City, New York

Visit New York at Christmastime

Christmas in New York – there’s not quite anything like it. Take in the world-famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center (30,000 lights!), take a carriage ride through Central Park, or go ice skating. This trip can be both romantic and exciting. If you’re looking for a spectacle, head to Radio City Music Hall for its Christmas Spectacular.

What are your holiday travel plans? Let us know in a comment!

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June 10, 2013 3:04 pm

The Best Public Art around The World

We love public artwork because, well, they’re public! They don’t require expensive museum fees, and they engage people in a world of imagination that they might not otherwise experience. Not to mention they make for fabulous photo ops, especially for tourists! They can get pretty wacky sometimes, but that’s just another reason why we love them. Take a look at a few of our favorites.

Cloud Gate in Chicago

From artist Anish Kapoor comes this 66-foot long, 33-foot high shape of stainless steel. Business districts of major cities are often full of hard, straight lines, and we love how this sculpture bends the skyline and reflects it back to an amazed public.

Gundam robot, Tokyo

I wouldn’t expect anything less from the robotics capital of the world. This 60-foot tall robotic replica has made appearances in a few different Tokyo locations, and it always draws a crowd.

The Bather, Hamburg

This one is no longer on display in Hamberg’s Binnenalster Lake, but we just had to include it nonetheless. When this 98-foot long sculpture, by Oliver Voss, peeked its head above the water’s surface, it certainly took boaters by surprise.

Digital Orca, Vancouver

From Canadian novelist and artist Douglas Coupland comes this not so typical animal sculpture. Looming over the Vancouver harbor in pixilated glory, this massive whale plays around with viewers’ expectations.

Giant clothespin, Liege, Belgium

Finally, the just plain weird. Built by artist Mehmet Ali Uysal, this giant clothespin seems to be holding up the very ground on which it’s planted. We love it!

Do you have any impressive art in your hometown? Let us know in a comment below!

 

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April 17, 2013 8:55 pm

Today we’re dreaming of…Sicily!

From the natural beauty of Mount Etna (where any adventure-seeker can hike to their heart’s delight) to the cultural gem of Palermo, Sicily is an exciting mix of the old and the new. We find that island culture is always a bit more interesting than its mainland counterparts, and Sicily is no different. When you go, make sure you check out the following attractions.

Have you ever been to Sicily?

1. Fontana Pretoria

In the heart of Palermo is this massive fountain, surrounded by historic churches and buildings. The circular fountain features several sculptures of nymphs who seem to be standing around, simply enjoying the day. It’s great spot to add some iconic pictures to your travel album.

2. Orto Botanico

Also in Palermo, you’ll enjoy explore all that this stunning garden has to offer. Think the beauty and wonder of The Secret Garden… if it were set in a tropical paradise. The roots of the fig trees emerge from the ground in impressive patterns (as seen above), and the indoor greenhouses are flanked by interesting bottle trees and outdoor fountains. Make sure to visit during the day – as darkness comes, so do the bugs!

3. Teatro Massimo

Take in some culture at the magnificent Teatro Massimo. Even if opera and ballet aren’t your things, we still suggest a guided tour of this 116 year-old building – it’s open to the public for tours four times a day from Tuesday to Saturday.

4. Castle at Mussomeli

The province of Caltanissetta is peppered with old castles, but this one is probably the most spectacular – a castle perched atop a craggy rock in Sicily’s mainland. Once you’ve taken your gorgeous panoramic snapshots, take a look inside: grand halls, dungeons, and chapels are among the treasures you’ll find. The castle is surrounded by ruins from empires past.

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