A great way for backpackers to get a taste of the real New Zealand is to seek out local events and festivals in smaller towns and communities. Take your time to chill out in one place for a while and you will be surprised how much more you can deepen your experience by getting amongst the local scene.One festival not to be missed is the legendary Wild Foods festival held annually in a small town on the West Coast of the South Island called Hokitika.Due to the isolated location of the West Coast the Coasters have always done things their own way, paying little attention to how the rest of the world lives. The festival is a prime example of this, as it show cases the rather random delicacies of the coast and the local characters that live there. You name it, it's on offer and both locals and tourists come from afar to challenge themselves to eat the huge selection of wild foods.Some of the more memorable dishes at this years festival included Mountain Oysters (goat testicles); huhu grubs that were very much alive; eel spine, marinated duck tongue; semen sauce; cow tit; seagull turd; rotten fish eyes and possum pie. MMMMMM Yuk! Funnily enough there was such a high demand for the live huhu grubs that they sold out. The atmosphere is awesome as everywhere you look people are egging their friends on encouraging them to try the most vulgar of the vulgar wild foods on offer.A few of the more tame or should we say edible foods - included Bambi burgers, white bait fritters, homemade fudge, pickled punga (native fern), mussels and wild pork.Lets not forget that there is also plenty of booze and live music (hillbilly style) at the festival for those who like a drink or three and a bit of a boogie. The locally brewed Monteiths Ale was flowing from mid day along with a selection of New Zealand wines.Hokitika has a population of about 6,000 and with more than 10,000 people attending the Wild Foods Festival accommodation options get rather interesting. So where does everyone sleep? The local fire brigade set up a couple of large camp sites right by the beach which over flows with tents and campervans. The setting is to die for... right at your doorstep is a rugged west coast beach dotted with bonfires as far as one can see which makes for the perfect place to chill out on return from the Hillbilly dance.On waking early to enjoy watching the sun rise take a stroll and you will discover that the less organised have set up home on the railway track, footpath, under the town clock or in some less fortunate cases in amongst the abundance of porta-loosThere are many fantastic festivals in New Zealand, so be sure to enquire about what is on and where during your backpacking through our beautiful country, Aotearoa the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Honolulu is one of the most popular destinations in Hawaii and is a major city, being located at the far end of Waikiki. The main tourist hot spots in Honolulu are the downtown district - the Pacific Regions main financial and business center, and Waikiki, the heart of Honolulu. Waikiki is known for its narrow sandy beach area, which has become one of the worlds most notable beaches, lined with many excellent shops, restaurants and accommodation.Located on Hawaiis Oahu Island, Honolulu is full of things to see and attractions to visit. Dominated by the imposing Diamond Head volcano, which is now extinct, Honolulu is known for its tropical landscape, palm trees, harbor, nearby islands and the Mamala Bay, where a range of water sports are on offer.Honolulu Travel:With a large population and many spreading urban areas, traffic in Honolulu can become understandably busy, particularly due to the cluster of one-way streets. There are a number of car parks and on-street parking areas in central Honolulu, and car rental is widely available. Renting a car in Honolulu is one of the most convenient ways to explore the island of Oahu, although other popular methods of transport include buses, coaches, taxis and even bicycles.Honolulu International Airport (HNL) stands around 4 miles / 6 km from the center of the city and is an important transportation hub. Many passengers arrive each day at Honolulu Airport from mainland America, London and other nearby Hawaiian Islands. With three terminals and a range of facilities, the airport is just a short trip from central Honolulu, with a number of hotels nearby. Places to Stay in Honolulu:Honolulu thrives on tourism and there is a huge range of accommodation throughout the city. Hotel rates in Honolulu are often high, although a selection of budget options do exist, namely bed and breakfast accommodation, which is usually well presented. The American Youth Hostel in Honolulu offers extremely inexpensive rooms and is always popular with budget travelers visiting the city.At the opposite end of the scale, Honolulu is home to a wealth of luxury hotels, often with simply breathtaking coastal views and convenient locations. Some of Honolulus premier hotels are amongst the best in the world.Honolulu Tourism:Tourist attractions in Honolulu are excellent and apart from the endless stretches of golden sands, there are plenty of things to see, making Honolulu the ideal holiday destination. Facilities include landmarks and monuments, historical museums, contemporary art galleries, must-see sights, and a large variety of recreational activities.Top attractions include Aloha Tower Marketplace, Honolulu Zoo, Iolani Palace, the Aloha Tower, Diamond Head Lighthouse, the State Capitol Building, Hawaii Maritime Center, the Hawaii State Art Museum, and the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor.Honolulu Restaurants:There is an incredible diversity of restaurants and places to eat throughout Honolulu, reflecting the ethnic communities and locals. Look for the restaurants where locals in Honolulu choose to eat, such as those around the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where you will find an array of affordable cafes and food outlets. Also, the food court in the Ala Moana Center is particularly well stocked.Honolulu Weather:The weather in Honolulu varies only slightly all through the year, with constant temperatures reaching the 70s and 80s. Honolulu features two main seasons - April to November, which is slightly warmer than the period December to March. The surrounding ocean remains warm throughout the year and is one of Honolulus main attractions.
After spending a wonderful time on the Grand Place, it is now time to start visiting the most interesting Museums of Brussels. Hereunder you will find a checklist of these places to visit.1. Atomium.Since its creation in mid-1958, the 9 bowls of the Atomium has become a Belgian symbol of the 20th century. The 20th century, during which the atom was fully mastered and became widely used by our society and affecting the development of our standard of living.2. Museum of Costume and Lace.The famous Brussels' Museum of Costume and Lace was created in 1978 And is located in the neighbourhood of the central Grand Place, not far away from the Hotel Amigo Brussels. It occupies a bourgeois house built in the 18th century. It contains rich and interesting textile and fabric collections. Most of the precious lace are hand-made with bobbins or needles in Belgium, France and Italy. As far back as the 17th century these masterpieces are exhibited next to civilian costume mainly women's clothes or fashion accessories. The museum displays the essential complements to elegance, such as umbrellas, pieces of lingerie, leather purses, all kinds of hats, men and women shoes, fans, etc... 3. Royal Fine Art Museum Or the Muse des Beaux Arts.With its clean art deco lines, Horta made his swansong a spacious and functional building that welcomes all international exhibitions. In 1997, the central hall was totally renovated. Thirteen interlinked, square and circular rooms ensure that there is space for even the largest masterpieces. The Muses des Beaux Arts, also hosts the regular Europalia festival. This international renewed festival, which focuses every year on a different country and serves as an information point for exhibitions in other museums in the city.4. Victor Horta Museum.Victor Horta (1861-1947) was born in Ghent (Flemish part of the country), where he failed in his first career, being fired from the music conservatory. He then moved to Paris to study architecture, returning to Belgium in 1882 to complete his training with Alphonse Balat, the architect who worked his hole life for the famous King Lopold II. Victor Horta became the most impressive and trendsetting architect of this end of 19th century. The Museum itself is one of the most astonishing creation of Horta : a sumptuous Hotel Particulier that every tourist should visit. 5. Museum of Cacao and Chocolate.While walking through the museum, you will assist to an everyday demonstration by a master chocolatier. You will also have the chance to taste various chocolate delights (Including Belgian Pralines). After the visit, a small shop offers you his treasures for true chocolate lovers. Gustatory and olfactory delights are on the program.6. The Archaeological undergrounds of the Palace of Charles the 6th.You will make a fascinating tour underneath the Place Royale and discover the remains of this illustrious palace. Impressive.7. Dynasty Museum.Go back through the Halls of Time to encounter the fabulous story of Belgium from its roots to its todays destiny. July 1830 : the Monnaie Theatre shook to the sound of the Revolution, announcing the coming of a brand new country... The Belgian Kingdom.8. Bellevue Hotel Museum.The Bellevue Hotel was constructed in Louis XVI style by Mr Guimard. He was also the architect of the famous Place Royale. The hotel Bellevue was remodeled, particularly in 1910 and 1930, when it was used as a princely residence. Major recent restoration work was undertaken in end 90s. The current layout emphasizes the refined setting of this historical hotel and offers visitors an exceptional view of the Royal Palace and its famous gardens.Numerous Guided Tours are organized by the Hotel Amigo.Jerry De Kluyn writes articles for "Hotel Amigo Brussels" , a web site specialized in hotels in and around Brussels.
For a country that encompasses an area of over 10.5 million square miles, it is no coincidence most people know very little about Russia, aside, of course, from textbook blurbs of Tsarist rule, Mongolian raids, bloody revolutions and snowy, desolate Steppes. The mere expanse of the Russian border makes the country a more versatile destination than any other place in the world. Visit the arctic zone and navigate through sub-tropical regions without ever leaving the country! A closer look and a few tips can subdue your fear and pique your interest to travel to Russia.Western Russia: Travel to Russia's Heart and SoulWestern Russia includes Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) and the Black and Caspian Seas, making this region the commercial and political core of the nation. Initially the capital of Russia, St. Petersburg was built by Peter the Great and is filled with both haunting and enchanting remnants of a time past. St. Petersburg is certainly the most European and best preserved city, adorned with stately architecture and regal cathedrals that echo of a romantic and prestigious era. In the early 20th century, the capital moved away from the European border to Moscow where the Kremlin, Red Square and Lenin's Mausoleum (where you can view his embalmed body!) stand as testaments to Russia's rocky history. In the Southwest, Volgograd is traditionally accepted as the origin of the Russian Empire and was fortified in the 1500s to protect tsarist Russia's southern border from Cossack and Viking pillages. With these bases covered, leave the crowds behind and head east into a land with a history all its own.Travel Russia from Europe to AsiaThere is nothing quite like seeing six thousand miles of land in a single trip. The epic journey aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway is for those who consider the journey to be just as magical as the destination. The longest continuous rail line on the planet takes you from metropolitan Moscow through vast steppes and the Siberian taiga, the largest remaining forest in the world, to finally arrive in the commercial bustle of Russia's main Pacific port city, Vladivostok. Three alternate routes and several extensions into European and Asian nations have also been constructed and provide more options to travel Russia's breadth.Many travel restrictions have been lifted since the 1990s and it is now possible to arrange overnight stays in many of the fascinating towns and breathtaking landscapes along the way. Make sure to spend a moment in the Siberian town of Ulan Ude, Russia's main Buddhist center, and visit the Tibetan Buddhist monastery that has been restored since the oppressive rule of Stalin. The Baikal Lake region is also a very popular stop and a perfect place to be immersed in the natural beauty of Russia's heartland. Baikal Lake is the oldest in the world, estimated at 25-30 million years old. The lake region is home to over 2,500 animal species including a unique Siberian species of freshwater seal and thousands of migratory birds.Accessibility is the new attitude toward foreign tourism in Russia. A society that has long been closed-off, particularly to westerners, is now ready to embrace curious visitors with open arms. There has never been a better time to travel Russia!For more information on travel to Russia and other destinations in Europe, and discount airfare to Russia, visit www.cfares.com.
Being excellent navegators and having a deep desire to expland its territories, The Azores Islands were founded by the Portuguese in 1317. This is a clump of nine islands in the rough Atlantic Ocean about 1,400 kilometers west of Lisbon, Portugal. As a curious traveller, I always make it a habit of finding out how a city, town or in this case an island got its name. The name Azores comes from the name of a bird similar to a goshawk which is what the first settlers thought they saw, but it turned out that what they were seeing in abundance was just a type of eagle.The nine islands that make up the Azores are called Santa Maria, Sao Miguel, Terceira, Graciosa, Pico, Faial, Sao Jorge, Corvo and Flores. As far as we know, they are all from a volcanic eruptions and still seem to be active as far as registering seismic movements. Culture, tradition and religion have always been closely linked and therefore there is a tight tie between the festive celebrations held all over the islands in the small chapels from the 26th of August until the 31st. This celebration is to honour the Holy Spirit which the islanders feel will protect them from any natural disaster, especially the ones related to its volcanoes.Of all territories that Portugal once possessed, only Macao, the Azores Islands and Madeira still remain. Under the command of Henry the Navegator, these islands became a very important stop over for ships sailing in the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, they received visitors from all over the world who not only brought riches and stories but also fruits, spices and plants. In 1420, Henry sent settlers to the island of Madeira with plants that he thought would grow well in the volcanic ground and in the mild year round climate typical there; the grapevine and sugar cane being the best product up until now, both heavily used in the Portuguese cuisine and well as other spices like the black pepper and cinnamon. But nowadays, the Azores have changed their tea, tabacco and fruit fields for livestock and tourism.Azores Islands and Its Third-TerceiraAs its name well announces, Terceira was the third island discovered by the Portuguese around 1450 having had as its original name that of Island of Jesus Christ. At the beginning Praia was the capital, being the first beach were the Flemish colonizer Jacome de Bruges first settled. But as we all know, improvements were made and they decided to use the town of Angra do Heroismo as the new capital, probably because it was well protected by the bay ( angro ) and the Brasil Mountain standing strong against the ocean. Here, there is a 17th century castle called Saint John the Baptist. All over the islands there are lagoons which look like big cauldrons which offer a breathtaking view of its natural surroundings. If I had to recommend one or two outstanding features, I would probably describe the beautiful Se or Cathedral with its bell tower decorated in blue, green and white tiles. Or even more so are the curious windows that the houses still have, made from stones in an arched formation with gaily painted frames such as green, blue and yellow. And the glass in these windows look like its cracked or iced.Easy Come and Easy Go to Azores IslandsBut as all practical traveller, the question of getting there and accomodations is always an important aspect to look into when planning a comfortable holiday. On all the islands, tourism is very well cared for and the hotels are tops. You can choose between sea front four star hotels to quaint rural house in the mountains or simple campings. And in the location of Lajes on the Terceira island and in Ponta Delgada in Sao Miguel island, there are airports which have daily flights between them and to Lisbon on mainland Portugal.