Author: recipesinthebox

Go to Bangkok, Angkor Wat, Phuket and Koh Yao

Go to Bangkok, Angkor Wat, Phuket and Koh Yao

Experience the contrast between the metropolitan pulse of Bangkok and the tranquility of the unique temples around Angkor Wat. Cycle around the rural surroundings of Siem Reap before flying south to beautiful Koh Yao and Phuket.

On this trip you can combine one of Asia’s most exciting cities, Bangkok, Angkor Wat – one of the most impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites and then end your holiday with sun and swimming on both a quiet tropical island and an island with a little more activities. We believe that this is a journey that combines the best of all worlds.

Day 1: Departure from Scandinavia

Today, the journey to Bangkok is with scheduled flights.

Day 2: Arrival in Bangkok

When you arrive in Bangkok, a driver is ready to drive you to your guesthouse. New Road Guest House is very centrally located and has a nice and homely atmosphere. In the lobby there is a service center that is happy to assist with travel tips and practical questions. The rest of the day you can rest after the trip or discover Bangkok. We have lots of suggestions for great experiences if you need inspiration. If you want to eat near your guesthouse, we recommend the restaurant next door, Harmonique.

Day 3-4: On your own in Bangkok:

You have all day to explore Bangkok on your own. Go on a journey of discovery in the exciting city where lots of experiences await. If you need suggestions for activities, we recommend, among other things, a bike ride behind the city’s facade or exciting trainspotting in Mahachai. The day offers an exciting excursion from the hectic city life in Bangkok to the lively and green countryside where you can experience the local everyday life. ( F )

Day 5: By plane to Siem Reap

You take yourself out to the airport and your flight to Cambodia. You will be picked up at the airport in Siem Reap and driven to your cozy hotel, where you can spend the day relaxing by the pool or taking a stroll to the local market. ( F )

Day 6: Angkor Wat

The trip departs by tuk tuk early in the morning, so you can watch the sunrise at the temples. The first stop is at Srah Sarong or “Kings Bath”, where you can watch the sun rise over the water and the temples. Then you can walk across the road and be one of the first to visit the jungle temple of Ta Phrom just as they open for the day. The archeological park around Angkor is one of the most important sights in Southeast Asia. It stretches over 400 km2 and contains ruins from the various capitals of the Khmer Empire from the 800s to the 14th century. Today you get to see the area highlights. After Ta Phrom you will visit the southern part of Angkor Thom where you can follow a path through the jungle to a hidden temple. If you have brought breakfast, it is perfect to eat it (ask the hotel staff to pack a lunch box for you). You will also visit Bayon, Baphoun, Terrace of Elephants and Leper King temples. When it suits you, you can take a break for lunch and maybe rest for a while, before moving on to Angkor Wat – the most famous building from the Khmer era. The day ends with an unforgettable sunset over the temple area. (F )

Day 7: Experience everyday life around Siem Reap by bike

Today you will cycle through the area around Siem Reap and take part in preparing a meal that you can donate to the local monks. The Buddhist monks live far from their families and are not allowed to have regular jobs. Therefore, they are completely dependent on the generosity of the local population. You prepare the food together with a local chef and pack it so that it is ready to donate to the monks. Once you have given the food to the monks, you can talk to them about Buddhism and their way of life. After lunch, cycle back to the hotel. ( F , L )

Day 8: Flight to Phuket

You can ask the hotel to book a taxi for you that will take you to the airport. When you arrive, you will be picked up at the airport and given a ride to the beautiful island of Koh Yao Yai, where you can enjoy life on a real paradise island for the next few days. ( F )

Day 9-11: Koh Yao Yai

If you feel like a bit of speed and fan during the days on Koh Yao Yai, you can snorkel in one of the most beautiful places in the area, rent a kayak and explore the mangroves or maybe take a mountain bike ride. You can also enjoy the tranquility and relax with a good book, pamper yourself in the hotel’s spa or take a dip in the hotel’s beautiful infinity pool. NOTE: due to low tide outside the hotel, the beach is not the best for swimming. ( F )

Day 12: By boat to Phuket

After a couple of days of peace and quiet, the journey continues towards the pulse of Phuket. Here you live on the quiet Bantao Beach, where there are plenty of small cozy restaurants and bars. ( F )

Day 13-14: On your own on Phuket

You can go for a walk on the beach, test your talents on a paddleboard or go to one of the more visited beaches and do some shopping. We recommend that you have dinner at Bliss Beach Club or that you rent a scooter / take a taxi and enjoy a drink at sunset in the beautiful Sri Panwas bar Baba Nest which is located on the roof. ( F )

Day 15: Return from Phuket

Today is the last day of the holiday, but you still have time for one last dip in the sea before you are picked up at the hotel and go to the flight that will take you home to Scandinavia again. ( F )

Day 16: Arrival in Scandinavia

Overnight stays

Three nights at guesthouse in Bangkok
Three nights at boutique hotel in Siem Reap
Four nights in villa on Koh Yao
Three nights at resort in Phuket

Go to Bangkok, Angkor Wat, Phuket and Koh Yao

Suriname Overivew

Suriname Overivew

TERRITORY: ENVIRONMENT

The vegetation is characterized by the equatorial forest, rich in precious essences (Lucuma mammosa, Lecythis ollaria, Copaifera bracteata, Bombax ceiba or Kapok etc.) and which covers almost the entire territory; a strip of mangroves borders the coast and, in the less humid areas, there are savannah areas. Over 90% of the country’s surface is still occupied by forest, inhabited by large mammals such as tapir, jaguar, monkeys, giant armadillo and wild pigs; among the reptiles there are the iguana, the caiman and among the amphibians an endemic species of dendrobat, the Dendrobates azureus, while very varied is the avifauna with eagles, cocks of the rocks, parrots, hummingbirds, ibises and herons. The major environmental problems of the country are linked to the pollution of the rivers due to toxic discharges from the mining industries and to the deforestation caused by the exploitation of timber for export. 13.2% of the territory is subject to protection by the authorities; the protected areas include the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000 and which encompasses a vast primary ecosystem, the Brownsberg Nature Park, created in 1969 for the purpose of protection, research and education and various reserves natural. Visit baglib for Suriname as a tourist country.

ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING

Agriculture is practiced intensively on the small portion of the cultivated area (less than 1% of the national territory). In general, the primary sector contributes to the formation of GDP for 9.9% and employs 7% of the active population. Rice cultivation clearly prevails, which covers internal needs and allows for a certain export. The cultivation of oil palm follows in importance; the country is also self-sufficient for various other foodstuffs, such as sugar (considerable quantities of rum are obtained from the by-products of sugar), citrus fruits (especially oranges, grapefruits), bananas and coffee; a minor role are played by cocoa, coconut palm and peanuts. § As mentioned, Suriname is in practice an immense forest, very rich in precious essences that is not adequately exploited for commercial purposes due above all to the lack of communication routes and targeted investments. § Breeding is of little importance, as it lacks suitable climatic and environmental conditions; fairly numerous are only the poultry. § Fishing is of greater importance, which helps to integrate the food resources of the population and to increase exports (in particular to the USA); shellfish.

CULTURE: GENERAL INFORMATION

The ethnic mosaic at the base of today’s Surinamese society constitutes, even within the variegated Caribbean world, a peculiarity, whose features also dominate the cultural landscape of the country. In fact, in addition to the synthesis between indigenous (Amerindian) and European (mainly Dutch) elements, the contribution linked to the immigration of African and Oriental workers was considerable. Religion, language (Dutch is accompanied by several Creole dialects), cuisine, music (the typical genres of the Caribbean mix with jazz and the rhythms of Black Africa) and architecture (both civil and religious) they bring ample examples of such a melting pot of traditions. One of the most important folkloric moments is the Cultural parade in which all ethnic groups parade. In the capital there are mosques, synagogues, churches, and the beauty of Paramaribo is also recognized by UNESCO which has included the historic center among the world heritage sites (2002). Although many artists have preferred overseas, local art and crafts have kept their roots alive in engravings, sculptures and everyday artefacts. Literature has a group of local artists whose works range from prose to poetry to children’s literature.

Suriname

Nepal Arts and Traditions

Nepal Arts and Traditions

TRADITIONS

According to campingship, Nepal is a country located in Asia. The most notable expression of the custom in Nepal can be found in the spirit that characterizes the participation of the residents in popular festivals. The scanning of the recurrences is structured on the Nepalese calendar, whose starting point is the Indian calendar Bikram Sambat, and which begins with the month of Baishakh (New Year roughly corresponds to April 13-14 on the Gregorian calendar). In these celebrations, which, adding up the religious, historical-legendary, agricultural, seasonal or regional ones, come to form a number almost equal to the days of an entire calendar, everything is homage to tradition: classic cuisine is found here, more typical clothing, the music and dances of the origins, the secular rites that have remained intact. Among the many we remember the Nawabarsha (the Nepalese New Year), the Buddha Jayanty (the birth of Buddha), the Dashain (the longest, 15 days, and choreographic of the appointments, dedicated to Durga, the universal mother goddess), the Tihar (5 days dedicated to Yama, the god of death). To these parties are added the private or family anniversaries, with their set of practices and peculiarities with more or less colorful and folkloric tones, weddings, births, funerals. The cultural heterogeneity of Nepal also characterizes other areas of lifestyle, such as nutrition: in fact, only some dishes are the same throughout the country (dal, lentil soup, bhat, rice, tarkari, curry vegetables). Finally, a distinctive trait of Nepalese history and culture is the great importance attributed to the care of the mind, concretized in the wide variety of meditative arts, also of religious origin, developed here. From yoga to meditation to ayurveda, the “science of life”, these attitudes, rather than practical, still mark the real difference between the East and the West of the world.

ARTS

Appendix of Indian civilization, the Nepalese artistic culture assimilated from this stylistic components (Maurya, Gupta and Pāla art) to feed its own traditions and to develop an irradiation activity towards the Tibetan area that configures it as a link between Indian art , the Tibetan one and the Chinese one from the Yüan period (XIII-XIV century). Fundamental vehicles of these complex encounters were Hinduism and above all Tantric Buddhism, which was introduced in Tibet around the century. VII-VIII, from which the most singular manifestations of genuine Nepalese art derive. Beyond the most striking and immediate figurative achievements of plastic and pictorial art originating from the iconographic suggestion of the pantheon Tantric with its crowded repertoire of terrifying images of multi-headed and multi-armed divinities, the originality of Nepalese art is documented above all by the architecture of its religious monuments and by the wooden sculpture that embellishes and integrates their structures through decoration of architraves, pediments and cornices inspired by stylized shapes and motifs from the Indian ornamental repertoire. The Nepalese plastic tradition was formed on the contributions of the classical art of India Gupta (5th-6th century), then fed by that of the Pāla-Sena tradition, which increased the development of bronzework, which sometimes exceeds the same stone sculpture, so much so that Nepalese bronzers are documented active in the century. XIII both in Mongolia and in China, as well as in Tibet. Nepalese painters were also active here, Moghūl and rājpūt (17th-18th centuries). The two most ancient, important and historically documented epochs of Nepalese art are those of the Licchavi dynasty (c. IV-VII century), during which a typically indigenous art and architecture originated and developed, and of the Malla dynasty, whose history and artistic documentation cover, after a parenthesis of over five centuries, the period from the century. XI to the century. XIV, according to the genealogy of the Malla kings handed down to us by the inscriptions of the time found by G. Tucci in Dullu in the western part of Nepal, rich in monuments and works of art of this dynasty. The civil architecture of ancient Nepal adopted the building typology of the sanctuaries and monastic complexes of Buddhism, with large proportions and a harmonious compositional scheme consisting of the main temple and a constellation of minor temples, stūpa and other small buildings (chapels, various monuments), as well as buildings intended for housing the monastic community. War destruction and natural disasters caused serious destruction of the Nepalese artistic heritage, especially in the century. XIV. Much of it was rebuilt in the following century after the period of great artistic flourishing that took place under the reign of the seventh ruler Malla Jayastithi (1382-95). Today the major existing artistic monuments are found in the cities that were the seat of distinct Nepalese kingdoms, namely those of Bhadgaon, Lalita-Pāttana (Lalitpur) and Kathmandu, in addition to the numerous shrines and reliquaries that arise in various other locations. The most characteristic (in Svayambhūnātha, Bodhinātha, Lalitpur, Kīrtipur) reproduce the ancient mound shapes of the examples of the Maurya periodand they show paintings on the cubic area, the so-called harmikā, four pairs of stylized eyes, oriented towards the four cardinal points, protective image of the Vairocana Buddha.

Nepal Arts

Koguryŏ Tombs (World Heritage)

Koguryŏ Tombs (World Heritage)

The Koguryŏ dynasty ruled from 37 BC. BC to 688 AD large areas of northern China and the northern half of the Korean peninsula. In the middle of the 5th century, Pyongyang became the capital of this empire, which was subjugated by the Silla Empire in 688. The tomb complex near Pyongyang is of great importance for research into the Koguryŏ culture, as it contains wall paintings.

Koguryŏ Tombs: Facts

Official title: Koguryŏ tombs
Cultural monument: Tombs near Pyongyang and Namp’o with wall paintings depicting everyday scenes from the Koguryŏ culture, one of the “Three Kingdoms” of early Korean times; The climax of their reign from 277 BC. Until 688 in parts of northern China and in the northern half of the Korean peninsula; only 90 of the 10,000 Koguryŏ tombs with wall paintings discovered so far in China and Korea; almost half at this site
Continent: Asia
Country: North Korea
Location: Pyongyang and the surrounding area
Appointment: 2004
Meaning: Unique evidence of an Asian culture

The cradle of Korean culture

From 37 BC From BC to AD 668, the kingdom of Koguryŏ was one of the most important powers in East Asia. In its heyday, it stretched from Manchuria to what is now North Korea and northern South Korea. The only relics of this culture are numerous burial mounds over 1500 years old in which kings, members of the royal family and nobles were buried. In total, around 10,000 of these graves are known in North Korea and China, and new grave sites are still being discovered. In 90 of them there are often excellently preserved murals, which give a unique insight into the culture of Koguryŏ. For this reason, UNESCO has included 30 graves on North Korean soil – group and individual graves – in its list of world cultural heritage.

The legendary forefather of Koguryŏ is King Dongmyeong (58 BC – 19 BC), the son of heaven and the goddess of water – as the Korean chronicle Samguk Sagi from 1145 writes. He founded an empire that would last for 700 years. According to youremailverifier, North Korea still sees itself today in the tradition of Koguryŏ: as a fighting empire with strong armed forces that solves its problems itself and takes its fate into its own hands. Communist leaders like the “Eternal President” Kim Il Sung (1912–1994) like to portray themselves as the legitimate successors and heirs of Dongmyeong.

The Koguryŏ empire was tightly organized. The king was at the head of a feudal society in which the military held an important position. The people were aggressive and were often attacked – by the Chinese in the north and the kingdoms of the Silla and Baekje in the south. 145 disputes are historically documented. Fortified fortifications existed at the strategically important points, a total of around 200 in number. 50,000 soldiers were permanently available to the king, but if necessary the army could be increased to up to 200,000 men. The fighting was done with bows and arrows, spears and catapults.

In ancient Korea, belief in the afterlife was an integral part of the culture. The soul was considered immortal and lived on even after death. For this reason, the tombs were furnished like houses. Frescoes and paintings adorned the walls of the graves and showed the souls what their future life looked like. These colorful grave frescoes depict scenes from everyday life and from mythology. They provide information on what architecture, food culture and clothing, indeed everyday life, looked like in ancient Korea, which was shaped by Confucianism and Buddhism. They show that even then there was a lively trade and cultural exchange with southern China, Japan, Central Asia and Siberia, for which the Taedong-gang river was used as a traffic artery. And the frescoes testify to the numerous battles

Two graves stand out from the large number of barrows: In 1949 the largest barrow to date, the tomb of Anak, was discovered. The murals show a man and a woman dressed in Chinese style – presumably the people who were buried there. This grave is one of the few that bears an inscription that dates it to the year 357. The name of its owner is given as Dong Shou. The Kangso tomb is located near Pyongyang. The 12 meter high hill is one of the best preserved graves of the Koguryŏ era. Many of the mysterious religious frescoes, which were applied directly to the polished stone wall, appear as if freshly painted. Four mythological deities – dragon, phoenix, turtle and snake – guard the deceased and are supposed to ensure that he can enjoy his life in peace in the hereafter. The deceased also received rich grave goods with them on their way, but the graves were plundered over time, so that today only the paintings and a few old writings give an insight into life in the Koguryŏ empire. A true-to-scale reconstruction of a barrow from the region can be seen in the Pyongyang Historical Museum – but who was buried there is unclear.

Typical barrows of the Koguryŏ empire have also been found in China. In fact, parts of the former Koguryŏ empire are now Chinese territory. Since the early 1990s, the Koguryŏ culture has therefore also been claimed by China as part of its history. In 2004 a corresponding World Heritage Site was named: The “capitals and tombs of the Koguryŏ era” include the remains of the three Chinese cities of Wunu, Guonei and Wandu as well as 40 tumuli.

Koguryŏ Tombs (World Heritage)

Places to Visit in Bordeaux, France

Places to Visit in Bordeaux, France

Churches or sacred institutions

Cathédrale St. André
The cathedral was inaugurated by Pope Urban II in 1096 and comes close to the enormous dimensions of Notre Dame in Paris. The cathedral in Romanesque-Gothic style has a separate bell tower, which offers a beautiful view.
The preserved baroque organ of the cathedral is also worth a detour.
Address: Place Pey-Berland

Eglise St. Michel

The Eglise St. Michel has a 114 meter high bell tower and was built between the 15th and 16th centuries. There is a daily flea market around the church.
Address: Place Canteloup

Saint Seurin

Saint Seurin dates from the 13th and 14th centuries. However, it did not get its current garb in 1831. However, a figure portal on the south side of the church still dates from the original days.
The vestibule from the previous building from the 11th century is even older than this. Reliquaries and sarcophagi from the 6th and 7th centuries can still be seen in the crypt.
Address: Rue Rod. Péreire

Stages

Stade Chaban-Delmas (Parc de Lescure)
The Stade Chaban-Delmas (Parc de Lescure) was inaugurated in 1924 and is constantly updated, so that today there is space for up to 35,200 people, for example when the local soccer team GB plays here.
Address: Place Johnston

Zoological Garden

Zoo de Bordeaux Pessac
The Zoo de Bordeaux Pessac was bought by Wild Nature Holding in 2004 and was subsequently revised and redesigned.
Address:
3, avenue du Transvaal
33600 PESSAC

Parks

Jardin Public
The Jardin Public was laid out in 1746. There is a nice children’s playground on the island (Ile des enfants) on the lake in the park. Also in the park are the species-rich Bordeaux Botanical Garden and the natural history museum.
Address: Cours de Verdun

Rivers and lakes

Garonne
The city’s river is the Garonne, which flows through the city from north to south. It is spanned by five bridges within Bordeaux.

Bordeaux-Lac Bordeaux-Lac can be found on both sides of the northern ring road. The 160 hectare lake is the center of a complex that also includes the trade fair, a congress center, a cycling track and an amusement park.

Port

The city’s port is the sixth most important port in France, but the most important wine export port in the world. The city’s historic harbors lost their importance when sailing on the Gironde was no longer possible due to the increasing draft of the ships.
Internet: www.bordeaux-port.fr

Trips

The village of St. Emilion is 35 km east of Bordeaux . It is widely known for its 14th-century cloister of the Eglise Collégiale. The two towers Tour du Roy and Clocher Monolithe should also be visited here for a panoramic view, as well as the rock church Eglise Monolithe with the grotto and the catacombs. St. Emilion is even more famous for its excellent wines. Wine lovers should definitely not miss out on a few wine tastings.

The Médoc wine-growing region to the south and west of the Gironde covers 13,500 hectares. Wine enthusiasts are recommended to visit Château Mouton-Rothschild near Pauillac, which has collections and the wine store open to visitors.

The fortified castle of Château de la Brède is located around 20 km south of Bordeaux. It dates from the 14th century. Montesquieu was born here in 1689. A collection here commemorates the great writer and state theorist.

Trips

Atlantic coast
The Atlantic coast with its wonderful wide and white beaches is around 50 km (as the crow flies) from Bordeaux

Arcachon
The municipality of Arcachon with around 10,000 residents is located around 50 km (as the crow flies) southwest of Bordeaux.
The place is famous for its nearby dune “Dune du Pilat”, which has a height of about 110 m, a length of 2.7 km and a width at its base of about 500 m.

Traffic in the city

Tram
Since 2004 a modern tram has been running on three lines in the city of Bordeaux according to relationshipsplus. Most of the railway is supplied with an underground power supply. Internet: www.infotbc.com

Busses
Bordeaux has 72 bus routes that are used during the day, 10 express routes and 12 routes that are operated by the night bus.
www.infotbc.com

Taxis There are
around 400 taxis in Bordeaux. They can be called, stopped or boarded at one of the city’s numerous stations.

Bicycle
The bicycle path network in Bordeaux “intra muros” (within the city walls) is relatively well developed with cycle paths, not last. as the bus routes are also available to cyclists.

Places to Visit in Bordeaux, France

Parks and Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Parks and Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires Botanical Garden
The Buenos Aires Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires) is a public garden located in the Palermo district, in the north of the city. It is bordered by Avenida Santa Fe, Avenida Las Heras and Calle República Árabe Siria. According to Abbreviationfinder, Buenos Aires is often abbreviated as BA.
The garden forms a connected recreational area with the zoological garden, the Parque Tres de Febrero and the Japanese garden. It covers an area of ​​around 70,000 m² and is home to around 5,000 types of plants as well as a number of sculptures, monuments and five greenhouses.
The garden was designed by the Franco-Argentine landscape architect Carlos Thays (1849-1934) and opened on September 7, 1898.
The garden is divided into the following three zones:
– Roman garden The Roman garden houses trees that grew in the garden of the hobby botanist and Senator Pliny the Younger (61 AD-113) in the garden of his villa in the Apennines, so Cypresses, poplars and laurel trees.
– French garden The French garden is laid out in the style of the 17th and 18th centuries, the time of absolutism.
– Oriental garden The oriental garden is home to plants from Asia – including gingko trees, from Oceania, as well as acacias, eucalyptus and casuarina and European plants such as oak and hazelnut and plants from Africa, including palm trees.
In addition, numerous plants from North and South America grow here, such as sequoias and foil silk trees and there is an extensive collection of native vegetation.
In 1996 the Botanical Garden was added to the list of National Monuments of Argentina.

Parque Centenario
The freely accessible public park is located in the Caballito district on Avenida Patricias Argentinas.
The park was laid out in memory of the May Revolution of 1810 on an area of ​​around 10 hectares and opened in 1910, 100 years later – hence the name.
The plans for the park came from the Franco-Argentine landscape architect Carlos Thays (1849-1934). Nowadays it is used as a sports and leisure park, so there is a skate area, play areas for children and of course lots of green areas.
A 2,000 m² lake, which was created later, is ideal for walking and jogging. The park’s amphitheater was inaugurated in 1951 by President Juan Perón (1895-1974), but it burned down in 1955.
As part of a general renovation of the park, it was rebuilt in 2009.
On the weekends there are many small market stalls in the park that sell books and handicrafts, among other things. In addition, the natural science Museo de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia has its seat at the park. Parque de 3 de Febrero The extensive park in the Palermo district was built in 1890. Various smaller and larger gardens invite you to relax. It is also known as “Parque Palermo”. Jardín Japonés In the Asian-looking park there are several ponds, bridges and waterfalls. Original Japanese ornamental fish swim in the largest lake in the park.

Parque Natural y Reserva Ecológico
This approximately 350 hectare nature reserve on the Río de la Plata consists of meadows, scrub and forest. You can also find lagoons and wetlands here.
Around 250 species of birds, 9 species of amphibians, 23 species of reptiles and 10 species of mammals live here. Around 50 species of butterflies were also counted.
The city’s residents like to use the park as a local recreation and sports facility.
At the south entrance at the Fuente Nereidas fountain, which was designed by Lola Mora, you can borrow bicicletas, for example, to ride the 8 km circular path through the park.
The impressive view of the skyline of Buenos Aires is also worth mentioning.
Avenida Tristán Achával Rodríguez 1550

Tierra Santa
Tierra Santa (Holy Land) is a religious theme park in the style of a religious Disney park in the middle of Buenos Aires. On Good Friday and Easter, the crucifixion and resurrection story is presented by Jesus.
The Last Supper, the Way of the Cross, the crucifixion of Jesus or the burning of Judas are staged.
There are also thousands of visitors to the park. The whole thing looks pretty kitschy to Central Europeans, but the performances have a long tradition in Argentina and are considered religious highlights.
On “normal” days the park seems rather calm and a larger than life Jesus figure rises from a hill, turns in a circle and disappears again.
It is interesting that Muslim or Jewish traditions are also cultivated here. So the local Jews can deposit their wish lists in the cracks of a wailing wall – as in Jerusalem – which are brought to Jerusalem once a year.
Some of the employees are disguised as Franciscan monks or as Romans.
Av. Costanera Rafael Obligado

La Recoleta Cemetery
The huge La Recoleta Cemetery (Cementerio de la Recoleta) is located in the Recoleta district of Buenos Aires. The cemetery was opened in 1822. Many of the “rich and famous” of the city and Argentina were buried on it.
Many of the 7,000 mausoleums, most of which are adorned with marble figures and elaborate domes, appear like small palaces.
The most visited tomb is that of Eva (Evita) Perón (1919-1952), the second wife of President Juan Perón (1895-1974).
Right next to the entrance to the cemetery is the Bisilica del Pilar from 1732. Private photography is permitted.

Parks and Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Beijing Festivals and Events

Beijing Festivals and Events

Beijing: Known People

Note
You can find numerous people from Beijing, including all the emperors who ruled the empire, at Goruma under the heading “Personalities of China” under the following link.
In order to avoid double entries, only relatively few people are shown at this point

Aisin Gioro Pu Yi (1906-1967)
Born in Beijing, he was the last emperor of the Chinese Empire. He ruled from 1908 to 1912. Under communist rule he was subjected to intensive re-education.

Cíxí (1835-1908)
The Dowager Empress Cíxí was one of Xianfeng’s concubines, the Manchu Emperor, who ruled from 1851-1861. This made her one of the most influential women of the imperial era.

Faye Wong (born 1969)
Faye Wong is a Chinese actress and singer, also known as Wang Fei, who has appeared in various film productions. Born in Beijing, she is considered one of the most popular Asian artists.

Ivan Desny (1922-2002)
The French-German actor was born as Ivan Nikolai Desnitzky in Beijing. He made various films, including “Touch me not” from 1974. Desny died in Switzerland at the age of 79.

Jet Li (born 1963)
Jet Li was born in Beijing in 1963 and gained fame as a martial arts master and as an actor.

Lao She (1899-1966)
This famous Chinese writer was born on February 3, 1899 as Shu Quìngchun in Beijing.

Shan Sa (born 1972)
This Sino-French writer was born in Beijing and was awarded first prize in the national Chinese poetry competition very early on. But after the bloody events of 1989 on Tiananmen Square, she emigrated to France.

Qiánlóng (1711-1799)
The fourth Chinese emperor (Quing dynasty), actually named Aisin Gioro Hóngli, was born in Beijing and died there. His reign was from 1735 to 1796, but actually until 1799.

Xie Jun (born 1970) Xie Jun was born
in Beijing in 1970 and is a Chinese chess player and world champion. In addition to the world champion title, she also won several other titles (national champion etc.) and was listed as the third best chess player on the international world rankings in 2005.

Zhang Ziyi (born 1979)
Born in Beijing, Zhang Ziyi, who is considered one of the most famous young talents in China, is one of the most famous Chinese actresses.

Beijing: special features, festivals and events

Peculiarities of the city

Beijing Opera (Jingju)
The famous Beijing opera (Jingju), a particular branch of Chinese opera, in which various artistic styles (dance, martial arts, singing, pantomime, acrobatics, etc.) are mixed, taken up in the form of historical themes and linked with mythology, is considered a great specialty of Beijing become. The frugal equipment and the deep symbolism in the representation are characteristic. The language in which it is performed is difficult to understand today because it is an old dialect that is no longer spoken today. Performances are therefore mostly given with English or subtitles in Mandarin. The performances last about 90 minutes. Considered the highest form of Chinese culture, the Beijing Opera is not limited to the capital, but is performed throughout the country.

Beijing Festivals and Events

Culinary diversity
According to relationshipsplus, the second specialty of Beijing is the enormous culinary diversity of the city. All the world’s kitchens are represented here. But Beijing itself also has a long and distinct tradition of cooking, the best-known representatives of which are Beijing duck (Beijing Kaoya), a delicacy made from pieces of chicken and onions wrapped in pancakes and previously pickled in plum sauce, and the Mongolian hot pot (huoguo). The latter is a broth made with sliced ​​mutton, cabbage, and noodles.

Chinese New Year
or Spring Festival
(between Jan 20 and Feb 21)

This is one of the most important and popular family celebrations in all of China and is based on the Chinese traditional peasant calendar. The festival is between January 20th and February 21st. It will be rung in with the new moon in the first month of the new year. Although the Gregorian calendar is now officially used in China, the New Year is still celebrated according to the lunar calendar and in the traditional way. For the people of Beijing (and of course all of China) there are three days off and the celebrations last until the 15th day of the New Year. There are also fireworks in the city, gongs and drums are struck, lion dances are performed, and people walk on stilts. There are also traditional temple markets where you can enjoy various performances.

International Women’s Day (March 8th)

On March 8th, Beijing celebrates International Women’s Day. In general, women get half a day off on this day, but this is regulated differently from province to province and is not required by law.

International Children’s Day (June 1st)

This holiday is especially loved by the young Chinese because all children under the age of thirteen have no school on this day. Parents apply for vacation and do something with their children. Many also officially have a day off. Alternatively, the schools organize visits to the cinema on this day, and families and children can be seen in the parks and cafes all over the city.

Youth Day (May 4th)

This day is celebrated in memory of the May 4th Movement in 1919. This movement were student protest marches that broke out because of the decision of the Versailles Conference after the First World War, as a result of which the rights of the German Empire in China were transferred to Japan.

Chinese Communist Party

Founding Day (July 1st) July 1st is not an official holiday. However, on that day, numerous television programs commemorate the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.

Establishment of the People’s Republic of China (October 1st)

Since there are 5 days of vacation on October 1st, the public holidays for the founding of the People’s Republic are also days with very heavy travel activity. On these days, many Chinese are out to visit their families. The city’s means of transport are then even more crowded than ever and should be avoided on this day.

Beijing: Tourist Offices

Tourist offices

Beijing Tourist Information Center
Capital Airport
Email: [email protected]

Beijing
Tourist Information Center
Beijing Luyou Zixun Fuwu Zhongxin
City: Chaoyang
Email: [email protected]

China International Travel Service (CITS

103 Fuxingmennei Dajie <
Tel: 6601 1122
Tourist hotline: 6513 0828, 6831 4971

Venezuela Travel Warning

Venezuela Travel Warning

According to youremailverifier, the Venezuelan government declared a state of emergency on the entire country on May 13, 2016. Violent clashes broke out during political protests. Given this current situation and the ongoing economic and supply shortages in the country, non-urgent travel to Venezuela is not recommended.

The following tourist destinations are excluded from this if they are visited as part of organized trips: Los Roques, Roraima, Canaima National Park, Isla Margarita and the Amacuro Delta. It should be noted that despite the start of the rainy season, there are still failures in the supply of drinking water and electricity throughout the country. As far as drinking water is available, it is not provided in the quality that is usual in Germany. This also leads to restrictions in the health and tourism sector. The medical care situation in Venezuela is deteriorating. Adequate treatment of emergencies in particular – e.g. in the course of traffic accidents – is not guaranteed everywhere and at all times.

Due to the deteriorating economic and supply situation, there are more and more demonstrations, some of which are announced and some of which arise spontaneously, especially in the cities. Firearms have also been used repeatedly in these in the past. Travelers are advised to pay close attention and are strongly advised to stay away from demonstrations and large crowds.

With regard to the widespread, high level of violent crime, to which foreigners also repeatedly fall victim, special care is required.

Germans who are in the country and have not yet entered the embassy list of Germans are advised to register electronically at External Link, opens in a new windowhttp: //elefand.diplo.de in order to prevent the security situation from deteriorating to be centrally accessible. This service can also be used by German citizens who only stay in the country for a short period of time.

Country-specific safety information

Demonstrations

It is strongly recommended that you stay away from crowds and demonstrations and that you follow media coverage and this travel advice regularly and carefully.

Border area with Colombia

Travel to the border area with Colombia is not recommended. In the areas along the Colombian border, particularly in the Venezuelan states of Amazonas, Apure, Barinas, Táchira and Zulia, there is still an increased risk of kidnappings and other violent crimes as a result of the Colombian internal conflict.

We also advise against leaving the country by land to and from Colombia. Temporary closings of the border with Colombia can be ordered at short notice at any time. Experience shows that border closings sometimes result in extremely long waiting times.

Holiday Island Margarita On the Holiday Island Margarita there is a risk of armed robbery, also in hotel complexes and during accompanied and organized group excursions. The center of Porlamar should be avoided especially after dark.

Piracy Sailors should note that robberies on anchored ships or ships close to the coast or cases of piracy along the Venezuelan coast occur sporadically and take appropriate measures (caution with spontaneous guests on board, self-protection at night).

Crime

The high crime rate in Venezuela poses a significant risk to both individual and group travelers. Kidnappings to extort money and armed attacks have increased. Germans were also affected. Street crime in large Venezuelan cities, especially Caracas, remains high. Violent crime and assaults can also be expected outside of the cities, for example on country roads.

In the past, during controls by uniformed officers (police, military) in the city, during roadside checks and even at the airport, travelers were robbed by uniformed controllers or forced to pay or exchange money. If possible, travelers should only hand over a copy of their passport and not the original document during such checks.

It is strongly advised to observe the following guidelines:

  • Driving in the dark should be avoided for safety reasons. Especially on the highway between the airport and Caracas, there were several attacks during the dark. Passengers are therefore generally advised not to use this route at night.
  • Travelers should not hitchhike or camp.
  • On excursions without a local tour guide, travelers should find out exactly which places are absolutely to be avoided (e.g. poor areas, the so-called “barrios”).
  • On arrival at Caracas Airport, there have been attacks in the past involving uniforms and taxi drivers. In the arrival hall of the airport, travelers should therefore in particular not accept transport offers from alleged taxi drivers or persons who appear to be authorized, but should only use the official airport taxis that are waiting in front of the arrival hall.
  • When using taxis and buses, you should only choose vehicles in good technical condition that are in radio communication with their company headquarters. Taxis or minibuses can also be used, as recommended by the hotel. There is a high risk of robbery when using supposedly cheaper taxis and buses.
  • If, despite all precautionary measures, an armed attack does occur, it is recommended that you do not resist.
  • Money should only be exchanged at the designated counters.
  • Valuable objects or large amounts of money should not be carried; this also applies to the journey to and stay at the airport on departure.

Greater caution is advisable when using credit / debit cards, as there are always cases of fraudulent debits.

Venezuela Travel Warning

Ethiopia Travel Warning

Ethiopia Travel Warning

At the beginning of January 2017, a hand grenade exploded in front of the Grand Hotel in Bahir Dar and a week later in the entrance area of the Etasal Hotel in Gondar. In the latter incident, one person died and others were injured.

According to youremailverifier, the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency on October 8, 2016. This was preceded by mass demonstrations and sometimes violent protests against the Ethiopian government, mostly in the Oromia and Amhara regions. It is currently not advisable to go on holiday to the Oromia and Amhara regions away from the main routes. Traveling on the main routes (Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela, Dire Dawa, Arba Minch) is currently possible without any problems.

Details of the state of emergency were announced on Ethiopian TV on October 15, 2016. In particular, all protest activities were prohibited.

Travelers are advised to register online in the German list of the embassy in Addis Ababa (ELEFAND) so that the embassy – if necessary – can contact you quickly in crises and other exceptional situations: External link, opens in a new windowhttp: //elefand.diplo. de

The sending of electronic messages (SMS), messages via social networks and e-mails may be temporarily restricted. In large parts of the country, the mobile Internet has been switched off for weeks. It is strongly recommended that you avoid any communication with critical and political statements.

Travelers should also always have several copies of their passport with them. Every landlord and car rental company must provide the authorities with data on their tenants and customers.

The protests are also expressed in roadblocks. In some cases, vehicles outside of Addis Ababa were pelted with stones, including deaths and injuries. Various companies, including foreign ones, were looted or set on fire, including in individual cases tourist accommodations (lodges). The internet and mobile network are interrupted regularly, sometimes for days.

Travelers are advised to stay away from the locations of the clashes, avoid crowds and, if necessary, go to protected areas. If a demonstration has been announced, the route or the whereabouts should be adjusted accordingly.

Country-specific safety information

Domestic situation

The imposition of the state of emergency on October 8th, 2016 has been preceded by protests since autumn 2015, which sparked, among other things, the “Urban Development Plan Addis Ababa”. Many Oromos fear further land grabbing in the event of insufficient compensation Aggravated again in 2016 and extended to the Amharen region. The cities of Bahir Dar and Gondar, which are popular with tourists, were also affected in July. Since then there have been repeated violent clashes between security forces and protesters, leaving numerous dead and injured.

Due to the state of emergency, the provincial administrations are deprived of their powers to maintain public safety and order and are centralized to the Ethiopian federal government. This enables them to react more quickly to future unrest. Details of the implementation of the state of emergency are not yet known.

Road blockades by demonstrators, especially in the immediate vicinity of the capital Addis Ababa, and the cordoning off of areas by the security forces, often restrict road traffic in the region. Countermeasures by the police during protest actions, such as evictions and mass arrests, can also endanger uninvolved persons. Anyone who tries to disregard the barriers must expect to be pelted with stones. Such incidents have already resulted in deaths and injuries.

There are frequent incidents in the outskirts of the country. In the Somali region (Ogaden) in the east, the Ethiopian military carries out armed operations against members of the ONLF (see also Traveling overland).

In the border area with Somalia, due to possible military actions against fighters of the Islamist terrorist organization al-Shabaab, larger troop movements can also be expected across borders.

In the Gambella region there was a tribal-politically motivated attack on villages near the city of Gambella from South Sudan in mid-April 2016, in which a large number of Ethiopians were killed and numerous children were kidnapped. Some of the children were returned in mid-May. Less than a week after the attack, employees of an aid organization were attacked and killed by refugees after a vehicle from this organization caused the deaths of two refugee girls in a traffic accident. In the meantime, the situation has calmed down due to the high presence of government troops and security forces. However, it is not advisable to travel to the region that is not necessary. The border area with South Sudan should be avoided.

When traveling in the South Omo Zone, especially away from the tourist routes, it is strongly recommended to inform yourself about the current security situation with the local authorities immediately before starting your journey. Due to an armed attack on a European tour group on November 7th, 2016, it is recommended that trips in the area north of the Omo National Park only be undertaken with professional tour operators accompanied by Ethiopian security forces. Individual travel in the region is not recommended.

Terrorism

As in other East African countries, activities by terrorist groups in Ethiopia cannot be ruled out. In view of Ethiopia’s military engagement in Somalia, this applies above all to the terrorist organization al-Shabaab there, which regularly threatens countries engaged in Somalia. The location of Addis Ababa, as the seat of the African Union (AU), also increases the attractiveness for possible terrorist attacks. The Ethiopian government warns against activities of al-Shabaab in Ethiopia.

In recent years there have been isolated (attempted) bomb attacks in Addis Ababa. It cannot be ruled out that Ethiopia will continue to be the target of attacks in the future.

Greater caution is therefore advised, especially around western facilities and tourist destinations. This also applies to larger hotels. Attention should be paid to suspicious persons and abandoned items of luggage such as bags, parcels or bundles of textiles. Caution is also advised when participating in major events. Your own behavior should be as inconspicuous as possible. Larger gatherings of people should be avoided.

Land travel / kidnapping / crime / road traffic

Since demonstrations and protests are often to be expected in the Oromo and Amhara regions as well as in the Amhara region, travelers should find out about the security situation on a daily basis.

For the use of the road connections Addis Ababa – Djibouti, Addis Ababa – Shashemene – Moyale, Addis Abeba – Harar, Addis Abebe – Asosa, Addis Ababa – Gambella, Addis Ababa – Debreguracha, Gondar – Metema, Gondar – Humera and Addis Ababa – Shashemene – Dolo separate regulations apply. These include a ban on carrying firearms, knives and objects for starting a fire.

In Addis Ababa there are more frequent pickpockets and occasionally robberies on passers-by. Pay extra attention, especially after dark.

The country’s infrastructure is weak, and there are only a limited number of well-developed roads for overland travel. In principle, long-distance journeys should not be made in the late afternoon, at dusk or in the dark for reasons of road safety.

Before traveling inland, precise inquiries about the security situation should be obtained in individual cases. Particularly in the border regions and away from regularly used roads, an increased risk from attacks and, furthermore, from land mines can be assumed. In addition, the possibilities to get help in traffic accidents are extremely limited. It is therefore generally advisable to use local guides and, if necessary, to coordinate the trip with the local authorities.

Border area with Eritrea

Attacks by bandits and local underground organizations as well as kidnappings cannot be ruled out when driving into the direct border area with Eritrea and the Danakil Depression in North Afar. In January 2012, an armed attack on a tour group took place on the edge of the Ertale volcano in the Danakil desert, in which two German nationals were killed and other German and other EU citizens were injured (kidnappings lasting several weeks).

Against this background, the Federal Foreign Office advises against traveling independently to the Danakil Desert and the northern Afar region without being accompanied by Ethiopian security forces.

Newly laid land mines must also be expected there. In the southeast of the border region with Eritrea, the area on the Bure-Assab road is affected. It is not advisable to take the Eli Dar road towards Assab. If journeys are absolutely necessary, the local authorities should be informed and appropriate.

Ethiopia Travel Warning

Transportation in Romania

Transportation in Romania

ON THE GO

Traveling by plane

Tarom (RO) (Internet: www.tarom.ro) flies regularly to Constanta, Arad, Bacau, Caransebes, Baia Mare, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Satu Mare, Timisoara, Oradea, Tirgu Mures, Sibiu, Suceava and Tulcea.

On the way by car / bus

Even the most remote places in Romania can be reached by car. There is now a 334 km long motorway network.

A vignette is required for cars on the roads of Romania. The vignette is valid for one year from purchase. In addition to the annual vignette, drivers can also purchase a 30-day or 7-day vignette.

The vignettes are available at border crossings, petrol stations (PETROM, ROMPETROL, OMV and MOL) and at post offices.

The petrol station network is well developed. Credit cards are not accepted at the petrol stations.

According to youremailverifier, the Romanian Automobile Club (ACR) has its headquarters in Bucharest (Tel: (92 71) and offers members of similar organizations Breakdown services. An ADAC international emergency call station has been set up. It offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC international health and accident insurance assistance with hotels, rental cars, vehicle or patient repatriation. The emergency call station in Bucharest is manned during the week (Tel: (021) 223 45 25. Internet: www.adac.de). At the weekend you can contact the emergency call station in Athens (see Greece). Buses go to almost all cities and villages. Taxis can be hailed in the street or ordered through hotels; one should use metered taxis.

Rental car

Reservations can be made at the airport or through the hotels. However, it is recommended to book a rental car with a chauffeur, as the traffic can be quite hectic. Documents: National or international driver’s license and the green insurance card. It is recommended that you take out short comprehensive insurance. The national driving license is sufficient for EU citizens. For nationals of EU and EFTA countries, the car registration number is used as proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are advised to take the international green insurance card with them in order to benefit from full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance cover applies. In addition, the green cardfacilitate accident recording.

Transportation in Romania

Traffic regulations:
The use of cell phones at the wheel is only permitted when using a hands-free system.
Drivers must always have a fire extinguisher and two warning triangles in their car.
Absolute alcohol ban.
Driving with dipped headlights during the day is compulsory all year round.

Speed limits:
within built-up areas: 50 km / h (40 km / h for motorcycles);
on country roads: 90 km / h (60 km / h for motorcycles);

on expressways and European roads: 100 km / h;
on motorways: 130 km / h.

Traveling in the city

There is good public transport available in the larger cities. Bucharest is the only city that has a metro network (Internet: www.metrorex.ro). Tickets are bought in advance and validated on the bus or train. There are day, week and two-week tickets. An independent minibus service operates 18 different routes.

On the go by train

The Romanian State Railways (Internet: www.cfr.ro) is punctual, reliable and inexpensive. Some trains have sleeping and dining cars. Surcharge and seat reservation required for express and express trains. These run from Bucharest to Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Constanta and Brasov. The “Rail Inclusive Tour” ticket also includes accommodation as well as transport. The train doors on Romanian trains are located relatively high above the platform, so boarding can often be a bit difficult for people with limited mobility.
Balkan Flexipass and InterRail passes are valid (for details see Germany).

On the way by ship

Shipping traffic on the Danube: From Calafat and from Moldova Veche, ships leave from Drobeta Turnu Severin and in Bechet you leave with SPET SA Bucuresti. There are ferries from Braila, Galati, Tulcea and from Smardan. Tulcea is connected to several villages in the Danube Delta by ferry.
There are currently no regular ferry transports departing from Romanian ports on the Black Sea.

TRAVEL WARNING

Current information

Numerous demonstrations against controversial easing of anti-corruption legislation have taken place in larger cities across Romania. In Bucharest, hundreds of thousands took part in the first days of February, and there were also riots. It cannot be ruled out that the protests will continue and that there will be further riots.

Travelers are advised to follow the situation in the media and avoid crowds.

Transportation in Hungary

Transportation in Hungary

ON THE GO

On the way by car / bus

According to youremailverifier, Hungary has a well-developed road network (Internet: www.aka.hu). There are eight major thoroughfares; except for the M8, they all start in Budapest. The two main connecting roads from Budapest are the M1 to Hegyeshalom and the M7, which connects Budapest with Lake Balaton. The M3 connects Budapest with eastern Hungary (as far as Görbehaza) and the M6 is the quickest way to get from Budapest to southern Hungary.

For the motorways (Internet: www.autobahn.hu) it is necessary to purchase an e-vignette which can be used for 4 days, 10 days, 1 month or 1 year at the toll booths on the motorway, at the Hegyeshalom border station and at the petrol stations in the Close to the motorway is available.

Emergency telephones can be found every 2 km on the motorways M1, M5, M7 and on Europastraße 5.

There is a well-developed network of petrol stations. All types of fuel commonly used in international traffic are available.

Bus: Volanbusz maintains bus routes to the cities in the country and to the resorts and vacation spots. Almost all Hungarian cities can be reached by bus from Budapest. Tickets are available from Volán and Ibusz offices across the country. There is also a bus network card.

Taxi: In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, the fare should be agreed upon before starting the journey.

Car rental at Ferihegy-Airport, at IBUSZ, Volán, the Budapest Tourist Office and the larger hotels.

Roadside Assistance:
The Hungarian Automobile Club operates a roadside assistance service on the weekends on the main roads and 24 hours on the motorways and can be reached nationwide on telephone number 188; (Address: Rómer Flóris u. 8, H-1024 Budapest. Tel: (01) 345 17 44 (24-hour helpline) (Internet: www.autoklub.hu).

An ADAC international emergency call station has also been set up ( Tel: (01) 345 17 17. Internet: www.adac.de). It offers ADAC members and holders of an ADACForeign health and accident protection assistance with hotels, rental cars, vehicle or patient repatriation.

Documents:
The national driving license is sufficient for EU citizens. For nationals of EU and EFTA countries, the car registration number is used as proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are advised to take the international green insurance card with them in order to benefit from full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance cover applies. The green card can also make it easier to record accidents.

Transportation in Hungary

Traffic regulations:
– Wear seat belts.
– Strict alcohol driving ban (0.0%).
– Even during the day, dipped headlights must be used outside built-up areas.
– Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians must wear a safety vest outside the local area in poor visibility or darkness.
– Horn is only allowed in built-up areas if there is an immediate risk of an accident.
– Telephoning is only permitted with a hands-free system.
– Snow chains should always be carried in the vehicle during the winter season.

Speed limits for cars and motorcycles:
Motorway: 130 km / h
Expressway: 110 km / h
Country road: 90 km / h
Town: 50 km / h

Speed limits for buses:
Motorway: 80 km / h
Expressway: 70 km / h
Country road: 70 km / h
Town: 50 km / h

Note on traveling by road

Travelers who drive to Hungary by car should make sure that the TÜV stickers on their vehicles have not expired, otherwise there is a risk of serious problems with the Hungarian authorities.

Attention: Traffic violations such as speeding, non-compliance with seatbelts, driving under the influence of alcohol or driving over red traffic lights can result in heavy fines of up to HUF 300,000 (approx. € 1,100), which are collected on the spot. If you don’t pay immediately, you can expect your car to be confiscated.

Traveling in the city

The larger cities have good local transport networks. In Budapest there are buses, trolleybuses, trams, suburban trains (HEV), three underground lines and ferries.

Tickets for trams and buses are available in advance in tobacco shops. Day tickets are available for all modes of transport. The trams and buses run from 4.30 a.m. to 11 p.m., there are also some night lines (marked with “É”). Subway service from 4:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. There is also a rack railway (Városmajor – Széchenyi hill), an old train from the pioneering days of the railway (Hüvösvölgy – Széchenyi hill), a chair lift and a cable car. In the other cities there are trams or buses.

On the go by train

The Hungarian rail network runs radially, the center is Budapest. The route network is operated by MÁV (ticket office in Budapest, Tel / Fax: (01) 322 84 05; Internet: www.mav.hu) and covers 8,500 km. Timetable information is available at (01) 461 55 00 (international timetables) and (01) 461 54 00 (national timetables).

All major cities can be easily reached by rail; connections are good, but facilities are often inadequate. There is a surcharge for express trains; Seat reservations are required, especially in summer. Tickets and reservation cards can be purchased up to 60 days in advance.

Vintage train (website: www.mavnosztalgia.hu) run according to the schedule to the Danube Bend from Budapest West Railway Station to Kismaros Railway Station (every Saturday in spring and summer).
Further information is available from MAV Nosztalgia GmbH, Tel / Fax: (01) 302 00 69.

Note on rail travel

Fare reductions / special tickets: For retirees over the age of 60 there is a fare reduction RES. Tourist cards (valid for 7-10 days) are also available. The JUNIOR discount applies to people up to 26 years of age. Children under 4 years travel for free. Further information from the tourist office (see addresses).

Peru Everyday Life

Peru Everyday Life

Everyday life in Peru

The day usually starts early in Peru. In the country, there is a mate tea for breakfast, along with bread and mote, which are boiled corn kernels. The main meal is at noon. The people here traditionally live in huts made of unfired, air-dried mud bricks, the adobes. Not only here, but also in the townhouses, there is rarely heating – and it can get very cool in the highlands! It is also often windy.

The Indians wear their traditional, colorful clothing. The colorful, hand-knitted hats with ear flaps are called chullos. They not only serve as protection against the cold, but above all as protection against the sun, which shines powerfully in the high mountains of the Andes.

It’s much quieter in the country than in the city. In Lima or Cusco there is often traffic chaos. Although there is poverty and slums in Lima too, overall life here is more like what you know. There are shopping centers and cinemas, parks and restaurants.

Panpipe music is very popular in Peru, and people also like cumbia. Almost every Peruvian is a member of some dance group, including boys and men! Folk dance groups perform at all celebrations and festivals.

And what are the names of the children in Peru?

Particularly popular boy names in Peru are Luis, Alberto, Edgar, Martín, Alejandro, Jorge, and Daniel. You know some of them from Germany. Alejandro is the Spanish version of Alexander. Girls are often called Elisabeth, Rosa, Carmen, María, Patricia, Daniela and Adriana.

Most Peruvians have Spanish surnames such as Flores, Sánchez, Rodríguez or García. But there are also names from the Quechua language. Quispe and Huamán are particularly common. The name Mamani comes from the Aymara. Each child is given two surnames: that of the father and that of the mother. Two are also often chosen for the first names.

Questions and Answers

What is the favorite drink of Peruvians?

The favorite drink of Peruvians – at least in the Andes – is Chicha morada (pronounced: Chicha morada). It is made from a variety of corn that is purple. This maize also grows mainly in the Andes. The whole corn on the cob is boiled in water with pineapple and quince peels as well as cinnamon and cloves. Then you cool everything down, add sugar and lemon juice if you like and finally serve the chicha cold with apple pieces. Mmmh!

Why do Peruvians wear hats with ear flaps?

Long before the Europeans came to South America, the knitted earflap cap was the traditional headgear in the Andes. We also call it the Inca hat. Originally, the chullo was only worn by men. The pattern in which the hat was knitted even said something about the person wearing it, for example what social position he was in.

Above all, the chullo naturally keeps you warm and your ears are protected at the same time! At the same time, however, it also offers protection from the wind and the sun, which shines strongly at high altitudes. Because in the Andes it is quickly warm in the sun during the day, but as soon as the sun is gone, it gets really cold.

Is it true that people in Peru eat guinea pigs?

Guinea pigs are actually on the menu of Peruvians. The animals that are popular with us as pets originally come from South America, where they live both in the grasslands and in the mountains. Just as we eat meat from deer or wild boar, in Peru and other countries you eat guinea pigs. Your name is Cuy here. However, they are no longer hunted, but specially bred in order to then grill them. It takes a bit of getting used to for us that the animals are put on the plate as a whole.

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is one of the biggest attractions for tourists in South America. It is an old Inca city. Machu Picchu (pronounced: Matschu Piktschu) means “ancient summit” in Quechua (the language of the Inca and their descendants). The city is located in the middle of the mountains at an altitude of 2360 meters. You can still see today where the Inca had fields, because they laid these fields in terraces below the city.

The city was only rediscovered in 1911. The explorer Hiram Bingham from the USA came across the ruins overgrown by the jungle during an expedition. In the following years the city was exposed again. Today, an average of 2000 visitors come to Machu Picchu every day. This rush endangers the preservation of the old Inca site and a limit is requested.

Machu Picchu

Tibet Recent History

Tibet Recent History

Tibet in the 18th and 19th centuries

In 1717 the Dzungar Mongols invaded Tibet, but were quickly driven from Tibet by the Tibetan army.

Due to the unrest in Tibet, the Manchu Emperor K’ang-Hsi managed to gain a foothold in Tibet. In order to secure Manchu influence in Tibet, the Manchu Emperor Yung-Cheng first appointed two civilian representatives of the emperor – known as Ambane – with a garrison under a military commander in Lhasa in 1728. The task of the two ambans was initially to advise the Tibetan government as an observer. Over time, however, the Manchus began to expand their influence in the Tibetan government. Tibet became a protectorate of the Manchu emperors under Tibetan administration.

In view of the increasingly weaker position of China as a semi-colony after the first opium war (1840/1842), the Mongolian Manchu emperors were no longer able to maintain their obligation to protect Tibet in the second half of the 19th century.

20th century until today

The political situation in Tibet changed in the 20th century. The British government in India showed a growing interest in Tibet around 1850. Tibet’s isolated position due to its geographical and religious location was exploited by the Manchus in the 19th century to claim rule over Tibet. In terms of foreign policy, they pretended that China represented Tibet in political matters. In order to determine the real status of Tibet, Great Britain asked the Manchu government in 1878 for permission to send a British research expedition to Tibet.

The Manchu government agreed, but the Tibetan government forbade the expedition to step on Tibetan soil. In 1890 Great Britain negotiated with the Manchu government of China over the border between Tibet and Sikkim, which was then a British protectorate. The Tibetan government refused to recognize this agreement on the grounds that treaties with China over Tibet were not binding.

To contact the Tibetan government, Great Britain sent a military expedition to Tibet in 1903. The British Army defeated the Tibetan Army and invaded Lhasa. In 1904, Tibet and Great Britain signed the so-called “Lhasa Convention of 1904”, in which Tibet undertook not to make any concessions of a territorial or political nature to foreign powers without the prior consent of the British government.

This convention between Tibet and Great Britain without the participation of the Manchu government of China meant the sovereignty of Tibet. However, it was revised by two other treaties signed by Great Britain in 1906 with China and 1907 with Russia without Tibetan involvement in favor of a recognition of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.

The Manchu government took Lhasa by Chinese troops in 1910, which led to the flight of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso (1876-1933), to India. However, with the fall of the Manchu Dynasty and the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912, the political situation in Tibet changed radically. In 1911 the Tibetans drove the Chinese soldiers out of Tibet.

With this the supremacy of the Manchus over Tibet finally fell. In 1912, the Chinese president claimed that Tibet as a Chinese province was part of China.

After his return to Lhasa from exile in India, the 13th Dalai Lama proclaimed the independence of Tibet in 1913. In 1914 the Simla tripartite conference took place between the equal plenipotentiaries of Great Britain, Tibet and China.

The “Simla Conference” was the first real attempt to resolve the Sino-Tibetan differences and to define the border of Tibet. However, no concrete solution to this question could be found. In 1918 another border war broke out between Tibet and China.

From 1912 to 1949/50, Tibet was completely independent. Immediately after the founding of the People’s Republic of China under Mao Tsetung’s leadership in 1949, however, Tibet was forcibly occupied by troops of the People’s Liberation Army. Tibet protested to the United Nations against the Chinese occupation in vain. The People’s Republic of China appropriated Tibet during the reign of the current 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

In order to avoid a bloodbath, the Dalai Lama tried in vain to find a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict between his people and the invading Chinese troops.

Without consulting the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in Lhasa, the Tibetan delegation in Beijing had to sign the so-called “17-point agreement for the peaceful liberation of Tibet” in 1951 under Chinese dictates. This unequal treaty was based on the premise that Tibet was part of China.

Tibet was officially annexed by the People’s Republic of China. The Tibetan resistance movement reached its tragic climax in the open popular uprising on March 10, 1959 in Lhasa. According to official Chinese information, around 87,000 Tibetans were killed. On March 28, 1959, the Tibetan government was dissolved and the “Tibet Autonomous Region Preparatory Committee” was established. At the same time, the Tibetan currency was declared invalid.

At the urging of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama had to leave the Tibetan capital on March 17, 1959 under strict secrecy and flee to India. More than 85,000 Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama into exile.

The Dalai Lama made several requests for help from India to the world public and to the United Nations. The International Commission of Jurists accused the People’s Republic of China of committing acts of genocide in Tibet with the aim of eliminating the Tibetan population as a religious group.

The General Assembly of the United Nations then adopted a non-binding resolution in the fall of 1959 condemning the actions of the Chinese occupying forces in Tibet and calling on the Chinese government to respect the fundamental human rights and the right to self-determination of the Tibetan people. However, this resolution brought no results for the Tibetan people.

In 1981, for example, only around 300 visitors came to Tibet, while in 2005, according to official reports, there were already around 100,000. And still over 80% of the population are farmers or shepherds.

Before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, there were liberation campaigns in Tibet, particularly by Buddhist monks. China put down the uprising, leaving well over 100 dead and thousands sent to re-education camps.

Tibet Recent History

Madeira Overview

Madeira Overview

Madeira – island of eternal spring

Madeira belongs to Portugal and thus to the European Union. Since the uprisings of Madeira’s residents in the 1970s after the so-called “Carnation Revolution” in Portugal, the island has been an autonomous region of Portugal, but still politically and militarily dependent on the mother country.
Madeira, together with the smaller island of Porto Santo and the two uninhabited islands – Ilhas Desertas and Ilhas Selvagens – forms the autonomous province of Madeira. The archipelago was discovered by Portuguese sailors in 1418.
The “Island of Eternal Spring”, as Madeira is also called, is located in the Atlantic, around 500 km from the African coast and around 1,000 km from Europe.

The island became famous for its important visitors, including Empress Sisi of Austria and Winston Churchill, who stayed for a long time on this beautiful island full of flowers and plants.
But on 19.20. In February 2010, the island fell victim to one of the worst natural disasters in living memory. As a result of tropical precipitation and severe storms, there were heavy floods and mudslides.
Entire streets were turned into raging rivers and destroyed houses, streets, cars and bridges. At least 42 people were likely killed.

Name of the country Madeira
Form of government Autonomous Region of Portugal
Geographical location Island in the Atlantic Ocean, about 500 km west of Morocco
National anthem Anthem of Portugal “A Portugesa”
Population approx. 213,000
Religions approx. 95% Roman Catholic
Languages Portuguese
Capital or administrative center Funchal
Surface 794 km²
Highest mountain Pico Ruivo with a height of 1,862 m
International license plate P
National currency Euro
Time difference to CET -1 h
International phone code 00351
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts, 50 hertz
Internet Top Level Domain (TLD) .pt

Population and cities

Population

Number
Madeira has around 230,000 residents.

Religion
About 95% of Madeira’s residents belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

National languages

In Madeira, as in the motherland Portugal, Portuguese is spoken.

Administrative center, other cities

The administrative center of Madeira is Funchal with a population of approx. 112,000.
Other cities are:

  • Machico with around 12,000 residents
  • Monte with around 9,000 residents
  • Santa Cruz with around 10,000 residents
  • Sao Vicente with around 6,000 residents

Madeira map

Coastline

Madeira has a coast to the Atlantic with a length of around 150 km.

Madeira: geography

General

The landscape of Madeira is very different and extremely impressive. The coast is partly very steep and is dominated by rugged rocky cliffs, the interior is predominantly mountainous and heavily overgrown. The valleys of Madeira are very lush and fertile in their vegetation.

Area and national borders

Madeira covers an area of ​​794 km².
Of these:

Fields and fields

The most important part of Madeira’s agriculture is viticulture. In addition, potatoes and bananas are grown on a large scale.

Madeira is an island belonging to Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic and therefore has no common border with any state.

Coastline

Madeira has a coast to the Atlantic with a length of around 150 km.

Tidal range

In Funchal, the mean tidal range is around 2 m.
(For a detailed explanation of ebb and flow, see tides, ebb and flow).

Compare
The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Madeira extends (from the island of Selvagens) over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 33 ° 07 ‘to 30 ° 01’ north latitude
Δλ = from 15 ° 51 ‘to 17 ° 15’ west longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Time

For Madeira, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there and a plus sign that it is later than after CET:

Δt (CET) = – 1 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Funchal

Funchal lies at a north latitude of around φ = 32.5 °.
If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, summer starts in Funchal on June 21st. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

32.5 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °

so:

H = 81 °

This is the highest level above the horizon (exactly: above the chimney) that the sun occupies within the year in Funchal.

Mountains

Pico Ruivo
The highest mountain in the country is the Pico Ruivo with a height of 1,862 m.

Islands

The following smaller islands are in front of Madeira Island:

  • Porto Santomit
  • Ilhas Desertas
  • Ilhas Selvagens

Madeira Overview

What could a package tour to Australia look like?

What could a package tour to Australia look like?

In the high season between June and August, the prices of a package tour to Australia are usually the highest. Nevertheless, the travel time according to the desired route must be taken into account. You should not save at the wrong end here, as there are several climate zones Down Under and it can get accordingly cool and / or wet. Furthermore, the most famous sights on the selected route should always be approached during a round trip .

Example of a 3-week package tour

The following process is an example of what a 21 day package tour to Australia could look like. It should be noted that the program is only briefly summarized here and there are also many other variants on offer:

Day 1: Arrival in Sydney

After the greeting you will be driven to your hotel. Now you can relax a little and design the first day in the impressive metropolis according to your taste.

Day 2: Sydney City Tour & City Exploration

During a guided city tour you will discover the lively metropolis. Whether it’s a port trip with lunch, a hike along the coast to the famous Bondi Beach, a guided tour of the opera house or the exploration of the most interesting parts of the city, this day will fill your daily program with great activities. The evening, on the other hand, is at your disposal.

Day 3: Day trip to the Blue Mountains National Park

Today the picturesque Blue Mountains with their striking rock formation, the “Three Sisters”, are visited. After an eventful day in the nature of the Australian hinterland, you will return to Sydney, where you will enjoy your dinner at the imposing Darling Harbor.

Day 4: Flight from Sydney to Yulara (Ayers Rock)

Transfer to the airport to take a domestic flight to the outback town of Yulara, near the legendary Ayers Rock (Uluru). On a tour you have the opportunity to explore the world-famous rock in the afternoon. Enjoy the spectacular sunset with a glass of sparkling wine from a good vantage point. Afterwards, an authentic Australian barbecue under the most beautiful starry sky is on the program.

Day 5: Drive to the nearby Olgas (Kata Tjuta)

After a delicious breakfast in the Visitor Center, continue to the impressive rock formation called Kata Tjuta (Olgas). A hike through the Walpa Gorge and the Valley of the Winds will inspire you. After an eventful afternoon, return to the Ayers Rock Resort, where you can relax and / or use your time as you please.

Day 6: Drive from Ayers Rock to Kings Canyon

You leave the Ayers Rock Resort in the morning and continue to the mighty Watarrka National Park, or better known as Kings Canyon.

Day 7: Hike & continue to Alice Springs

You start your hike through the impressive gorge early in the morning. The breathtaking landscapes with excellent views of the Australian outback and the path through the canyon are simply an experience in a class of its own. At noon you will visit a camel farm and travel on to the outback capital Alice Springs.

Day 8: Sightseeing of Alice Springs & onward flight to Cairns

Today you have the opportunity to learn about the wildlife of the red center. The Alice Springs Desert Park gives you the best insights into this. You will also learn more about the life of the indigenous people, the Aborigines. After visiting the Royal Flying Doctors headquarters and the old telegraph station, you will fly to the tropical diving capital in the state of Queensland: Cairns.

Day 9: Sailing trip through the Great Barrier Reef

Today is an absolute highlight of your package tour. You go on a full day sailing trip through the largest coral reef on earth, the Great Barrier Reef. On the way you have the opportunity to explore the colors of the corals and the diversity of fish. Whether you are swimming, snorkeling or while sailing a glass-bottom boat, you will get up close and personal with the marine life of Australia. On the deck, however, there is a delicious lunch buffet as well as sparkling wine and snacks for the sunset.

Day 10: Tour of Kuranda

Day 10 is the green, mountainous hinterland of the Down Unders. First, enjoy the fantastic views from the legendary Kuranda Railway, a leisurely train that probably covers the most beautiful train route on the 5th continent. When you arrive in Kuranda, the colorful hippie market awaits you with fresh products, unusual clothing and handmade jewelry. At the end of the day, take the Kuranda Gondola across the Queensland rainforest to then dine in a very special restaurant.

Day 11: Over the Atherton Tablelands to Townsville

The region’s mountainous highlands are called the Atherton Tableands. Lakes, waterfalls, rainforest and pure nature characterize this day, which ends in the subtropical city of Townsville.

Day 12: Airlie Beach & Hamilton Island

After getting to know the animal world in the Billabong Sanctuary, drive to the small but lively starting point to the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands: Airlie Beach. From here you take a boat to Hamilton Island, where crystal clear water, snow-white sand and true South Seas flair await you. One thing is certain: the Whitsundays should not be missing on any well-organized package tour to Australia.

Day 13: Free time on Hamilton Island

Relaxation, sun, beach and sea is the motto of today. Relax and enjoy the Whitsundays island world. Those who would like to do a little more can, for example, take a trip to beautiful Whitehaven Beach. This beach is certainly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and therefore adorns countless postcards.

Day 14: Flight to Brisbane & on to Noosa

After the flight to the capital of Queensland, you will travel on to the wonderful Sunshine Coast. The cozy town of Noosa awaits you with many cafes, beautiful beaches, a national park and the Noosa Everglades.

Day 15: Safari on Fraser Island

Explore the striking sand island of Fraser Island by 4WD (all-wheel drive). Whether dunes, beautiful lakes, wild dingoes, miles of beaches or subtropical rainforests, everyone who wants to discover Australia’s nature will get their money’s worth here. Of course, a swim in the crystal clear Lake McKenzie is a must. Then it’s back to Noosa.

Day 16: Free time in Noosa

Enjoy your free day in Noosa by either exploring the Everglades by canoe, exploring the flora and fauna in the National Park, or just relaxing on the beach.

Day 17: Brisbane & Gold Coast

Today you travel to Brisbane, where you will take an organized city tour to get to know the modern metropolis. After great impressions, we continue to the Gold Coast. Long beaches, high waves, many shopping malls, wild parties and passionate surfers characterize the Surfers Paradise district.

Day 18: Byron Bay visit

Byron Bay is a very special place on earth. Whether dream beaches, a wild hinterland, the best surfing conditions or unusual hippie markets, the alternative location Byron Bay is a great highlight of the east coast.

Day 19: Coffs Harbor, Port Macquarie & Hunter Valley

Via the pretty coastal towns of Coffs Harbor and Port Macquarie, it goes into the world-famous Hunter Valley. In the idyllic wine region, a wine tasting awaits you at a first-class winery, where you will also be served a delicious dinner.

Day 20: Free time in Sydney

After arriving at your hotel, the day in Sydney is at your own leisure. Explore Sydney on your own, buy the last few souvenirs or just spend some time on one of the numerous beaches.

Day 21: Transfer to Sydney Airport & flight home

After you have been brought to Sydney Airport, your flight home is due, on which you can review your unforgettable journey through Australia.

Sydney

History of Brazil from Independence until Today

History of Brazil from Independence until Today

Brazilian independence 1822

In 1807 the Portuguese king fled Napoleon’s troops and went to Brazil. In 1815 Brazil was equated with the mother country and in 1821 the king returned to Portugal. This period is also called the Kingdom of Brazil (1808-1821). The king gave Brazil to his son Pedro I in 1821, who declared Brazil independent a year later and declared himself emperor.

Empire of Brazil (1822-1889)

As Pedro I he now ruled Brazil. But in 1831 there was a military uprising and Pedro had to abdicate. He returned to Portugal and handed the throne over to his son, Pedro II. He was only five years old, but remained Brazil’s ruler until 1889.

The economy flourished, and coffee and rubber became important products sold in Europe. Pedro II also had roads, rails and telephone lines built. Allied with Argentina and Uruguay, Brazil defeated Paraguay in a bloody war (Triple Alliance War 1865-1870).

In 1889, however, there was a coup led by the military. Pedro II still stood for the old colonial power Portugal. Another reason was that Pedro campaigned for the abolition of slavery. This led to resistance from the large landowners. While Pedro was in Europe, his daughter Isabella passed a law in 1888 that abolished slavery. The emperor’s support from the large landowners was gone. Brazil became a republic.

Rubber boom

In the reign of Pedro II. Brazil’s economy flourished. The rubber boom started in 1870. From the resin of the rubber tree one could make rubber since 1839. Rubber became an important raw material in the growing industry in Europe. In order to extract rubber, the trees have to be scratched so that the rubber, that is the milk sap of the tree, flows out.

In Brazil, the indigenous population in particular was forced to do this work. The village of Manaus on the Amazon became the center of the rubber trade and grew into a large city. The rubber boom ended around 1920 after the seeds of the carriage tree were smuggled into England, where they grew into little trees that were shipped to Asia. There succeeded plantations to create and so Asia was the new center of the rubber trade.

“Old Republic” (1889-1930)

The coup against the emperor was led by the military Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca. He became the first president of the new republic. Brazil was divided into federal states. The period up to 1930 is also called the “old republic”. The country was politically stable. Although the rubber trade declined, coffee and sugar cane were still important products. During the First World War, however, coffee prices collapsed.

Getúlio Vargas (1930-1945) and the following period until 1964

Resistance arose against the rule of the rich coffee plantation owners. The population felt excluded and disadvantaged. Getúlio Vargas led a revolt and came to power. In 1937 he proclaimed the “new state” (Estado Nuevo). He ruled dictatorially and the country was again centrally ruled. Although he also campaigned for workers’ rights, he was a staunch opponent of communism.

In 1945 Vargas allowed elections and did not run again himself. Several presidents followed at short intervals. Vargas himself was re-elected in 1950 and remained in office until 1954.

In 1961 João Goulart became president. The economic situation was difficult at the time, there were many illiterate people in the country and inflation was high. Goulart tried to implement land reform, which fueled fear of communism. He also fought against illiteracy. In 1964 the military staged a coup, supported by the USA.

Military dictatorship (1964-1985)

Marshal Branco was installed as the new president. Several laws consolidated the power of the military. Political opponents were persecuted, the press censored and new parties were banned. Marshal Costa e Silva, General Médici and General Geisel followed as presidents. A cautious democratization began under Geisel, which General Figueiredo continued. He was President of Brazil from 1979 to 1985. The problems were great: Brazil was in debt and suffered from inflation and corruption. In 1985 free elections were finally allowed.

Democracy (since 1985)

Inflation and corruption remained a problem even among the new democratically elected presidents. In 1991 Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay founded Mercosur. In this common internal market, for example, customs duties will no longer apply. Mercosur strengthened the economy of its member countries. People could buy less and less for their money, so the currency was reformed. This means that the money was worth more in the end.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso ruled from 1995 to 2003, under which the national debt rose again. In 2003 Lula da Silva was elected President. He is a member of the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores) workers’ party and remained in office until 2011. The Fome Zero program was launched to combat hunger and poverty. Economically, Brazil showed high growth for years. After two terms in office, Lula da Silva could no longer run for election.

Dilma Rousseff, also from PT, became the new President of Brazil in 2011. The economy grew more slowly now. She did not continue Lula da Silva’s social policy. In 2013 there were massive protests against the government. Also corruption was accused Rousseff. Nevertheless, she was re-elected and began her second term in 2015.

In May 2016, proceedings were initiated against Dilma Rousseff that removed her from her position. So she was deposed as president. Temporarily, Michel Temer took over the office. He was then elected President in August 2016. The 2018 elections had to be decided by a runoff, which Jair Bolsonaro won. He has been the President of the Republic since January 1, 2019. He is considered right-wing populist and repeatedly expresses himself hostile to women or racist.

History of Brazil

History of Gambia – from Senegambia to today

History of Gambia – from Senegambia to today

British West Africa

In 1765 Great Britain established its first colony in West Africa on the Senegal and Gambia rivers and named it Senegambia. It belonged to British West Africa. In 1779 the French recaptured their trading establishments in Senegal. They took James Island and destroyed the fort. It was the end of Senegambia. Great Britain only remained the Gambia Valley.

From 1809 to 1817 Senegal was once again under British ownership. In 1811 Great Britain banned the slave trade in its colonies (France followed in 1848). In 1816 the British built a base at Bathurst to combat the slave trade, which was still carried on by the Americans and the French. Today the capital Banjul is located there.

War between Soninke and Marabouts

Between 1850 and 1887, brutal wars took place between the Soninke, who practiced an animistic religion, and marabouts. Marabouts are religious leaders in Islam. They waged war against everyone who did not want to adopt Islam. Soninke supremacy in the area was broken. Members of the Diola on the south bank of the Gambia who rejected Islam were also killed.

The Gambia was temporarily under the administration in Sierra Leone (see there). France wanted to exchange the area for other (French) colonial land, for example from the Ivory Coast. Traders and settlers were against it, but so were the marabouts, who even ended their war. Britain eventually broke off negotiations.

British colony

In 1888 the Gambia became an independent British colony. A year later, Great Britain and France set the national borders as they still exist today. The border followed the course of the Gambia River and the land on the bank stretched as far as the range of a cannonball, namely ten miles.

Independence in 1965 and republic in 1970

After the Second World War, the colony gradually gained more independence. Parties were formed. In 1965 the Gambia was given independence. The country remained in the Commonwealth of Nations and was a monarchy headed by the British Queen. Dawda Jawara became prime minister.

A popular vote in 1970 decided that Gambia should become a republic. Jawara was elected its president and was re-elected in 1972 and 1977. Bathurst was renamed Banjul in 1973. The Gambia was seen as a “model country” with an exemplary democracy.

Senegambia (1982-1989)

An economic crisis led to a coup in 1981, which however was suppressed with the help of troops from Senegal. On February 1, 1982 the Gambia and Senegal merged under the name Senegambia (this is called a confederation). The armed forces, the currency and the economic area were united. But the cooperation turned out to be difficult, and the additional bureaucracy also made the merger difficult. In 1989 the confederation was ended again. Jawara remained President of Gambia and was re-elected in 1992.

1994 coup: Yahya Jammeh becomes president

In 1994, Jawara was ousted in a military coup. He and his government were accused of corruption. The coup was bloodless. Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh declared himself President of Gambia. The constitution was repealed, political parties banned, opponents arrested and the death penalty reintroduced.

In 1996, Jammeh finally allowed democratic elections again. A certain stability returned. Jammeh won the election. Tourism, interrupted by the coup, increased again. In 2001, Jammeh was confirmed in office. He extended his term of office and was accused of corruption and waste.

In 2011, Jammeh was re-elected in an election. Now he was accused of manipulating the election. The lack of freedom of the press and the violation of human rights continue to be criticized. Jammeh sees himself as a faith healer.

Adama Barrow becomes President of Gambia

Jammeh’s presidency ended in 2016. He lost the election and so Adama Barrow took over the office of Gambian President. Jammeh delayed the takeover, but ultimately couldn’t prevent it.

When a baby is born in Gambia, all those who belong to Islam celebrate the naming festival one week after the birth. The Mandinka call the ceremony Kulliyo, the Wolof Ngente. All relatives and friends are invited. It is celebrated in front of the house or in the family courtyard. The festival begins in the morning.

An imam (Muslim head) cuts off a lock of hair from the baby and then doses some water on his head. The imam speaks verses from the Koran. Then he whispers his name in the baby’s ear. Then the name is repeated aloud to everyone. That can also be done by a griot. Griots are called Jali in Gambia.

The name of the child was kept secret until then. The baby’s father chose and determined the name. Now the party will go on until the evening. Most families slaughter a cattle, sheep or chicken. Guests are also often offered kola nuts. You break the seeds into pieces, chew them and spit them out after about an hour.

Incidentally, the birthday is usually not celebrated in Gambia. It also happens that children whose birth has not been reported to the authorities do not even know on which day they were born. This is not only the case in Gambia, but in all of West Africa according to Countryaah.

Names in Gambia

And what are the names of the children in Gambia? Often the first names have a Muslim origin, then there are also traditional names or English names (such as John or Susan). Girls are often called Fatou or Fatoumata, Mariama, Isatou or Ami or Aminata. There is also the first name Fanta, which reminds us more of a lemonade, but the name has nothing to do with that.

The firstborn son is often called Lamin among the Mandinka people. This is the African modification of the Arabic name al-Amin, which means “conscientious” or “trustworthy”. When it comes to the girls’ names, Aminata is the counterpart. Other common boy names are Ebrima, Abdouli (or Abdoulaye, from the Arabic name Abdullah), Momodou (from Arabic Mohammed) or Ousman (Arabic Othman).

You can often tell from the surname which people someone belongs to. Mandinka, for example, are often called Jawara or Jobateh. Wolof are often called Mboge or Njie. Jallow, Ceesay, Bah, Camara, Jobe and Jammeh are also widespread in Gambia.

History of Gambia

Salt Lake City Utah Travel Guide

Salt Lake City Utah Travel Guide

Salt Lake City is the modern capital of Utah. Tourist highlights are a visit to the Salt Lake Temple, the heart of the Mormon temple complex “Temple Square” as well as the Utah State Capitol and the Fort Douglas Military Museum.

The city calls itself a ski city – and for good reason. 11 ski areas are only about an hour away from Salt Lake City International Airport. A city trip is included on a ski vacation in Utah.

Religion, music, genealogy: the city center of superlatives

Along with Israel, Salt Lake City is one of the world’s most popular destinations for religious tourism – not least because of the Temple Square , which is located in the heart of the city center.

With three to five million visitors annually, the Mormon religious square is Utah’s most visited attraction. According to allcitycodes, Salt Lake City has a total population of 181,743.

The Salt Lake Temple , which embodies the faith community of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” like no other building, has also had a lasting impact on the cityscape:
It is not only an architectural flagship of the city, but also determines the numbering and arrangement of the surrounding streets – all of which lead to the temple.

The Family History Library , located west of the Salt Lake Temple, contains the world’s largest collection of genealogical data.

Another highlight is the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir , whose choir rehearsals are open to the public every Thursday between 7.30pm and 9.30pm. In the summer months, the rehearsals take place in the conference center.

The Utah State Capitol on Capitol Hill is also in the immediate vicinity of Temple Square. The Capitol is the result of centuries of development and was completed in 1916 according to plans by architect Richard KA Kletting, who himself comes from Utah. The landmark is particularly beautiful to look at in spring – when the more than 400 blossoming cherry trees take the place.

Culture and theater

In addition to numerous bars and restaurants, the pulsating city also has a lot to offer culturally. With a performance by the Plan-B Theater Company in the Rose Wagner Theater you get the best entertainment away from the mainstream. Those who prefer it classic can visit a performance of the Utah Symphony in Abravanel Hall and children will get their money’s worth in the Gateway Mall thanks to laser shows, 3D films and a planetary museum.

Shopping and entertainment

Just a few steps south of Temple Square is the City Creek Center , which was named “best retail development” in North and South America at the 2012 International Property Awards. The state-of-the-art mall has a fully retractable glass roof and features waterfalls, hourly fountain shows and a bubbling stream that runs through the entire project structure. A total of 110 shops are integrated into the shopping center.

Alternatively, the Trolley Square , which is located around 2.5 kilometers southeast of the City Creek Center, offers numerous opportunities for recreational activities. The shopping area, which has been recognized as a historic site, contrasts with the ultra-modern City Creek Center.

Thanksgiving Point

Trolley Square Shopping Center in Salt Lake City

Every November, Eat like a Pilgrim is celebrated at Thanksgiving Point in Leni, about 25 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Even if the name “Thanksgiving Point” fits perfectly, it originally had nothing to do with traditional Thanksgiving. Rather, the founders of Thanksgiving Point made so much money with a software company that they wanted to give some of it back to the community and built this complex in the mid-1990s, which is now the Museum of Ancient Life , an ingenious dinosaur museum , a golf course Includes gardens and much more.

The Museum of Ancient Life has the largest dinosaur exhibition in the world with 60 complete skeletons. There are also 50 interactive displays that make it possible to touch real fossils, dinosaur bones and dinosaur eggs and thus immerse yourself in the world of prehistoric times. In the “Jr. Paleo Lab ”, children can experience paleontology up close and prepare prehistoric fossils. The fossils can be kept and taken home.

Even when it’s not celebrating Thanksgiving , Thanksgiving Point is always worth a stop, either to visit the gardens, have a snack in the café or to visit the museum. This can really be recommended to everyone, whether families with children or adults, it is worth it!

Thanksgiving Point Golf Course in Lehi

Getting there

Delta Air Lines takes travelers from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol directly to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and back. For German travelers on a flight with a stopover in Amsterdam, the lack of “immigration” when switching is particularly interesting. SLC is known for its punctual flight handling and proximity to the city itself. This means that downtown Salt Lake Cities can be reached in just 10 minutes from the airport.

Fiji Travel

Fiji Travel

LESSON 1: BULA! = HELLO! GOOD DAY! HOW ARE YOU?

Palm beaches, lagoons, coral reefs – Fiji has them all and more! The more than 300 islands in the South Pacific offer pure South Sea feeling .

On the two main islands Viti Levu and Vanua Levu you will also find colonial architecture, lively markets in the capital and port city of Suva, first-class food, tranquility and nature experience in tropical vegetation, fascinating marine reserves and reefs.

Fiji Map

At a glance

COUNTRY INFORMATION FIJI

National language: Fijian and English

Capital: Suva on the island of Viti Levu; Nadi on Viti Levu with the international airport is much more important for tourism, with around 15,000 inhabitants

Local time: CET +11 hours / summer time +10 hours

Entry requirements: Valid passport (still valid for at least 6 months) for a stay of up to 4 months. If you are traveling to or from the USA, please note the ESTA regulations. A visa for Australia is required for arrival or onward travel via Australia (free of charge).

Vaccination requirements: No vaccinations required.

Local currency: Fiji Dollar (FJD)

Recommendation: Withdraw cash on site on the main island of Viti Levu at ATMs with an EC card with the Maestro symbol (not always guaranteed) or with a credit card. Credit cards are accepted in hotels and shops.

Power supply: 240 volts alternating current, 50 Hz., Adapter required

Best travel time: all year round. According to Themotorcyclers.com, the months May to October are a little cooler with 25-27 ° C, otherwise temperatures around 28-31 ° C and a little more humid from November to April.

HIGHLIGHTS OF FIJI

13 days round trip from / to Fiji incl. 5 days cruise on the M / V Reef Endeavor

  • everything from a single source: can also be booked with flights from Germany / Austria / Switzerland
  • from 1 person (cruise and boat transfers with several participants)

On this round trip you will get to know the Yasawas archipelago during a comfortable cruise. Then visit the original garden island of Taveuni, which is crossed by the date line. Relaxed days on a small island belonging to the Mamanucas group conclude this journey into the Melanesian culture.

Day 1: Viti Levu

Upon arrival on Fiji’s main island, traditional greeting and transfer to the hotel.

Day 2: Viti Levu – Yasawas

Transfer to the port and embarkation for your cruise to the northern Yasawa archipelago.

3rd-5th Day: Yasawas

On the cruise you will visit small island villages and get to know their inhabitants. Ancient Melanesian culture and activities such as swimming and snorkeling in beautiful bays and coral reefs make an ideal combination. You will take part in a traditional Meka and Lovo festival and enjoy the sun on the most beautiful beaches of the northern Yasawas.

Day 6: Viti Levu – Taveuni

In the morning arrival at the port and transfer to the airport. Then domestic flight to Taveuni Island. Transfer to the hotel.

Day 7: Taveuni

Experience the original life on the garden island Taveuni. Your hotel will be happy to help you organize a small tour of the island by taxi. The date line runs right through Taveuni. So you can visit the little shop that opens first in the world in the morning.

8th-9th Day: Taveuni

Enjoy the real Fiji on the tropical island with its wonderful vegetation. The dive sites around Taveuni are among the best in the world.

Day 10: Taveuni – Matamanoa

Transfer to the airport and flight to Nadi. Then transfer to the port and boat transfer to the island of Matamanoa, which belongs to the Mamanucas archipelago. F.

11.-12. Day: Matamanoa

The small island with only one resort is the ideal place for more perfect vacation days. The diving and snorkeling area around Matamanoa is one of the most beautiful of the Mamanucas. The good service provided by the friendly staff and the wide range of offers will ensure you have relaxed, yet varied days. F.

Day 13: Matamanoa – Viti Levu

Boat transfer to Viti Levu and transfer to the airport.

Cruise ship “M / V Reef Endeavor”
The M / V Reef Endeavor is a small, comfortable ship for a maximum of 130 passengers (language on board is English).
The facilities include 2 bars, a large dining room, 2 lounges, 24 hour tea and coffee bar, pool with sundeck, a spa with sauna and a small fitness area, book & DVD rental and laundrette. On this cruise you will stay in a cabin on the upper 3 decks with a double bed or 2 single beds, bathroom with shower / toilet, air conditioning and 2 panoramic windows.

Prices and dates due to the current Corona situation are still subject to confirmation by the partner agencies on site. / Price surcharges for the turn of the year, Easter and local holidays are possible.

Included services:

  • Fiji Airways flights as listed / Economy Class
  • Environmental contribution green climate

Round trip (1st-2nd and 6th-13th day):

  • 8 nights in a double room in high-class hotels
  • Catering according to the program
  • Transfers as described
  • English speaking local tour guide

Cruise (2nd-6th day):

  • 4 nights in double cabins on the M / V Reef Endeavor (stateroom upper deck) with full board
  • Excursions and sightseeing during the cruise with a local English-speaking guide
  • South Seas travel guide

Services not included:

  • Excursions and entrance fees during the tour, tips, drinks and personal expenses

Fiji Flag

Travel to Cook Islands

Travel to Cook Islands

RELAXED ATMOSPHERE IN THE PACIFIC ISLAND PARADISE

Northeast of New Zealand, the Cook Islands are far away from everyday stress . According to Youremailverifier.com, the archipelago consists of 15 islands. Rarotonga is the largest island with wonderful mountains and the capital Avarua. From here you should plan a detour to Aitutaki and visit the beautiful lagoon.

In addition to enjoying the peace and quiet, the Cook Islands are great for diving, discovering Maori culture and, of course, getting married in a particularly romantic way on one of the dream beaches.

Cook Islands Map

At a glance

COUNTRY INFORMATION COOK ISLANDS

National language: Maori and English

Capital: Avarua on Rarotonga, approx. 5,000 inhabitants

Local time: CET -11 hours / daylight saving time -12 hours

Entry requirements: Valid passport (valid for at least 6 months) for stays of up to 31 days. An onward flight ticket is also required. If you are traveling to or from the USA, please note the ESTA regulations. A visa for Australia is required for arrival or onward travel via Australia (free of charge).

Vaccination requirements: No vaccinations required.

Local currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

Recommendation: Withdraw cash on site in Rarotonga and Aitutaki or in New Zealand at ATMs with an EC card with the Maestro symbol (not always guaranteed) or with a credit card. Credit cards are accepted in hotels and shops.

Power supply: 240 volts alternating current, 50 Hz., Adapter required

Best travel time: all year round. The months June to August are a little cooler with 26 ° C, otherwise temperatures around 28-30 ° C and a little more humid from November to March.

CRUISE MS PAUL GAUGUIN | COOK ISLANDS & SOCIETY ISLANDS

12 days cruise from / to Tahiti

  • everything from a single source: can also be booked with flights from Germany / Austria / Switzerland
  • from 2 people

A cruise on the luxurious MS Paul Gauguin is the most relaxed way to get to know the beauty and diversity of the islands of French Polynesia. The ship was specially built for the low waters in this region and can anchor in small harbors or in front of the most enchanting backdrops of the South Seas. Peace, relaxation and intimacy await you on board: 215 crew members pamper a maximum of 330 guests, there are neither overcrowding nor queues. Five different routes lead along the 118 islands of French Polynesia, excellent land programs will inspire you.

Day 1: Tahiti

Embarkation in the afternoon. A.

Day 2: Huahine

Time spent: 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. F / L / D
Around 175 km northwest of Tahiti you reach the volcanic island of Huahine, one of the largest islands of French Polynesia.

Day 3: day at sea

Enjoy the day on deck. F / M / A

Day 4: Aitutaki (Cook Islands)

Laying time: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. B / L / D
Detour to the Cook Islands.

Day 5: Rarotonga (Cook Islands)

Mooring time: 09:00 am – 05:00 pm B / L / D
Today you anchor off Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands.

Day 6: day at sea

Relax on the deck of the ship. F / M / A

Day 7: Bora Bora

Laying time: from 8:00 a.m. B / L / D
Bora Bora offers fascinating volcanic landscapes, sandy coral islands and lagoons and of course some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Day 8: Bora Bora

Lying time: until 11 p.m. B / L / D
A trip with the glass-bottom boat or a helicopter flight? Enjoy the amenities of the island or relax on the white dream beaches.

Day 9: Tahaa (Motu Mahana)

Lying time: 09:00 am – 05:00 pm B / L / D
Today the island beauty Tahaa is on the program. It is one of the so-called Leeward Islands and is surrounded by a coral reef.

Day 10: Moorea

Lying time: from 8:00 a.m. B / L / D
In sight of Tahiti is its sister island Moorea. The remains of a volcanic crater rise up to a height of 800 m on the tropical green island.

Day 11: Moorea

Laying time: until 5:00 p.m. B / L / D
Before the short crossing to Tahiti you will spend the day in the pristine bays of Moorea. Here you will experience one of the most beautiful islands of French Polynesia.

Day 12: Tahiti

Disembarkation in the morning. F.

MS Paul Gauguin
3 restaurants / 2 lounges 24-hour cabin service / internet cafe / swimming pool / water sports platform / beauty and fitness center / library / casino / language on board: English & French / currency on board: US $

Cabin categories
All 165 cabins have a sea view as well as air conditioning, bathroom with bathtub / shower, hairdryer, television, CD / DVD player, minibar, safe, telephone.

Cook Islands Flag

The Most Beautiful Hotels In Tuscany

The Most Beautiful Hotels In Tuscany

The Tuscany is one of the most popular destinations in Italy and offers a great landscape also numerous famous buildings that are simply impressive. Visit the Cathedral of Florence, do a winery tour and discover the charming medieval city of Siena – there is a lot to do in Tuscany. Of course, for a successful stay you also need the right hotel and I’ve picked out quite a few for you. Here are my top 5 most beautiful hotels in Tuscany.

Il Pellicano, Porto Ercole

The five star Hotel Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole is definitely one of the most beautiful hotels in Tuscany. The main building and the six small cottages are surrounded by a beautiful Mediterranean garden and offer a great view of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Relax on the private beach, treat yourself to a few cocktails by the pool and dine in the chic hotel restaurant, which has been awarded a Michelin star. The Hotel Il Pellicano offers its guests excellent service and promises an unforgettable stay.

Four Seasons Hotel, Florence

According to relationshipsplus, the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is hard to beat when it comes to pomp. Just because of its location in one of the largest private parks in Florence, the hotel has a majestic flair. A look at the suites also reveals: those who reside here feel like royalty. The rooms are all individually decorated with stucco ceilings, frescoes or wall paintings and offer a view of the beautiful park. There are a total of 116 opulent rooms that transport guests back to the 15th century. But I don’t want to reveal too much to you, click through the picture gallery and see for yourself:

Castello Di Casole, Casole D’Elsa

The Castello Di Casole is one of the largest private estates in Italy and offers a total of 41 breathtaking suites. A special highlight is the ingenious infinity pool, which offers a spectacular view of the surrounding vineyards. There are also two restaurants where Tuscan specialties as well as first-class sparkling wines from our own production are served. More Tuscany is not possible!

Belmond Villa San Michele, Fiesole

If you look at photos of the Belmond Villa San Michele , you will quickly see why the hotel is one of the most beautiful in Europe. The former monastery from the 15th century towers high above the hills of Fiesole and offers spectacular views. Surrounded by cypress and rose trees, guests can simply relax and let the beauty of Tuscany sink in. This picture book panorama is sure to stay in your memory for a long time.

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Montalcino

The last hotel I would like to introduce to you is the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Montalcino. The luxury hotel not only offers exclusive villas but also its own winery and golf course. As is to be expected in Tuscany, the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco is located in the middle of an idyll of vineyards and rolling hills. Those who check in here can look forward to a relaxing holiday. With these pictures I feel a bit more relaxed 😉

Let’s go to Tuscany

After these dream images I would like to book a trip to Tuscany directly and I bet many of you feel the same way 😉 Unfortunately, these hotels are not exactly cheap, which is why I picked out a few affordable alternatives for you. So what are you waiting for? Let’s go to Tuscany!

Beautiful Hotels In Tuscany

Mexico City and Puebla

Mexico City and Puebla

Our exciting group trip to Mexico City begins with excursions in the city and its surroundings. The huge capital Mexico City is built on top of the ancient Aztec cult site Tenochtitlán. The center of the Aztec universe, the Templo Mayor, still remains with ruins in the modern Zocaló square. On this large square is also the more modern and stately National Palace, where the president has his work premises in a part of the building. The palace also houses huge murals by the famous artist Diego Rivera. Here you can follow Mexico’s eventful history interwoven in a single large painting. We meet his wife Frida Kahlo, also an artist, in the Blue House. If you have seen the film “Frida”, you will soon recognize the interior of her parents’ home. Frida and Diego lived here and many of the celebrities of that time came here for big parties. A great experience is the visit to the huge Sun and Moon Pyramids in Teotihuacán. How could such huge buildings be built without modern aids? In Xochimilco, we are seduced by the Mexicans’ ease of laughter and desire for music and partying. The city of Taxco dazzles with all its beautiful silver objects! On your day off, you can visit some of the world’s leading museums of anthropology and modern art. Shopping and entertainment? Sure! There is a rich selection here. Mexico City is also a green city and you can stroll around the huge Chapultepec Park. The last two nights we spend in the “ceramic city” Puebla. The trip there goes through wooded national parks and fertile farmland, a real contrast to the capital’s dense and sometimes chaotic buildings. Welcome to the fascinating country of Mexico!

Mexico City and Puebla 2

Day 1: Travel to Mexico (Mexico City)
Flights to Mexico City. Arrival in the Mexican capital the same day. We leave directly from the airport and check in at our hotel for rest. Meals are included on board the flight. Overnight in Mexico City.

Day 2: Xochimilco
Culture and folk life characterize the program this day. First there will be a visit to the charming Saturday market “Bazaar del Sábado” which is located in neighborhoods you never thought existed in this giant city. Artists and artisans gather around the small square to exhibit their work. Then we stroll through the colonial district of Coyoacán to see the Blue House, former residence of Frida Kahlo. Then there are literally other tones. Out in Xochimilco, the townspeople themselves gather during the weekends and therefore Saturdays offer a wonderful life. You take a seat in the boats and head out onto the canals in what was once called “the floating gardens”. The trumpets clatter and the song sounds. Here it is popular, festive and a wonderful atmosphere. On the way home we visit the beautiful Dolores Olmedo Museum which is housed in a charming colonial building. Here are also some paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. We pass the university campus and see the beautiful mosaic on the library building. Here, as well as at the nearby Olympic Stadium, we take a photo break. Overnight in Mexico City. (Breakfast and lunch)

Day 3: City tour The
artist Diego Rivera’s monumental fresco on Mexico’s history in the National Palace will be a natural prelude to the city tour. The palace was built where the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán, used to be. Ruins from part of the temple area, Templo Mayor, have been excavated and can be seen next to the palace. We also visit the National Cathedral, which like the palace is located at the Plaza de la Constitución. This magnificent square is usually called the heart of Mexico. The tour of Mexico City continues through the city’s bustling street life with wide boulevards, magnificent monuments, trendy shopping streets, lush parks and exclusive residential areas. In the afternoon we visit the market La Ciudadela which sells handicrafts from all over Mexico. Overnight in Mexico City. (Breakfast and lunch)

Day 4: Guadalupe Basilica and Teotihuacán
The morning begins with a visit to the Guadalupe Basilica, one of Latin America’s holiest sites. It will be time to experience the life of the people outside the sanctuary where religion and commerce are mixed in a very special way. Native American cultures have succeeded each other in Mexico. The city of Mexico City itself was built by the Aztecs, while the Teotihuacans built the huge Pyramids of the Sun and Moon just over 30 km outside what is now central Mexico City. The dimensions of Teotihuacán are enormous and as a modern human being one can only marvel that all this was created without our modern technical aids. The size becomes even more concrete if you choose to climb one of the pyramids. But remember – it’s easier to get up than to get down … After lunch it’s time to return to the hotel. Overnight in Mexico City. (Breakfast and lunch)

Day 5: Cuernavaca and Taxco
Today’s full day trip goes south and we pass through a beautiful mountain area towards the city of Cuernavaca, “the city of eternal spring”. Cuernavaca was already used by the ancient Native American cultures as a “summer place”. After a short walk in the center, the journey continues through fertile farmland and at lunchtime the old silver town of Taxco appears. After lunch we go on a journey of discovery in this charming city. There will also be time on your own, and maybe you will linger at the square to experience the life of the people and the lively commerce. But it is important to remember that not everything is even silver that glitters! Comfortable walking shoes with a rubber sole are recommended in Taxco. Overnight in Mexico City. (Breakfast and lunch)

Day 6: Mexico City
All day it’s time on its own. You can visit any of Mexico City’s museums; the museum of modern art has a world reputation. The opportunities for shopping are also great. You can also take a lovely walk in the huge Chapultepec Park. In the evening, you might head to Plaza Garibaldi to listen and not least watch the many orchestras trying to capture the interest of the spectators. Overnight in Mexico City. (Breakfast)

Day 7: Mexico City – Puebla 
The morning offers a visit to the Anthropological Museum, one of the world’s most beautiful and interesting museums. Here we experience the country’s rich past and admire fantastic art treasures from Mexico’s different Native American cultures. After lunch we leave the big city Mexico City and travel through an exciting landscape to the ceramic city of Puebla where we check in at our hotel. Overnight in Puebla. (Breakfast and lunch)

Day 8: Puebla
In the charming colonial city of Puebla located in the shadow of the volcano Popocatépetl, the atmosphere is completely different than in the huge Mexico City. Much of the Spanish architecture remains here with beautiful, flower-decorated courtyards, covered sidewalks and playful fountains. The city is famous for its tiles and there are good opportunities for shopping. In the evening we gather for a joint farewell dinner. Overnight in Puebla. (Breakfast and dinner)

Day 9: Return from Mexico City 
The day is free for your own walks in Puebla. In the afternoon transfer to the airport in Mexico City for the return journey. Meals are included on board the flight. (Breakfast in Puebla)

Day 10: Return
Flight to the place of boarding.

Mexico City and Puebla

Before the trip to Iran

Before the trip to Iran

Alcoholic beverages and drugs are strictly forbidden to bring into the country; importation and trafficking in narcotics may result in the death penalty. Bringing in pork, printed matter, videos, cassettes, CDs, shortwave devices and religious material can be considered culturally sensitive and such goods can be seized by the police. There are some restrictions on the export of carpets.

Before the trip to Iran 2

Vaccinations and health
In good time before your trip to Iran, you need to contact their vaccination center for updated information. In general, you should review your basic protection against polio, diphtheria and tetanus. In addition, a vaccine against hepatitis A is needed and any vaccine against cholera may be considered. The air in Tehran is extremely dry and, in combination with the extensive air pollution, can cause airway problems. This can also cause discomfort for people with cardiovascular disease. Dental care and medical care, as well as maternity care, are considered to be of a high standard. Doctors and dentists are often trained abroad. A certificate of yellow fever vaccine is required if you have recently stayed in certain countries in Africa or South America.

Weather and clothes
Iran is a large country and you can therefore expect large differences in temperatures during your trip depending on the season and altitude. During the summer it gets very hot and during the winter it can be extremely cold. Iran is a Shia Muslim country where sharia law is applied. Women must cover their hair and wear clothes that do not reveal the shapes of the body, such as a foot side or ankle-length coat or knee-length coat / jacket and long trousers. However, one does not have to wear black even if many Iranian women, especially outside the capital, do so. In mosques and bazaars, you should be extra careful with your attire so as not to provoke. Men should also dress coveringly, for example. long trousers and long-sleeved shirt.

Customs and traditions
All types of tenderness between men and women should be avoided in public places. Man and woman who are not married are not allowed to sleep in the same hotel room. It should be possible to present proof of marriage. You have to be careful with what you photograph. It is not allowed to photograph anything at the airport, nor military installations, demonstrations or police. Homosexuality is banned and punishable in Iran. The Iranians are incredibly hospitable, helpful and caring about us tourists. Taroof is a complex system of courtesy for us tourists that is deeply rooted in Iranian culture. You can make it a habit to always refuse at least once before accepting to receive something.

Currency and exchange rate
The currency in Iran is called the Rial. When traveling to Iran, cash payment applies. Visa and Mastercard are not accepted. Currency exchange bank branches are located on the street level at Tehran International Airport IKIA. Bring cash in EUR or USD that can be exchanged at banks and exchange offices in the cities. The banknotes should not be damaged. Exchanging money on the street is illegal.

Transport and communications
When traveling from Iran, check-in for international flights from IKIA is recommended at least two hours before departure. Taxis in Iran are sometimes unmarked. In addition, taxis are often poorly maintained and sometimes lack seat belts. There is a functioning metro in the southern and central parts of Tehran. There is also bus traffic here, but it runs without a timetable. In the larger cities there is free Wifi at the airport, some cafes, restaurants and hotels. If you are going to call home, it is cheapest to buy a calling card for international calls. Your mobile phone is unlikely to work in Iran. You can buy an Iranian SIM card.

Security
The personal security of Tehran is relatively good compared to many other capitals in the world. The traffic is different and the risk of having an accident is significantly greater than in Sweden. Pedestrians do not have priority at pedestrian crossings. Passports, money, tickets and other valuables should be stored in a safe place.

Food & beverage
We recommend that you only drink bottled water during your trip to Iran. Drinking alcohol is strictly forbidden. The food in Iran is traditionally mildly spiced. They use fine ingredients and a lot of herbs such as parsley, saffron and mint. Rice and stews with, for example, beans, lentils, squash, nuts and lamb or beef are usually included in a meal. Always politely leave some food on the plate when you are done.

Shopping and gifts
In Iran, the colorful bazaars are full of shopping opportunities. Nice gifts to take home can be Iranian caviar, saffron, dried fruit or nuts. You can find gold, silver and precious stones if you know what you are doing. Iran is also world famous for its fine hand-knotted rugs and there are lots of beautiful fabrics, shawls, teacups, ceramics and glassware as well as regular tourist items and souvenirs.

General and mixed
Local time: Iran is 2.5 hours ahead of us during our winter time.
Electricity: 220 V / 50Hz and usually European sockets.
Baggage: It sometimes happens that the checked baggage gets lost. Therefore, pack important medicines with a certificate from your doctor in your hand luggage. The same goes for valuables.
Language: Persian (Farsi)

Before the trip to Iran

Sightseeing in Bulgaria

Sightseeing in Bulgaria

Bulgaria, a Balkan state in south-east Europe, is becoming increasingly important as a holiday destination. The country not only offers beautiful beaches and good conditions for a relaxing beach holiday, but is also rich in architectural highlights and cultural sights.

In addition, nature lovers get their money’s worth. The holiday country on the Black Sea coast is surprisingly diverse and offers very varied landscapes. The price level is still pleasantly moderate, which is why Bulgaria is also very popular with young holidaymakers and families.

In the following we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria-1002 - Overlooks the Valley

1. Sunny Beach

Sunny Beach in Bulgaria is one of the most popular vacation spots on the Black Sea coast. The most important difference to the legendary Golden Sands: Although you can party here too, it is definitely a bit quieter on Sunny Beach. The sunny beach is about eight kilometers long and up to 100 meters wide. So nothing stands in the way of extensive sunbathing and the promenade on the sunny beach leaves nothing to be desired.

The most famous tourist center in the whole country is called Slantschew brjag in Bulgarian, which means “sunny coast”. The closest airports are Burgas and Varna. There are now more than 800 holiday hotels in all price ranges on Sunny Beach. The season is mainly limited to the months May to October, in winter the region is often deserted and most of the hotel complexes are closed.

2. Golden Sands

The golden sands is also known as the “Ballermann of the Balkans”. It is usually much more turbulent here than on Sunny Beach. While you can find rest and relaxation on the fine sandy beaches during the day, the city becomes a great party backdrop in the evening. In the clubs and bars of the golden sands there are numerous drink specials and music from well-known DJs from all over the world.

The advantage of the golden beach for Ballermann on Mallorca: In addition to really cheap prices, there is neither a curfew nor a music ban. So partying is possible until the early hours of the morning. The Golden Sands region is excellently developed for tourism. The water sports such as jet skiing, sailing or surfing are not neglected here either.

3. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia

Sofia is the city not to be missed on a holiday in the Balkans. The most impressive building in the city is the magnificent Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This is the largest church in all of Bulgaria. The Memorial Cathedral is located right in the center of Sofia in the square of the same name.

With its golden domes that can be seen from afar, it is an impressive photo opportunity. But the interiors are also absolutely worth seeing. Above all, the wall paintings and the 82 icons are incomparable. If you can set it up, attend one of the cathedral’s regular services.

4. Rila Monastery

Bulgaria is a country with an astonishing number of monasteries. However, the Rila Monastery is one of the most beautiful that looks like a fortress. The Rila Monastery, which rises impressively against the backdrop of the Rila Mountains, is even on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. The monastery is around 120 kilometers away from Sofia, making it a nice destination for a day trip.

The entire monastery complex is around 8,800 square meters and consists of several residential and farm buildings as well as churches. Inside you can visit more than 300 rooms, including around 100 monk cells. If you want, you can even spend the night in the monastery.

5. Nessebar

Nessebar is a city that is mentioned in every travel guide. This is located very close to Sunny Beach and impresses with a fantastically preserved old town. While the old town of Nessebar is on a peninsula, pay a visit to the port as well. Here you can buy freshly caught fish, among other things. In the old town of Nessebar, on the other hand, you will feel like you are in a huge open-air museum.

There are numerous well-preserved buildings from different style periods in the old town as well as ruins. These testify to the city’s long history. In the historical core there are eleven medieval churches to marvel at. The typical Black Sea houses are also not missing in Nessebar. These are made of stone at the bottom and wood at the top. After you have completed an extensive sightseeing tour, you should definitely visit one of the restaurants. Here you can try a typical dish. Traditionally, you will be served a fruit schnapps with it.

The bridge of Lovech

6. Melnik

With just 208 inhabitants, Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria. Nevertheless, it offers a special feature: Here a unique wine is made from the Schiroka Melnischka Losa grape variety. For wine lovers, Melnik is a recommendable travel destination in Bulgaria, especially since the old town is absolutely worth seeing.

7. Bansko

The city of Bansko is one of the strongholds of winter sports in the Balkans. This is not far from the above-mentioned Rila monastery. In addition to well-groomed slopes, there are rustic restaurants in Bansko. Interesting events also take place here on a regular basis. The place, located at an altitude of 925 meters, is not only a popular winter sports resort, but also a health resort.

There are numerous mineral springs in the area around Bansko. The range of wellness treatments in the most popular hotels in town is correspondingly large. Skiers and snowboarders will feel at home in Bansko, as there are a total of 75 kilometers of slopes. The longest of the slopes is 16 kilometers long. In Bansko itself there are also some interesting museums and more than 100 cultural monuments.

8. Cape Kaliakra

Cape Kaliakra is one of the scenic highlights of Bulgaria and one of the country’s top attractions. Located on the border between Bulgaria and Romania, the approximately 70 meter high cape should not be missed. Here you have a wonderful view of the sea.

It is most beautiful at the Cape, of course, at sunset. With a little luck you can even see some dolphins below the cape. At the Cape there is a recommendable restaurant and there are also souvenir stands. Noticeable: Here you can buy a lot of things you have designed yourself from local traders. So if you are looking for a nice souvenir, you are sure to find it.

9. Basarbowski Monastery

Not far from the city of Ruse you can visit the Basarbovsky Monastery. This is the only monastery in the country in which monks still live. The orthodox mountain monastery is an impressive rock monastery. Before entering the monastery, you pass a fountain via an inner courtyard.

The natives of Bulgaria believe that this well water has healing powers. The monastery can be visited; Unfortunately, there are no overnight accommodations available.

10. Pamporovo

Pamporovo is another popular winter sports destination in the country, which is located in the Rhodope Mountains. With a bed capacity of more than 7,000 beds, Pamporowo is one of the tourist strongholds. Given at an altitude of 1,650 meters, snow is guaranteed in the winter months.

On site you will find accommodations of all categories and price ranges; there is also a ski school. The selection of slopes is exemplary: in addition to green slopes for beginners, there are also red, blue and black slopes for experienced skiers.

Rock'not'Roll (Andrey)

Sightseeing in Bali

Sightseeing in Bali

The dreamy Indonesian island of Bali is blessed with great beaches, lush green jungle, breathtaking volcanic areas and impressive temples. The grandiose nature, the sea and all the magical stretches of land are equally suitable for a beach holiday and an active holiday.

There is so much to explore on the island of the gods. Culture and religion are practically omnipresent on a Bali trip. It would therefore be more than a shame to only spend your vacation in your own hotel resort. Even if you are not planning a big round trip, you should still take a few trips into the hinterland.

In the following we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights in Bali.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple Bali

1. Monkey forests in a vacation paradise

On Bali there are several small monkey forests and three large forests where tourists can watch the animals strolling. This is an attraction for the whole family. Caution is always advised, however, because many species of monkeys are used to visitors and try all sorts of things to get hold of one or two delicacies.

The Monkey Forest in Ubud is the most famous monkey forest on the Emerald Isle. A real attraction in the monkey forest is a small, idyllic river. As a visitor, you should follow the central path through the forest. This path then leads the visitors over a small narrow bridge directly to the holy spring. Here the guests of the Monkey Forest can fully enjoy nature. Because the tranquility in this place has a heavenly touch.

2. Bali Botanical Garden

More than 2,000 plant species thrive and bloom on an area of ​​around 157 hectares. As a visitor, you have the opportunity to explore the park on foot. The Botanical Garden is also easy to cross with a moped or a car. The park offers the guests meadow and hill landscapes, deciduous and rainforests, small temples and palm groves as well as wonderful viewpoints.

Flower lovers will experience an abundance and splendor of countless flowering and leafy plants in the Botanical Garden. You can marvel at around 10,000 different specimens in the orchid garden, in the cactus greenhouse, in the aquatic garden and in the fern and cyathea garden. In 1959 the famous Eka Karya Botanical Garden was created. The park in the center of Bali achieved world fame through the diligently pursued botanical collection.

3. Lake Bratan and Temple

The well-known Bratansee is always a well-chosen destination. It is one of four crater lakes on the island. The lake is located in a very old volcanic crater at an altitude of around 1,200 meters. The water is deep and cloudy and it is not uncommon for the surrounding mountain slopes to be covered in mysterious mist. You can use the beautiful scenery at the lake very well as a photographic motif. It is one of the natural sights that is second to none.

In the 17th century a temple was built on the west bank of the lake. The two shrines of the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple seem to literally float in the lake. A picturesque picture, pure romance. Sports fans can practice water sports such as water skiing or parasailing. Romantic boat trips are also ideal for immersing yourself in the landscape with all your senses.

4. Gunung Agung – the highest mountain on the island

The active volcano is clearly visible from many points on the island. The high mountain has a permanent place in the Hindu world of gods. On the Agung you can visit holy shrines and several temples.

For the people of Bali, the 3,142 meter high volcano is a sacred mountain. The ascent is impressive and sometimes strenuous, but the sunrise high above the clouds is a stunner.

5. The magical bat temple

Goa Lawah, a Hindu temple, is located on the east coast of Bali. There is a bat cave behind the temple altar. Several thousand bats leave their inns every day at sunset. For the inhabitants of the Indonesian island, the animals that live in or near a temple are sacred.

This attraction attracts many guests from near and far every year. The bat temple was once dedicated to the god Maheswara. A trip here is always worthwhile for you. The idea that the cave is a direct connection to the underworld fascinates young and old alike.

Indonesia - Bali (Marc Veraart)

6. Museum of Balinese Culture

The famous Negeri Propinsi Bali museum gives visitors an excellent insight into the millennia-old culture of the island in a crash course mode. Ancient stone sculptures are exhibited in the main building. On the first floor, culture-savvy island visitors can marvel at traditional household items and original woodcut art.

In the south pavilion of the museum you will get an ideal insight into the Balinese dyeing methods and weaving techniques. The north pavilion houses theatrical and dance masks as well as traditional dance costumes. The central pavilion contains priestly clothing and religious exhibits such as ceremonial objects. For culture lovers, this is definitely a worthwhile visit, especially since the museum is one of the top sights in Bali.

7. Unforgettable sunsets in Kuta

Bali’s beaches are perfect for sunbathing, all kinds of water sports, swimming, snorkeling and diving. Kuta Beach is one of the most international and lively beaches in Bali. If you are looking for deserted beaches, you will find it, but on Kuta Beach young and older people romp around with great joy in life.

The famous Kuta Beach with its restaurants, hotels, shops, cafes and clubs is considered the most legendary party center in Bali. Tours to all major sights can be started from here. Due to the reliable but moderate surf, Kuta Beach is particularly suitable for surfing beginners. Every evening the beach fills up for the dramatic play of colors at sunset.

8. Tegalalang & Jatiluwih rice terraces

The rice terraces in Tegalalang are one of the well-known sights of Bali. In terms of landscape, the island has a lot to offer, in addition to temples and the fantastic beaches, cultural landscapes in the interior are also among the natural attractions worth seeing.

The Jatiluwih equestrian breeds are also popular. You can take part in guided tours, so you can better see how much painstaking detailed work the Balinese use to cultivate and harvest their vital rice. The impressive rice terraces lie in the timeless beauty of the jungle.

9. Temple city of Pura Besakih

The largest and at the same time most important Hindu temple has become a real tourist attraction as a holy place for some time. You don’t need a guide to walk through the temple. With the background information, however, you will learn a lot more about the history and purpose of this temple city. This is not a single temple.

The site, built in the 8th century AD, consists of several temples and over 200 other associated structures. The temple complex is arranged in terraces, the buildings on the slope are connected by paths and stairs. When visiting the temple city, you should put on a sarong and a long shirt before entering, in order to pay the necessary respect to the devout Hindus.

10. Blahmantung waterfall

There are many great and admirable waterfalls in the holiday paradise. On the Indonesian island there are also sights that are not overcrowded with tourists from all directions. In the northeast center of Bali you will find the Blahmantung waterfall. At first glance it looks rather inconspicuous and suddenly appears on the way out of nowhere.

However, this natural attraction can be heard from afar. Once you have reached the entrance to the waterfall, you will see how big it actually is. The water literally flows out of the jungle roof and the plants. A spectacle that is sure to impress you. The vegetation at the waterfall is very strong, bamboo plants can sometimes tower up to 20 meters.

Rice paddies at Ceking (kayugee)

Kotor Travel Guide

Kotor Travel Guide

Kotor is the beauty of the Adriatic. Kotor is one of the most popular resorts in Montenegro, with its beautiful old town.

KOTOR

Montenegro, Kotor is a real gem hidden in a Lonely Planet chose the 2016 top travel destination urban crowd. Kotor, still relatively unknown, enchants the tourist with its magnificent nature. The rugged and summer green mountains surround the small town of Kotor, whose oldest buildings date back to the 12th century.

Fall in love with the beauty of Kotor

The Bay of Kotor can be called one of the most beautiful bays in the world with a good conscience. The crystal clear Adriatic Sea shimmers like turquoise and the high-altitude mountains create impressive frames for it. The most impressive views can be witnessed by climbing the mountain roads or the Kotor Fortress. From the heights you can also look at one of the best preserved medieval cities in the Balkans.

Kotor’s Old Town represents typical medieval architecture and was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. Well-preserved medieval buildings and numerous cultural heritage monuments have guaranteed the city a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Kotor, with a population of about 13,500, is not bursting with activities, but offers ideal opportunities for leisurely walks through the narrow alleys of the old town, hunting for landscapes and historic sites in the mountains, and marveling at luxury yachts in the harbor. A friend of romantic romance can visit the abandoned hotel, located on one of the best beach plots in Kotor.

The mountains of Kotor

The mountains of Kotor offer a magnificent view of the bay and the city.

When to travel?

The Bay of Kotor has a Mediterranean climate, so summers in the city are toasty and winters are mild. The best time to travel to Kotor is May-June as well as September-October, when the weather is warm and the tourist season is not at its hottest. However, especially in the fall, you should be prepared for the fact that some restaurants or other services may have already closed their doors by the end of the season.

July and August are the hottest, driest and most popular months in Montenegro. In this case, it is worth being on time in traffic, for example when booking accommodation, and also take into account the fact that prices tend to rise during the season.

Enjoy protected nature and an affordable price level

Kotor attracts tourists especially with its exceptionally magnificent nature, which offers a fascinating setting for both city holidaymakers and those who are enthusiastic about hiking. The actual beach destination Kotor is not, but you can also take a dip in the turquoise sea if you wish.

Montenegro’s currency is the euro, and Kotor’s affordable price level will surprise the tourist positively. Within the walls of the Old Town, prices are higher, but still at a reasonable level for Finnish tourists. Outside the Old Town, however, you can enjoy, for example, excellent fish meals with wines at a much lower price than Finnish restaurants.

FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT AT HOME

FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT AT HOME

The old town of Kotor is exceptionally well preserved.

Direct flight to Montenegro

The easiest way to travel from Finland to Kotor is to fly to Tivat Airport, about 10 kilometers from Kotor. Norwegian operates from Helsinki to Tivat once a week. Tivat Airport is only about 10 kilometers from Kotor’s Old Town, and connections between the airport and Kotor are good by both bus and taxi.

Those hunting for cheap flights can also opt for alternative flights to the country’s capital, Podgorica, with a bus connection to Kotor. Buses to Kotor leave from Podgorica, but you can take a taxi directly from the airport.

Those who like Kotor can also buy a flight to the Croatian side to Dubrovnik and hop on a bus to Kotor there . You can also get a taxi ride from Dubrovnik to the Montenegrin side at a reasonable price.

Affordable accommodation in a hotel or private accommodation

Kotor offers accommodation for every budget, but in principle accommodation in the city is affordable. In the area you will find high-quality hotels for those who want it, but also cheap hostels even right in the heart of the old town.

Like the Balkans, the locals also offer accommodation in their own homes. These private inns are typically affordable, and the hospitable locals are happy to offer tips for the traveler. If you have not booked accommodation in advance, you will probably find locals offering accommodation at Kotor Bus Station.

Walking and public transport in Kotor

Kotor is easy to get around on foot, but if you want to experience the neighboring town of Budvan, for example, you can easily get there by local bus. The trip takes half an hour and costs a few euros.

You can also rent a car in Kotor, which can be a worthwhile option if you want to explore the city’s surroundings more widely. However, it is worth noting that the winding roads in the mountains are narrow and winding, and the local driving style is somewhat adventurous. An inexperienced driver should therefore rely on public transport and taxis.

KOTOR ATTRACTIONS

KOTOR ATTRACTIONS

The red brick-roofed buildings of Kotor’s Old Town are in themselves an interesting attraction.

Old Town

The UNESCO-listed Old Town of Kotor is one of the best-preserved medieval towns. In the alleys of the old town you will find several medieval churches and cathedrals, as well as charming squares and staircases.

The popularity of Kotor as a travel destination is constantly rising, and this is also reflected in the numerous tourist shops in the Old Town. However, the traveler should look deeper into the surface and enjoy the exceptionally fine architecture and history.

The walls of Kotor

Climbing the walls of Kotor is something that everyone visiting the city should experience. The views from the walls and especially from the fortress found at the top are breathtakingly magnificent – from here you will grab the best scenery of the trip.

Climbing requires good basic fitness, but the actual athlete does not have to be. Good shoes make climbing much easier. The scenery is at its best on a sunny day, but in summer it is a good idea to start climbing in the morning before the hottest hours. It takes a couple of hours to climb into the fort and back, so on a hot day, a bottle of water is a must.

Bay of Kotor

The foothills of Kotor Bay are not an attraction to look for in the city. However, it is this that gives Kotor its magnificent look. The Bay of Kotor combines rugged Nordic landscapes with a Mediterranean climate.

There are also islands in the Bay of Kotor, of which Our Lady On the Rocks is one of the most popular. It is an artificial island that, according to legend, was built after sailors found a picture of the Virgin Mary on the surface of a rock. The sailors made it a habit to throw a stone at that same place at the end of a successful voyage. From these stones the island is said to have been born.

Delicious food market

Kotor is not an actual shopping city, and you should only loosen purse strings at the food market. At the market you will find delicious air-dried ham, cheeses, olives and various fruits, of which figs in particular are wonderfully sweet.

THE BEST OF KOTOR

THE BEST OF KOTOR

Montenegro is known for its stunning mountain scenery.

The best experiences in Kotor

  1. Climb the walls of the old town
  2. Enjoy a cup of coffee in the hustle and bustle of the old town
  3. Visit the Maritime Museum
  4. Treat yourself to a fish meal at a local restaurant
  5. Explore the abandoned hotel Fjord

The best day trips from Kotor

  1. Perast
  2. Budva
  3. Skutarijärvi Nature Park
Karon Beach Travel Guide

Karon Beach Travel Guide

Karon Beach is a family-friendly destination in Phuket. Phuket’s Karon Beach is one of the most popular beach resorts on the holiday island. Versatile services and a long sandy beach guarantee a successful holiday.

KARON BEACH

Many tourists traveling to Phuket Island just end up at Karon Beach. The resort has all the prerequisites for a successful beach holiday.

Karon Beach is a family favorite

Karon Beach is located in Thailand , on Phuket island’s west coast. To the north is the island’s busiest beach Patong and to the south is the slightly calmer Kata Beach.

The long fine sandy beach of Karon Beach is washed away by the waves of the Andaman Sea. The wide beach is especially popular with families with children, but couples also enjoy it. The water sports opportunities in the Karon area, the rich offer of restaurants and shopping opportunities guarantee a successful beach holiday.

The actual attractions on Karon Beach are few. The most important places to visit are Karon Lookout and Wat Suwan Khiri Khet, or Karon Temple. Its central location makes it easy to explore day trips around Phuket and visit nearby islands from Karon Beach.

Karon Beach continues for a mile. There is no congestion everywhere despite the number of tourists.

Climate of Phuket

From a Finnish point of view, Thailand is always warm.

Due to the climate, the best time to travel to Karon Beach is from November to March, when there is little rainfall and the temperature does not rise too high. This is also the busiest season when the beaches are filled with vacationers.

The hottest time begins towards the end of the season in February and continues through May. The average temperatures are then 35-40 degrees. For many, the heat is too much, so the beaches are also less congested.

In May and September-October, Karon Beach receives the most rainfall. The deaf are plentiful and usually take place in the afternoons as well as at night. In rainy weather, some places close their doors and prices are at their lowest.

A classic beach holiday

The beaches of Phuket are said to be even the best in Thailand. Karon Beach is one of the three most popular beaches in Phuket. The approximately five-kilometer-long fine sandy beach attracts sun worshipers from all over Europe. In addition to Finns, it is especially popular with Russian tourists.

When lying on a sun lounger on the beach and swimming in the turquoise sea waves, time passes as if unnoticed. The long beach is also nice for a walk. Those looking for more activity can go on a snorkeling or diving trip or try paragliding.

There is a highway next to Karon beach with quite busy traffic. Buses and songthaew platform taxis to the airport and Phuket Town also run along this road. The road is lined with restaurants, shops and market stalls.

Karon Beach continues for a mile

Pampering treatments and shopping

In addition to lounging on the beach, you can treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure or massage. Prices are quite affordable in Finnish, although Phuket is slightly more expensive than other Thai resorts.

At Karon Beach, you should also fill your stomach well. The wide range of restaurants offers local specialties as well as international cuisine.

Shopping opportunities at Karon Beach are concentrated near the Karon roundabout. From there you can buy almost everything you need on holiday. You can also shop at Karon Plaza, where you can buy spices, clothes, handicrafts and ornaments as gifts. When shopping, compromising is important.

For those looking for branded products, take a shopping trip to Phuket Town or Patong, where the selections are better. There is a large shopping mall in both locations.

Excursions and things to do for all ages

If lying on the beach starts to get bored, a day trip will liven up your vacation. In addition to Phuket Town and the nearby beaches, it is worth heading inland. There it is possible to get acquainted with rubber tree plantations, attend a cooking course and learn more about culture.

For avid golfers, Phuket has several beautiful and well-maintained courses. It’s a good idea to head to the putting green right in the morning before the midday sun makes gaming a hassle.

In Phuket, you should avoid places where elephant riding is organized. Elephants are often mistreated, and when you participate in excursions, you support unethical activities.

From Phuket you can go on a day trip to the nearby islands. A favorite of many is the white sand beaches of Koh Phi Phi , where you can spend the day relaxing or snorkelling and diving.

Good to know about Karon Beach

During the busiest winter season, there are plenty of tourists on Karon Beach and it can be difficult to find your own peace on the beach. If you are vacationing at Karon Beach during the rainy season, it is good to note that the sea currents can be strong.

In Thailand, left-hand traffic and traffic culture are different than in Finland. Take special care when driving yourself. When riding a motorcycle, it is always advisable to wear a helmet, even if many locals ride in the air. In traffic accidents, the tourist is often held liable, even if not the culprit.

Large numbers of tourists always attract scammers and traders as well. You shouldn’t be too blue-eyed, but taking normal caution is enough.

Trips to Sumatra

Trips to Sumatra

Why travel to Sumatra?

Sumatra is the largest island in Indonesia, known especially for its unique nature and fauna.

The trip to Sumatra offers adventures that take you from tropical rainforests to lush volcanic landscapes and unique animals. One such is the beautiful sumatran ranch that lives on the island in the wild and is unlikely to be seen anywhere else.

Our tour in Sumatra

On the way to Sumatra, you will experience all the highlights of the island. You can also combine a tour with a wonderful holiday in Bali, where you can relax on the beautiful beaches of Sanur, explore the artistic life of Ubud or go hiking in Munduki. Click on a trip and explore the different possibilities.

Read more about the highlights of the trip below.

Bukit Lawang

The small village of Bukit Lawang is located north of Sumatra. Right next to the village is the Gunugn Leuser National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Sumatra’s main attractions.

The national park is known for its dense rainforests and diverse ecosystems, including rivers, volcanoes and lakes. The national park is home to more than 700 different species of animals, including an elephant, a rare Sumatran tiger and a highly endangered Sumatran tern.

“Oranki” means “forest man,” and the Sumatra jungle is one of the few places in the world where you can see these fascinating animals.

On the hiking trip you can see the entire fauna and flora of the lush rainforest. Under Ranger’s guidance, you can also get close to oranges.

Lake Toba and Samosir

Toba is the largest crater lake in the world north of Sumatra.

The island of Samosir is like a gem in the middle of a lake. Attractions on the island include the tomb of the ancient king Sidabutar in Tomok and the village of Ambarita, known for its local stone tables and chairs.

The trip will also include the Huta Bolon Simanindo Museum, which was once the home of King Rajah Simalungun of Batak and his 14 wives.

A visit to the traditional villages of Batak Karo

In Batak Karo villages, you can see traditional siwaluh Jabo long houses, which can accommodate up to 12 families.

The roofs of the houses are in the shape of a boat, and at each end is hung a buffalo horn, which serves as a status symbol and has traditionally been believed to protect the inhabitants from evil spirits.

Want to know more about our trips to Sumatra?

Sumatra offers countless experiences. You can read more about them on the travel-specific pages. Click on “Read more” next to the trip at the top of the page and check out the highlights, daily schedule and prices of the trip.

Trips to Sumatra

Yemen Defense and Foreign Policy

Yemen Defense and Foreign Policy

Foreign policy and defense

Yemen is a nation in Western Asia. Its capital city is Sanaa. Following the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, Yemen joined the Americans’ war on terrorism. Cooperation to fight militant groups in Yemen is a sensitive issue among Yemenis. The United States has also been critical of what the Yemeni government’s reluctance towards extremist groups is. Neighbors’ incursions into Yemen’s civil war can also be viewed in the light of concerns that Yemen’s internal problems will spread.

yemen military spending and defense budget

Yemen lacks functioning state power and the country is in several parallel civil wars. There are a number of armed groups in the country in addition to the regular army. Some are affiliated with the “government army”, others fight it.

  • Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Yemen for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.

One reason for the widespread violence is that Yemen is one of the world’s most densely armed countries. Most adult residents have access to modern handguns. Some groups, including clan militia, also carry heavier weapons such as anti-tank robots, anti-aircraft guns and lighter artillery. Even when Yemen has been at its most stable, it has been possible for the government to govern without, in various ways, appeasing and negotiating with clan leaders and other local rulers. This has made it easy for foreign states to interfere, by financing or concluding agreements with local leaders themselves. This is particularly true of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran, which are fighting each other for influence in Yemen, and the United States, which is both involved in the Yemeni power struggles and has attacked al-Qaeda-linked groups inside Yemen.

Following al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, Yemen joined the US “war on terrorism”. The two countries’ cooperation to fight militant groups has been a sensitive issue for many Yemenis, who are critical of US influence in the Middle East. Since 2011, the United States has been a regular supporter of suspected supporters of terrorism. Hundreds of people have been killed by cruise robots and drones and the attacks have sparked protests in Yemen. The government had secretly approved them, even though it did not openly admit it.

Relations with Saudi Arabia have often been tense. The conflicts partly go back to the civil war in North Yemen in the 1960s, when Saudi Arabia actively supported the royalists. Yemen’s unification in 1990 meant that the new country gained almost as much population as Saudi Arabia, which was seen with the disapproval of Saudi rulers. Saudi Arabia also reacted negatively to Yemen’s support for Iraq in the Kuwait War 1990-1991 and the neighboring country attempted to weaken the Saleh regime, among other things, by supporting the south side in the 1994 civil war.

Clear boundaries between Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the al-Rub al-Khali desert area have been a constant source of conflict. A border agreement was concluded in 1934 and the countries agreed on another agreement in 1995, but new border conflicts were flared up. In 2000, an agreement was made that established how the border goes in the northwest. The settlement resulted in a political thunderstorm. Saudi Arabia increased its financial assistance and opened its labor market for Yemeni guest workers.

The difficulties in guarding the border have continued to create contradictions. From Saudi Arabia, consumer goods are smuggled into Yemen while weapons and refugees go the opposite way. The Saudis are also worried about militant groups coming in. In 2004, the Saudis started building a wall along the border. The building was halted, following protests from Yemen, but Saudi Arabia quietly continued to construct barriers and surveillance systems. The work gained momentum when the Shiite riots revolted in the border areas in 2004. Saudi Arabia supported the Yemeni government’s attempt to defeat the rebels, including through direct military intervention around the turn of the year 2009/2010. In 2011, Saudi Arabia decided to resume building the wall. Saudi unrest escalated from the rise of the Hutians in 2014–2015 as it was considered to strengthen Iran’s influence.

Iran probably played no major role in the skin movement in its earliest years, other than as an ideological source of inspiration. Over time, Iranian support seems to have grown. Since 2011, the conflict between the Houthis and Saudi-backed groups (such as the clan militia of the Islamist Party and the Ahmar family) has largely evolved into a war through agents – at least it seems to be perceived by both Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Hutians’ advancement prompted the Saudis and a number of neighboring countries to form an alliance that has carried out air strikes against the rebels since 2015. The warring countries have received sharp criticism for not caring about the suffering of civilian Yemenites. Therefore, after several years of devastating wars, Saudi Arabia 2018 launched a development program for Yemen to try to counter popular bitterness. Investments in schools, health centers and desalination have been announced.

In November 2017, Yemeni rebels fired a robot that reached far into Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis increasingly accused Iran of arming the Shiites. The conflict between the region’s great powers had also intensified by supporting opposite sides in the Syrian war, where Iran’s allies gradually strengthened their positions. In Yemen, the bombings and blockades continued to areas held by the huhirebells and sale hangers. From that point, Saleh came to the negotiating stage for the country’s internationally recognized government and its Saudi backers, but Saleh was instead killed in mutual fighting between the opposition forces. After Saleh’s death, the power play in and around Yemen has increasingly developed into a power metric between Sunni states led by Saudi Arabia and Shi’a forces with Iran in the back.

Yemen has not been allowed to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), but since 2001, the country has been a member of GCC institutions that handle issues such as health care and education. Yemen wants to join in order to be able to receive financial support and investment from the rich oil states, but the GCC countries have been afraid of being drawn into Yemen’s crises.

Increasing violence in Somalia from 2006 has led to increased refugee flows to Yemen. Traffic over the Red Sea also includes smuggling, including weapons, and the Aden Bay has become notorious for pirate acts emanating from ports in Somalia. There are also fears that Somali militant groups will associate with Yemen’s Islamist phalanxes.

Defense

The military service is voluntary, but those who join must serve for at least two years. The defense forces are relatively large when it comes to manpower, but the equipment is outdated and maintenance is neglected. In 2011, the military was divided between supporters of various political leaders, including then President Saleh and his son Ahmed, Vice President Hadi and General Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar. The government also recruited militias to strengthen the army in the fight against al-Qaeda’s Aqap depositor in southern Yemen. Throughout Hadi’s time as president (2012–2015; he has subsequently led an exile government), attempts to seek control over military units that were not loyal to him became an ongoing sequel.

After Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to resign, Ahmed Saleh sought to secure continued influence for his father via the Republic Guard. In 2012, therefore, newly-incumbent President Hadi reorganized the military’s military structure to marginalize the influence of Saleh and his family. Since then, the armed forces consist of five branches: the army, the air force, the navy (including the coastal defense), the border troops and the strategic reserve forces. At the heart of the reform was the transformation of the Republic Guard into strategic reserve forces, which were divided into special forces, missile defenses and the President’s protection corps.

Both military units and – to a greater extent – irregular militias and clan groups have recruited child soldiers. In 2011, a Yemeni children’s rights organization claimed that about half of those who took part in the fighting between the government army and the Houthi rebels in Saada province that year were under 18 (this included both government soldiers and rebels). A 2014 UN report accused all investigated parties (the Houthis, Aqap, government forces, Islah and government-friendly militia) of using children as soldiers.

In 2017 alone, 842 children were recruited as soldiers, according to a UN report 2018 which stated that there was documentation showing that 76 of the children had participated in combat.

FACTS – DEFENSE

Army: 60,000 men (2015)

The air Force: 3,000 men (2015)

The fleet: 1 700 men (2015)

Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 5.0 percent (2014)

Military spending’s share of the state budget: 14.3 percent (2014)

Vietnam Defense and Foreign Policy

Vietnam Defense and Foreign Policy

Foreign policy and defense

Vietnam is a nation in Southeastern Asia. Its capital city is Hanoi. Vietnam has relatively relaxed relations with the vast majority of countries, including the United States with which the country was at war with the 1960s and 1970s. An exception is China, which is a competitor for the right to territorial waters in the South China Sea. The relationship with Cambodia is also periodically strained.

vietnam military spending and defense budget

Vietnam’s relationship with the outside world has changed radically since the early 1990s. At that time, the country was internationally isolated, financially punished for its occupation of Cambodia and still ousted by the United States after the war. The only strong support came from the socialist countries with the Soviet Union at the forefront.

  • Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Vietnam for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.

After taking back his Cambodian soldiers in 1989 and signing the United Nations Peace Plan for the neighboring country in 1991, Vietnam was able to re-integrate into the regional community. Trade with the countries of Southeast Asia increased, and in 1995 Vietnam joined Asean. The entry was an irony of history, since Asean was partially founded in 1967 as protection against what was then perceived as the threat of communist North Vietnam.

Complex relationship with China

Until the 1980s, relations with China were extremely tense, partly because of Beijing’s support for the Cambodian Red Khmer, and partly because of the harassment of the Chinese minority in Vietnam after the end of the war in 1975. It went as far as the 1979 war (see Modern history).

An approach began in 1989 when Vietnam acknowledged that the country’s Chinese had been treated poorly. In November 1991, the relationship was formally normalized at a Beijing summit. The need for better relations was reinforced by the uncertainty both countries felt after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. The two countries have also chosen the same ideological path, with market economy in a communist state.

In May 2017, Vietnam undoubtedly supported China’s infrastructure project BRI (the Belt and Road Initiative, or the New Silk Road), which will culminate in a network of roads, train lines and ports from eastern Asia to Europe. Some construction projects have yet to start in Vietnam.

The conflict over the Spratly and Paracel Islands

Despite normalization, relations with China remain sensitive. Both countries claim the largely uninhabited island groups Spratly and Paracel in the oil and gas-rich South China Sea. Screen savers have been involved with fishing and patrol boats involved, while politicians have often tried to dampen the contradictions.

When China placed an oil drilling platform in the Paracel Islands in May 2014, relations reached a bottom level. Popular anger led to riots and attacks on Chinese-owned factories in mainly southern Vietnam (although it was found that many affected facilities were owned by Taiwanese or South Koreans). The authorities initially seemed to tolerate the outbreak of violence but put a stop to it after a while. Several people were killed during the unrest and China evacuated thousands of citizens from the country. The enemy noises were sharp even at high level. The platform was later shipped off, but China has placed oil drilling platforms on the islands even at later times.

In early 2015, satellite images revealed that China had filled in reefs around the Sprat Islands to build a runway for flights. The intervention was condemned by Vietnam, USA with several countries. In January 2016, a Chinese aircraft lifted off the runway and a month later, China fired anti-aircraft missiles from the Paracel Islands.

The conflict has subsequently escalated, with more land fillings and military armaments on both sides. In 2017, China began cruising traffic in disputed waters. When Vietnam began to look for oil in the area, China threatened to attack with its fleet.

United States – from arch enemy to weapons supplier

The first approach to the United States came in 1986, when Vietnam offered to help find the remains of 2,600 fallen American soldiers who were still missing after the war in the 1960s and 1970s. In return, the United States promised humanitarian aid. After a few years of gradual approaching, the United States in 1994 abolished the economic boycott that has been in effect since the days of the Vietnam War. The decision was motivated by the willingness of the Vietnamese to cooperate in the search for the missing Americans. But behind the renewed economic ties also lay pressure from American companies that looked to be overshadowed by foreign competitors in the burgeoning Vietnamese market.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995, the United States has become one of the largest investors in the country. In November 2000, US President Bill Clinton made a symbolically important state visit to Vietnam and in 2007 President Nguyen Minh Triet visited as the first Vietnamese head of state since the end of the Vietnam War White House in Washington. Relations have gradually strengthened with the rest of the Western world, although recent criticism has increased against violations of human rights.

The United States imposed a ban on all arms exports to Vietnam in 1984. Thirty years later, the US government partially repealed the arms embargo, enabling Vietnam to buy US marine security equipment. The United States denied that the easing of the embargo was a result of China’s advanced positions in the South China Sea.

At a visit to Vietnam in May 2016, US President Barack Obama announced that the United States had decided to lift the remaining embargo on arms sales to Vietnam. Obama said that the last lingering traces of the Vietnam War were thus gone. The US decision made it easier for Vietnam to gear up its defense. However, the United States emphasized that the decision was not related to the tense situation between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea, but that it was part of the normalization of relations with Vietnam after the war in the 1960s and 1970s.

Other important relationships

Vietnam’s relationship with Communist Laos is close, with close cooperation on both political and security issues. For Cambodia, relations are more complicated for historical reasons, although they are basically now relatively safe. However, the boundary between the two countries is not fully established, which has led to recurring inequality.

Vietnam has maintained good relations with Russia even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The countries cooperate primarily in the areas of trade, defense and energy.

From the end of the 1990s, Vietnam and India have been approaching each other, in line with China’s growing influence in Asia. In March 2000, the two countries signed a cooperation agreement in the field of defense: Vietnam trains Indian soldiers in the fight against insurgency and in warfare in jungle environments, while India assists Vietnam in the upgrading and modernization of the defense. The countries are also fighting piracy in the South China Sea together. In 2013, Vietnam gave India the right to look for oil in the South China Sea. In May 2018, India and Vietnam completed their first joint naval exercise, including that of the South China Sea.

With the EU (then EC; European Community), Vietnam established diplomatic relations in October 1990. A comprehensive cooperation agreement was signed in June 2012.

Defense

Vietnam has drastically shrunk its army since the early 1990s, when it consisted of just over a million men. The army has maintained its strong political position and is an important recruitment base for top positions within the party and the state. The equipment of the armed forces is being modernized. In addition to the regular armed forces with army, navy and aviation, Vietnam has a special air defense as well as semi-military forces, militia, in cities and in rural areas. There is a general duty of military service for at least two years for men between the ages of 18 and 35.

FACTS – DEFENSE

Army: 412 000 men (2017)

The air Force: 30,000 men (2017)

The fleet: 40,000 men (2017)

Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 2.3 percent (2017)

Military spending’s share of the state budget: 7.9 percent (2017)