Posts from the ‘Places’ Category

Seychelles: Island of Bliss

For those looking to “get away from it all,” the Seychelles may be the perfect get-away. After all, the most important feature of the Seychelles is their isolation. This 115-island archipelago is located about a thousand miles off the eastern coast of Africa, smack dab in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The islands are scattered over 150,000 square miles (400,000 sq km) of the Indian Ocean and range from granite rock islands with lush vegetation to coral atolls that barely rise out of the sea.

This geographical isolation has manifested itself in nearly every aspect of life here. The Seychelles history, for example, has been relatively tame, as the islands were uninhabited until modern times. Though the French and English maintained colonial control until 1976, there was no bloody revolutionary to speak of. This geographical isolation has also had ecological consequences, as much of the Seychelles flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else on earth. Most visitors are drawn to the scintillating beaches and turquoise waters that dot the sea like an exquisite pearl necklace. The coral atolls are home to giant lagoons chock full of marine wildlife.

Aldabra—a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to over 150,0000 giant land tortoises—happens to be the second largest atoll in the entire world. Aldabra has been billed as one of the wonders of the world by prominent naturalists due to its pristine coral reef ecosystems and is still protected from full-scale tourism. Mahé, home to the international airport, the capital city and a vast majority of the country’s inhabitants, is surrounded by coral reefs, making its powdery white sandy beaches optimal for a dream island vacation.

Nearby St. Anne National Park, a short boat-ride away, is one of the best places in the Indian Ocean to view marine life. Terrestrial fans will want to visit Praslin, which is home to Vallée de Mai, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This tropical forest is the best place to check out the coco de mer, which is the famous palm that yields the world’s biggest fruit (and one of the most interestingly shaped ones at that).

Desroches, the main island in the Almirantes Group, is renowned for its scuba diving. Other islands are even more off-the-beaten-track, such as La Digue: with ox-carts dominating the streets and an easy-going spirit, visiting La Digue is like taking a trip back in time. These islands are also a favored destination of migratory birds who travel thousands of miles to frequent these spectacular islands. Drawn to the idyllic surroundings and ideal weather, they also endure punishing long flights, except they don’t pay for airfare. With nearly half of the country’s land preserved as natural parks, the Seychelles are an ecologists dream.

Nearby St. Anne National Park, a short boat-ride away, is one of the best places in the Indian Ocean to view marine life. Terrestrial fans will want to visit Praslin, which is home to Vallée de Mai, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This tropical forest is the best place to check out the coco de mer, which is the famous palm that yields the world’s biggest fruit (and one of the most interestingly shaped ones at that).

Desroches, the main island in the Almirantes Group, is renowned for its scuba diving. Other islands are even more off-the-beaten-track, such as La Digue: with ox-carts dominating the streets and an easy-going spirit, visiting La Digue is like taking a trip back in time. These islands are also a favored destination of migratory birds who travel thousands of miles to frequent these spectacular islands. Drawn to the idyllic surroundings and ideal weather, they also endure punishing long flights, except they don’t pay for airfare. With nearly half of the country’s land preserved as natural parks, the Seychelles are an ecologists dream.

Attractions

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Vallée de Mai

Located on the quintessentially tropical island of Praslin, this virgin forest was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for good reason. This park is the best place to ogle at the coco de mer palm, which produces the largest fruit in the world and vanilla orchids. Some of the Seychelles rarest birds are also found here such as the Seychelles Bulbul and the endemic Black Parrot. This valley was once thought to be the Garden of Eden by early explorers and it will sure make you wonder.

La Digue

La Digue

This quaint little island, is renowned for its stunning beaches, made famous in a number of advertisements and swimsuit shoots. The array of deserted beaches, each seemingly more beautiful than the next, is stunning. Visitors are specially attracted to Anse Source d’Argent considered one of the most beautiful and unique beaches in the world or the exquisite shores of L’Union Estate.

Morre Seychellois National Park

Morre Seychellois National Park

On the largest island of Mahé lies the impressive mountain range that is home to this national park. The peak is the highest in the country, offering exquisite views of the sea beyond. Enjoy a day hike into the lush forest, with breaks along the way to appreciate the visually-vivacious vistas.

St Anne Marine National Park

St Anne Marine National Park

There aren’t many “parks” that are made up of six islands, but this is indeed the case here. With boat trips departing from Victoria Harbor, this park is one of the Seychelles most easily accessible and is a great place to see where the Hawksbill turtles nest. The calm clear waters and well-endowed coral reefs make for super snorkeling conditions.

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Bicentennial Monument
Found at the junction between Independence Avenue and 5th June Avenue in Victoria, the bicentennial monument was inaugurated in 1978 and erected to celebrate 200 years of settlement on the island by Charles Routier de Romainville. It represents the three elements of Seychelles society: Europe, Africa, Asia.

 Anse_Source_d'Argent-La_Digue-Seychellen

 Granite BoulderLa Digue

 This natural wonder forms part of L’Union Estate and is classified as a National Monument. Covering an acre of land at Anse L’Union on the west coast of the island of La Digue, it is by any standards an impressive monolith.

The granite boulder was formed during the Precambrian, around 750 million years ago, by the slow cooling of molten rocks (magma) deep within the earth’s crust which gave it its especially large crystals.

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FIJI ISLAND: BEGIN YOUR LOVE STORY

Floating on the heart of the South Pacific and consisting of 332 astounding island lies the archipelago Republic of the Fiji Islands. Home to some of the best beaches in the South Pacific, the island nation of Fiji is the ideal honeymoon spot to start a love story you will never get tired of telling.

fiji island-aerial

The islands are a spectacular blue print of the Garden of Eden paved with the monumental palm trees waving against the backdrop of the emerald rainforest under the soft radiation of the tropical sun.

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The Fiji Island is the perfect dream destination for weddings and honeymoons. For families and children, this is the place where happiness finds you. Right from the very first moment the friendly natives say ‘Bula’ the cheerful Fijian greeting and lace you with the orchid necklace, there is no doubt you are going to enjoy every second of your stay.

Fiji is a wonderful place to visit. Endowed with a topic climate, the temperature hovers around 88F in the summer months and barely drops to an average of 84F during the winter. The only factors that distinguish the two seasons are the typical wet weather of the summer and the dry atmosphere of the winter months. You can simply say that the Fiji Island is an all-year-round destination.

Another exciting part of the Fiji Island is that it has resorts designed exclusively with honeymooning couples in mind. These resorts are tailored to provide couples with luxurious experiences geared towards romance and privacy. Most of the Fiji honeymoon spots are tucked away in their own secluded tropic islands given the couples that chance to have maximum privacy. Some even have their own exotic beaches. What can be more relaxing and romantic than lying in the day bed with your spouse and watching the sunset?

Fiji Island: Things to do.

Wherever you are in Fiji, there is a huge variety of things to do. This is your once in a lifetime romantic adventure. You’d want to be doing things that will bring smiles to your faces anything you recall your honeymoon. Since it is a honeymoon, you have to savour every single moment of your stay. You don’t want to go back home thinking about things you didn’t do. Your honeymoon should be your own private world, where you and your spouse will be treated with royalty. Fiji has everything. From magical jungle waterfalls to white sand beaches ringed with coconut palms. One of the most remarkable things about Fiji is the people. Here are some of the things you can do in the Fiji islands.

The Fiji museum

The Fiji museum

Take a journey into Fiji’s archaeological, political, cultural and linguistic evolution located in the heart of Suva’s botanical gardens. The Fiji’s museum is home to a collection of archaeological material dating back 3,700 years and cultural monuments showcasing Fiji’s indigenous inhabitants and other regions that have settled in the island group over the past century.

 

 turtle island fiji

Get lost on the turtle island

The breathtaking panoramas of the renowned Blue Lagoon and neighboring Yasawa Islands can be seen from your spacious Fijian villa. The turtle island is the perfect getaway for newlyweds, a place where you can celebrate love. This couple-only private island is blessed with white, powdery, pristine beaches where couples can stroll, wade in the turquoise waters, cruise on a sailboat or experience the abundant sea life by scuba diving or snorkeling with the Fijian guides.

Dine and wine in fiji

Dine and wine

The Fijian cultural diversity is reflected in their cuisine. Restaurants are limitless. The markets are piled with sweet potatoes, taros, bananas and leafy vegetables. When you are invited to a Fijian home for a meal as a guest, you must start on the dish first. It is their local custom to wait properly for the house guest to make their first move towards the food otherwise everyone will simply wait around with grumbling stomach. And it is impolite to remind you about the food.

The indigenous Fijian dishes include Tavioka (cassava), dala (taro), fish and lolo (coconut cream). Kokoda is a very popular dish in the island. It is made with raw fish marinated with lime juice. Kara is the national drink. It’s quite unlikely you’ll leave Fiji without trying it. You are definitely going to be overwhelmed by the irresistible aroma and natural great flavor of coconuts.

Fiji bitter and Fiji gold are the common Fijian beers. Local beers and imported spirits and wines are found in bottle shops, markets and restaurants. You are sure to find a selection of drinks on the menu at the resorts and hotels you find on the island.

jet ski in fiji

Jump on a jet ski

The Fiji waters are friendly and so jet skiing is always fun. You can explore the Fiji islands on a jet ski. It’s a wonderful way to discover a beautiful hidden Fiji Yanuca.

Yanuca Marine reserve is a 4-10 feet deep lagoon. The lagoon offers turquoise waters, live and fluorescent coral display of Fiji’s underwater world.

Fijian village

Visit the Fijian village

The natives are very friendly. The Fijians are very traditional and it is important that you respect their customs. You can tour the village with your spouse in the company of a guide who will educate you on the protocols of the islanders. Touring the villages is very relaxing and you’ll be able to wander freely and meet many of the villagers particularly the children as they go about their daily life. 

 

 Fiji: where to stay

Fiji is famously known for its beautiful beaches, resorts and island atmosphere. Choosing a place to stay might prove to be difficult not because there are no good places but because the choices for accommodation are very huge. You might just get confused.

There are over 50 resorts and hotel stretching over the 320+ islands that make up Fiji. Lots of resorts and hotel are situated in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the two largest islands of Fiji, while the others are scattered on the smaller islands.

Below are some of the hotels and resorts in Fiji;

InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa (5*) – $296

Wananavu Beach Resort (4*)-$148

Waidroka Bay Resort (5*)-$98

Fiji Beach Resort & Spa Managed by Hilton (5*)-$122

Five Princes Hotel- $136

Grand Eastern Hotel-$53

Raffles Gateway Hotel-$83

Getting there

The best way to Fiji is by air, although new Zealanders and Australians can be in Fiji in a few hours. Fiji airways is fiji’s national carrier has regular flights from destination like Melbourne, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Hongkong.

Nad international airport is the major gateway into the country, though there are several domestic airports scattered through the islands.

VISA

To enter into Fiji, all you need is a valid passport beyond the intended period of stay and a ticket for return or onward travel to another country which you are authorized to enter.

A 4 month visa is granted automatically on arrival to visitors for most countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, Jamaica, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and others.

Airlines that go to Fiji include Emirates, Qatar, Fiji Airway,  Air Pacific and Pacific Blue.

Quick Facts

Dialing Codes — Fiji does not have domestic area codes. The country code for calling into Fiji is 679.

Language — English is an official language of Fiji. Other languages include , Fijian, Hindustani

Time — Local time in Fiji is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

Security– – The nationwide emergency police number is tel. 917 throughout Fiji. The non-emergency numbers are tel. 670 0222 in Nadi, 334 3777 in Suva.

Currency—Fijian dollar
Religion–
Christian 58% (Methodist 36%, Roman Catholic 9%), Hindu 33.7%, Muslim 7%, Sikh 0.4%             (Wikipedia)
Finance–
When heading to the outer islands, make certain you bring enough local currency, as ATMs are difficult to come by outside of city centers. Credit cards and Fijian dollars are the widely acceptable currency, although traveler’s checks can still be used where there is a large population of tourists. Hotels and banks are still the best avenues for a good exchange rate.

Going to Madrid?

Madrid-Ville

Here are things to check out when you get there

Madrid the capital city of Spain is located in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. It also occupies third position in the list of largest cities of Europe. Madrid and its outland districts are based on the banks of the River Manzanares that flows through the centre of the country. Because of its spectacular climate, Madrid has been officially declared as one of the ’greenest cities’ in Europe. Be that as it may, Madrid is the ideal choice for a holiday. There are so many things to see and do, like the visiting the warner bros park, zoo, El Parque De Atracciones, going on bus tours, safari parks, leisure centres, wax museums and the going to the urban beach. Madrid boasts one of the most packed calendars of concerts, festivals, shows, sports events and exhibitions in the world. Take a peek at a selection of the most important events programmed to take place in 2014 and start planning your next visit. Its major landmarks include the stunning Royal Palace which combines a mixture of classical and Baroque architecture, Plaza de Oriente, the Opera House, the Bank of Spain building and the very impressive post office building is among some of the most impressive architecture.

Here are other things you can do in Madrid.

Visit the world class museums. Madrid has a deluxe collection of about 70 museums which house interesting artefacts. Among them, the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the National museum, the Centro de Arte Raina Sofia, one of the world’s finest art. With a trip planned before hand, you can get into the Prado and Sofia museum free of charge. For free pass to the Prado Museum, visit Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm to 8pm. For free pass to the Sofia Museum visit Monday to Friday from 7pm to 9pm on Saturday from 2:30pm to 9pm or Sunday from 10am to 2:30pm.

Enjoy the great outdoors. Visit the Retiro Park, one of the city’s top attractions. It is the perfect place to enjoy with your spouse or family. Here you will find many beautiful monuments and sculptures plus a boating lake. The park also hosts some of the free outdoor concerts in Madrid.

royal palace

The Royal Palace, Madrid. Designed by FilippoJuvarra to accommodate a total of more than 3000 courtiers, the Royal Palace has been acknowledged as Madrid’s largest building and royal palace in Europe. The palace contains paintings, furniture, tapestries and other important works of art and frescos by Tiepolo. It remains open to the public almost year round except on the days of official ceremonies and receptions.

madrid-sightseeing-2

Kick into the Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid isEurope’s most successful soccer team. The Santiago Bernabeu is their home ground. Named after the club’s first president, the Santiago Bernabeu has a current capacity of 85,454 spectators. Get a chance to look through the stadium with no limits. The stadium awaits you with its myths, like the tunnel to the locker room, the bench and the presidential box. You will also want to see the new museum, the chief exponent of Real Madrid legends.

Templo_de_Debod,_templo_del_antiguo_Egipto

Wonder through the Temple de Debod. This Egyptian temple that once stood in the village of Debod now resides in Madrid. This Egyptian heritage came to Spain when a dam was being developed in Egypt. Engineers from Spain helped the Egyptians move their monuments and in appreciation Egypt donated the temple of Debod.

The old city walls. Madrid was once a walled city.  A walk around the city walls makes for a great walk through the history of Madrid. This free attraction can be found just behind the cathedral.

Rastro_de_Madrid_(España)_6

El Rastro, the open air market. If you are spending a Sunday in Madrid, be sure to pay a visit to El Rastro- Madrid’s open air market. Here you can pick up all kinds of antiques and clothes. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, the atmosphere here is worth the trip alone.

Plaza_Mayor_de_Madrid_02

Visit the plaza mayor. The stately Plaza Mayor for centuries has combined supremely fascinating architecture with a history dominated by peculiarly Spanish dramas. This Madrid square has witnessed many historical happenings like Royal ceremonies,bullfights, trials and much more. All year round, the plaza mayor buzzes with street life and an aurora of love that brings people together.

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Bath in the sun inPlaza De Espania. Home to a beautiful large fountain and an intriguing monument to Cervantes the author of ‘Don Quioxte’the plaza de espania is a relaxing point for sunbathers. Soak up the sun here and appreciate the heat of nature.

Despite being a compact city, its accommodation is spread over a wide area, so it’s a good to have an idea of what you want before you book. Madrid has quite a number of hotels and resorts ranging from small, medium to exotic luxurious villas. Each is as enchanting as the next, offering impeccable services that will give you the ideal vacation. No matter the budget, there is always a place to provide you with the luxury that you need.

Quick Facts

Country Spain
Capital Madrid
Area 698 sq. km (234 sq. mi)
Density 5198 / sq. km (13.462.8/sq. mi)
Population of Spain 40448191 As per 2007 Census, City: 2905100;Urban Area: 5078100
Time Zone GMT/UTC+1
Average Climate Summer: 40° C ; Winter: 13° C
Currency Euro
Language Castillian (Official language), Spanish, Euskera, Galician, Catalan, Valencian
Government Parliamentary Monarchy, EU Member
Dialing Code 34
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