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190 Search Results for ""walking town""

  • Top 10 picturesque lakes in Ti Top 10 picturesque lakes in Tibet

    • From: tibettravel
    • Description:

      Almost every tourist traveling to Tibet would drop a visit to a holy lake in Tibet. The most frequently visited lakes in Tibet are the top three holy lakes, Namtso, Yamdrok and Manasarovar. In fact, there are thousands of lakes across the Tibetan Plateau. The following is a list of the top 10 picturesque lakes in Tibet.

       

      1. Lake Namtso

       

      Namtso, meaning a "heavenly lake" in the Tibetan language, is reputed as the most beautiful lake in Tibet and was selected as one of the five most beautiful lakes in China by Chinese National Geography magazine in 2005. It is situated between Damxung County and Bange County, 240 km away from Lhasa, capital of Tibet. The lake, covering an area of 1,940 sq km, lies at an altitude of 4,718 meters. It is the largest salt water lake in Tibet and the second largest salt water lake in China. Its purity and solemnness are symbols of Qinghai-Tibet Platean. Its touching beauty should not be missed by any visitor who makes a Tibet tour.

       

      2. Lake Yamdrok

       

      Located on the way from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp or Kathmandu, Yamdrok is also frequently visited by travelers. Lake Yamdrok is surrounded by numerous snow-capped mountains and has a power station at its western end which is considered to be the highest in the world. The lake is fan-shaped, and is around 72 km (45 miles) long. In Tibetan Yamdrok means "the Lake of Swans". Tourists and pilgrims can be seen walking or prostrating themselves along the lake's perimeter. On a steep mountain slope southwest of the lake lies Samding Monastery, which is the only Tibetan Monastery headed by a living female Lama.

       

      3. Lake Tangra Yumtso

       

      Lake Tangra Yumtso, the largest holy lake worshipped by ancient Bonpo of Tibetan Buddhism, is the third largest lake in Tibet. It is located in Xainza County, Nagqu Prefecture, northern Tibet. Lying at an average altitude of 4,600 meters, the lake covers an area of 1,400 sq km, with 70 km in length and 20 km in width.

       

      4. Pangong Tso

       

      Pangong Tso, meaning "long, narrow, enchanted lake" in Tibetan language, is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in Tibet. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. All together it covers 604 km2. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water.

       

      5. Lake Manasarovar

       

       

      Manasarovar, meaning "an invincible lake of jade" in the Tibetan language, is one of the highest fresh water lakes in the world. Lying at an altitude of 4,588 meters above sea level, the lake covers an area of 400 sq km, with the circumstance of 90 km. Together with Mt Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is a pilgrimage site. There is a pilgrimage path around the lake and a circuit is a little over 100km, taking 4-5 days to complete. Chiu Gompa, 30 km south of Darchen, is a good starting point for a circuit around the lake. It is a must-visit for a tour in Tibet covering western Tibet.

       

      6. Basumtso

       

      Basumtso in Tibetan language means 'green water'. The lake definitely deserves that name: the views are breathtaking, and those glaciers, which cover on the upper reaches of the lake, are beautiful and at the same provide fresh water for the whole region. The lake covers an area of 26 square kilometers. You can see the beautiful snow-capped peaks reflected from the green waters of the lake. The beautiful view of the lake and the glaciers even makes some European visitors think of the inspiring Swiss Alps when they see the majestic view on the shoreline of this lake. Standing by the lake side, you can see fish shoaling in the water, birds circling in the air and beasts roaming in the forest. You can find a harmonious scene of animals living a comfortable and easy life in Basum with human. The World Tourism Organization listed the lake as a world tourist site.

       

      7. Selincuo

       

      Selincuo Lake located in Northern Tibet Autonomous Region and covering an area of 1,800 sq. km, is the second largest saltwater lake, second only to Namtso Lake. Lying at the junction of three counties, it can be seen from afar, a beautiful vast waterscape surrounded by golden grasslands of the Tibetan plateaus and snow capped mountains under clear skies. The natural sights here are absolutely breathtaking and after sunset the deep blue waters melt into one with the shadows of looming mountains, creating an air of mystery and intrigue.

       

      8. Lake Rakshastal

       

      Lake Rakshastal lies close to the west of Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. The Satluj River originates at Rakshastaal's northwestern tip. Despite its close proximity to Lake Manasarovar—over the road to Purang County, Lake Rakshastaal does not share the lore of worship with its east neighbor. The name of the lake literally means "lake of the demon" in Sanskirt. It is also known as Ravana Tal, as it is considered to be the place of severe penance tapasya by Ravana, demon-like egoistic King of Lanka in Hindu theology. In Buddhism, Lake Manasarovar, which is round like the sun, and Rakshastal, shaped as a crescent, are respectively regarded as 'brightness' and 'darkness'. Its salty water, a stark contrast to the fresh water of Lake Manasarovar, produces no aquatic plants or fish and is considered poisonous by locals.

       

      9. Cuona Lake

       

      Covering an area of over 400 square kilometers, Cuona Lake is regarded as the highest freshwater lake in the world. Cuona Lake means 'Heavenly Lake' to the locals. Numerous believers often come all the way to worship this holy lake. The water here is crystal clear with fish jumping freely. Together with the boundless plains and clear sky, the scenery surrounding Cuona Lake are of great beauty, attracting cranes, mandarin ducks, swans and other wild animals. Around the lake is the famous Qiangtang Nature Reserve where Tibetan yak, donkey, snow leopard and so on live.

       

      Cuona Lake is the nearest lake to Qinghai-Tibet Railway with the nearest shore only tens of meters distant, so passengers can enjoy the serenity of the lake with great ease.

       

      10. Peiku-tso

       

      Peiku-tso is located 40km to the east of Jirong county town and 250km from the Tingri County. It's just on the way to Ngari, between Zhangmu and Saga. With the elavation of 4,590 meters above sea level, Peiku-tso lake is the biggest lake in Shigatse area. It's a light salty lake with an area of more than 300 square kilometers. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, it is bright turquoise all year around. Traveler can make a detour to this lake when doing a tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu.

       

       

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  • Taking the Davis Transmedia Ar Taking the Davis Transmedia Art Walk Guided Tour

    • From: nkristis
    • Description:

      Davis, CA is home to the first ever Transmedia Art Walk tour. Over 35 pieces of art can be found throughout downtown Davis. We just happen to be in town during one of the guided walking tours. Here is artist Guy Diehl and curator John Natsoulas discussing the mural "Tribute to Billie Holiday" It was a lot of fun learning about the stories behind each new piece of work. More information can be found at www.natsoulas.com or www.davisartwalk.com

    • 11 months ago
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  • Why You Need to Visit Vietnam Why You Need to Visit Vietnam

    • From: acitvetraveasia
    • Description:
      If you only have time to explore one country in Southeast Asia, choose VIETNAM!
      Let’s admit it, when it comes to travel, Vietnam gets a bit of a bad rep. Before coming here all I heard were stories of travel scams, robberies, aggressive touts, and warnings that I’d be treated like a walking dollar sign. I was beginning to wonder whether I even wanted to spend a full month in this country, but 31 days later as my Vietnamese visa is about to expire, I am sad to leave Vietnam behind.
      I’ll admit I’m relatively new to Southeast Asia, and have only covered three countries in the past three months, but Vietnam has left the strongest impression on me by far.
      So what makes Vietnam so special?
      A woman carried a yoke basket down the street in Hoi An, Vietnam
      The People
      The people are warm, kind, and love to laugh and smile. It is in this country where I have met some of the most caring locals.
      The central market in Hoi An, Vietnam
      When I was sick in Hoi An, it was the woman who runs the Green Moss restaurant who took it upon herself to get me all better. She prepared ginger tea with honey for me, gifted me with a mint balm to rub on my neck and my chest, urged me to wear a scarf to bed, and then checked up on me daily whenever she saw me cycling around town or eating at her restaurant.
      In Vietnam people have helped me when I looked lost, locals I met on a train have offered to show me around their hometowns (for free! Further proof that I’m not just a walking ATM), and business owners have been courteous to me even when I didn’t eat at their restaurant or didn’t take their tour.
      The Food
      Vietnam has been an explosion of flavours! Most dinners Sam and I have eaten in this country have been silent because we’ve both been gorging on local delicacies like the food in front of our plates is about to disappear. We’ve been known to order four different dishes in one go because there’s just so much new food to sample.
      Spring rolls, food in Vietnam
      Whether I was learning to cook Vietnamese food in a dim lit kitchen with no ventilation (picture beads of sweat running down my back and hopefully not onto my food), or enjoying a meal at a local farm in the outskirts of Hoi An, the food was spectacular.
      Some of my favourite dishes in this country have been bánh xèo (a rice flour pancake stuffed with pork, shrimp, onions and bean sprouts) and fresh spring rolls. Fresh, flavourful, healthy, filling – what else do you need in a meal?
      The Options
      Then there is the diversity that comes with travelling in such a big country. I can guarantee that Vietnam will not bore you with its possibilities!
      Mekong Delta, Vietnam
      Want to travel down the banks of the Mekong Delta and experience the chaos of vendors at work in a floating market? Do you want to get lost in Saigon’s back alleys as you go in search of the best pho? How about getting clothes custom made in Hoi An? Or can I interest you with a cruise of Ha Long Bay where you’ll be waking up to jagged karst mountains outside your boat? You could also spend your time in Hanoi drinking bia hoi at a little street side bar equipped with plastic children’s furniture? Or if you’re feeling a bit more culturally inclined, go for a hill trek in Sapa where you can do a home stay with the ethnic tribes that call this place home?
      If any of this sounds interesting, then you need to come to Vietnam already!
      Halong Bay, Vietnam
      I’ve spent the entire month in Vietnam saying things like,

      “I could totally live in Saigon. Sam, how would you like to come back to Saigon?”

      “I could totally stay in Hoi An longer. Sam, wanna stay in Hoi An longer?” (We extended our stay.)

      “Sam, wouldn’t it be fun to spend more time in Sapa? I think living here might be fun. No?”

      I can’t sing Vietnam’s praises high enough!
      I’m not saying that this country won’t pose its own set of challenges – you’ll encounter that wherever you go. However, if you’re glossing over Vietnam because of the negative things you’ve heard in the past, then you’re doing yourself a huge disfavour.
      Give Vietnam a chance, and it may just blow your mind.
      Find out more information about a travel agency offering adventure tours explore Vietnam: http://www.activetravelvietnam.com/
      By AUDREY 

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    • 11 months ago
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  • Qingdao Qingdao

    • From: x123456
    • Description:

      The old town of Qingdao is very special, with a lot of European-style architectures there. Almost across each mountain, there are some parks and also some residences of celebrities. If you stay in a hotel in Qingdao, it’s better to choose the one near to the sea because in autumn, there are a lot of beautiful landscapes that you are able to see anytime when walking out of your hotel. 
         
      The trestle of Qingdao, located in the south of Zhongshan Road where there are a number of tourists, is built over a gulf for visitors to board the sightseeing ship to cruise on the river.

      The trestle is as old as some of the buildings in Qingdao. In Qing Dynasty, an imperial envoy Li Hung-Chang came to Qingdao to inspect. During that time, he wanted to take a big ship there, but since Qingdao was a very small village where there was no port, the ship could not be parked. A harbor which was later built for temporarily use and rebuilt for several times is not a port any more now but an art gallery where some of art works are exhibited.

      What’s more, the trestle is the symbol of Qingdao which is a must-visit scenic spot. At the end of the trestle is a pavilion which looks really special against the European-style buildings around it, with double eaves of Chinese traditional styles on the roof. The trestle which is situated over the gulf is 440 meters long and 8 meters wide with concrete structures. At the south part of it is a half round jetty. There is an attic with eight corner angles where tourists are able to see layers of waves surging. The attic has bee approved as one of the best scenic spots in Qingdao. On the other hand, the night views around the trestle are much more beautiful in daytime than in nighttime.                

      The Christian church in Qingdao is a well-known religious building located at Road 15, near to Xinhao Shan Park in the east where there are magnificent landscapes.
      The wide and flat square in front of the church looks very magnificent against a forest and all kinds of western-style architectures around it. Stepping onto narrow steps, you will see its strong walls, half round window frames, pitched roofs and bell tower.

      The Christian church is a typical German-style building composed of a bell tower and an auditorium. The bell tower on which you are able to have a bird view of sea views is 39.10 meters high, with a huge clock on there that makes the solemn church mysterious. On the other hand, the auditorium which is composed of two floors, with delicate decoration of the interior looks very special and accommodates thousands of people at a time.     

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  • Yaoli Ancient Town in Jiangxi Yaoli Ancient Town in Jiangxi Province

    • From: x123456
    • Description:

      Located in the northeast of the Jingdezhen Ancient Town in Jiangxi Province, Yaoli which is well-known for porcelains is a tourist attraction with national AAAAA level , a national forest park, a famous ancient town, and also a historical and cultural protection site, covering an area of 195 square kilometers. The climate is very pleasant in four seasons in the scenic area where there are more than 94 percent of dense forests, and more than 180 kinds of rare animals and plants, such as maidenhair trees, Chinese torreya trees, leopards, giant salamanders and so on..

       

      In the early morning in winter, it’s very freezing. One day, one idea came across my mind that I would like to experience a primitive life and folk customs by leaving the busy city for a small ancient town in Jiangxi Province. Having lived in the city for a long time, sometimes I just want to leave there for some time and give myself a holiday. In an ancient town in Jiangxi, there are many beautiful landscapes.

       

      Perhaps, few of people know about the ancient town Yaoli, but most of them heard about Jaingnan. If someone wants to find a quiet and beautiful ancient town to visit, actually it’s not difficult so long as you look for it hard. The ancient town Yaoli is the one you may look for.      

       

      In my mind, Yaoli is a name full of dreams for me and also a place mysterious I look forwards to visiting.

       

      From what I know about why it’s mysterious, it lies at the fact that the ancient town Yaoli is a very tranquil place with a very long history, where buildings are those built in Ming and Qing Dynasties and also there is a river called Yao River, which is a water source of the town.     

       

      For the ancient town, it has a lot of history stories. While walking in the gallery of a building of Ming and Qing Dynasties at the banks of Yao River, I felt a wind was coming to me, with overhanging eaves, ancient walls, black tiles, and mountains around me reflected on the river, as if I had traveled back to the past of thousand years ago.

       

      In the early morning, the sun is shinning on the town. Listening to streams and standing on a single-plank bridge, I was watching women were washing clothes at the river and heard music coming from those ancient houses from time to time. It’s just like an idyllic scene.

       

       

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  • Holidays in the New Forest Holidays in the New Forest

    • From: Stephen_Smith
    • Description:
      When many of us think about a holiday we think about packing a suitcase, going to the airport, getting on a plane and arriving on an exotic island somewhere. But have you ever thought about not getting on a plane and perhaps driving down the M27 to take a holiday in The New Forest?

      Well, perhaps you should because holidays in The New Forest have plenty to offer. Whether you are looking for relaxation, history, adventure or discovery you'll be spoilt for choice.

      Take a look at our guide of staying in the UK and enjoying some New Forest fun.

      Cycle experience
      The New Forest has a network of over 100 miles of off road cycle routes perfect for a weekend break or holiday.

      Cycle ExperienceWith an extensive choice of cycling routes, The New Forest is a fabulous place for budding cyclists. It offers quiet country roads and cycling routes for those wanting to improve fitness and stamina, while taking in the stunning landscape and historic villages.

      The cycle routes are also ideal for families wanting safe off road routes. Along the way you will see animals including ponies, pigs and deer and you will experience the open heathland and sheltered woods with restaurants, pubs and tearooms to pop into along the way.

      Horse riding
      Whether you are a seasoned rider or a beginner, horse riding in The New Forest is one of the best ways to explore the area with over 3,000 ponies roaming the landscape. The New Forest also offers accommodation solutions for people wishing to discover the area with their own horse.

      Walking
      WalkingThe New Forest is home to 193,000 acres of unspoilt heathland and ancient woodland. With 143 miles of track, visitors are free to explore this National Park by foot as well as bike or horseback.

      The New Forest offers endless walking routes that will twist and turn through vibrant areas, imposing woodland and bubbling streams and when your feet get tired you can stop off at a pub to enjoy some food and re-charge.

      Shopping
      Wherever you go on holiday it's always nice to buy yourself something and to bring something back for the unlucky ones that didn't get to holiday with you. The New Forest has an array of gift shops where you are sure to find the perfect souvenir. If not, you can visit one of the town markets with stalls selling everything from clothes to gifts.

      Confectionery always makes a nice gift too, so why not visit the Chocolate Studio or the Burley Fudge Shop for some handmade and gift wrapped chocolate and fudge.

      Spa treatment
      Holidays are about relaxing and taking time out. The best way to do that is to be pampered. If you want a manicure, pedicure, facial or massage, you will find a range of spas that offer luxurious treatments and tranquillity. Heaven.

      Water Fun
      Water Fun

      If you love or have ever wanted to try sailing, canoeing or windsurfing, water sports on the coast of The New Forest or inland waters is the best place to do it. There are also indoor pools at all health and leisure centres, which boast some of the best indoor sport facilities in the South.


      About the author:
      This article is written by Stephen Smith is a consultant of Travel, vacation, holiday. For more information about Devon holidays, please visit: hoburne.com
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    • 2 years ago
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  • Top 10 China Tourist Cities Top 10 China Tourist Cities

    • From: topchinatravel
    • Description:

      No. 1 Beijing


      Beijing
      , also called Peking, is the capital of China, the political center of China, the cultural center of China, as well as the key transportation hub of the world. Founded during 700 B.C., it served as Kublai Khan's capital (13th century) and the capital of China (1421-1911; 1949-now).

      ♦Forbidden City - the profound Chinese imperial system made Beijing serious and magnificent. The palaces served for emperors and imperial officials will tell people more stories in the past time.
      ♦Great Wall of Chinawhich is another culture in Beijing. Each brick of the great wall may tell you a story. Some are happy, some are sad. So Great Wall is a book wrote by Chinese people’s souls and spirits. 

      No. 2 Shanghai
      Shanghai , is China's largest city, with an urban population of 9.54 million. Advantageously located, Shanghai is located halfway down China's mainland coastline, where the Yangtze River empties into the sea. An important comprehensive industrial base and harbor, 

      ♦ The Bund - which will be a must-see place. When walking along the Bund at night, the charm of Shanghai will immediately attract you. It is a fantastic metropolis mixed the ancient and the modern tastes together.
      ♦ To the west of Shanghai is Suzhou, a city famous for the gardens. 

      No. 3 Xian
      Xian is the most famous ancient capital in China. With the former name Chang’an, this xity served as the capital of Tang Dynasty, the most prosperous dynasty in China’s history. The prosperous Tang Dynasty had left numerous relics in Xian.

      ♦ Terracotta Army - one of the eight wonders in modern world, is a door for peole to get back to the Tang Dynasty. 
      ♦ Xian City Wall - is the relics preserved since Tang Dynasty. in ancient time, each city of China built city wall to protect the city away from invasion.
      ♦ The start of Silk Road, a symbol to trace back the prosperity and the achievement in trade. 

      No. 4 Hong Kong

      Hong Kong is reputed as “the pearl of oriental country”. This bright pearl is shining all the time with its unique night view. Also, Hong Kong is called shopping paradise because of the numerous brands shops, and food paradise because of the countless snacks.

      ♦ Hong Kong Disneyland will bring people back to the childhood, playing with superstar that found in Disney cartoon. 

      No. 5 Guilin

      If you plan to savor the most beautiful natural scenery in China, you should pay a visit to Guilin. With the unique Karst geography, Guilin just looks like young lady that quietly sitting on the northern China. 

      ♦ Li River - world’s famous river from Guilin to Yangshuo, includes the most charming sites of Guilin.
      ♦ Yangshuo West Street - would be a good choice to spend your nightlife in Guilin.
      ♦ Longji Rice Terraces - which is a magnificent scene to show the intaligence of human. The field is planted along the mountain ridge

      No. 6 Guangzhou

      Guangzhou is a hot destination because of its convenient transportation system. It is called “The City of Ram”. Guangzhou attracts thousands of people who are interested in its strong regional culture, long history, its affecting and beautiful legends.

      ♦ Chen Family Temple - is the key historical site which entirely show Guangdong’s extraordinary folk architecture
      ♦ Shamian Island - is a popular attraction for domestic and overseas tourists. 

       

      No. 7 Lhasa
      With a history of over 1,400 years, Lhasa is the capital city, the political, cultural and religious centre of Tibet. It is a charming land that boasts abundant historical relics and enjoys superb natural environment. In another word, it is an ideal destination for people who wanna explore the unspoiled ethnic culture, livid folk custom and spectacular natural scenery, etc. 

      ♦ Potala Palace - it is a spectacular castle-like building complex that used to be the unification centre of political and religious of Tibet. Built against the Red Hill, this construction expresses perfectly the inner core of Tibetan architecture and also culture – steady, dignity, predominance and magnanimous. In 1994, it was listed into the World Heritage List by UNESCO. 
      ♦ Jokhang Temple - is located in the center of old Lhasa city, with the Barkhor Street surrounded, formed the “heart” of ancient Lhasa., which occupies an unchallengeable position of Tibetan Buddhism.
      ♦ Sera Monastery - is one of the grand three monasteries in Lhasa. The intense Debating on Buddhist Doctrines held everyday afternoon would be the very special activity one could not miss. 

       

      No. 8 Chengdu
      Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, has been recognized as “an important central city in Southwest China” by the State Council since 1999. Its civilization of over 3,000 years left Chengdu with various cultural heritage. Chengdu is one of the first 24 famous historical and cultural cities in China rated by the State Council and awarded the Best Tourism City in China by World Tourism Organization and China National Tourism Administration. Besides the renowned scenic spots inside the city,

      No. 9 Hangzhou
      Hangzhou was settled as early as 4,700 years ago, thus giving birth to the aurora Liangzhu Civilization. One of the seven ancient capitals and the key scenic tourism and historical culture cities in China, Hangzhou once was applauded as "the most splendid and luxurious city in the world" by Marco Polo, the Italian traveler in the 13th century.

      ♦ West Lake can be regarded as the soul of Hangzhou. There is a poem to describe West Lake like this:
      Rippling waters shimmering on a sunny day,
      Misty mountains shrouded by the rain;
      Plain or gaily decked out like Xizi;
      West Lake is always alluring
      ♦ Lingyin Temple is regarded as the spirit of Hangzhou. It is famous as one of the top ten Buddhist temple in China. Make a wish in the temple and wait the dream come true.
       From Hangzhou, travelers can begin Wuzhen Water Town trip.

      No. 10 Lijiang
      If you are looking for a romantic love story, go to Lijiang; if you are tired of the working days, go to Lijiang; if you are planning to know more about Naxi ethnic culture, go to Lijiang. Located at the northwest part of Yunnan Province, Lijiang Old Town is one of the well-preserved ancient towns in China and has enrolled on World Cultural Heritage List in 1997.

      ♦ Jade Dragon Snow Mountain – it is a botanist's paradise, a “kingdom of medicinal materials".
      ♦ Lugu Lake - the Last Matriarchal Society.
      ♦ Yufeng Temple - it is the witness of the peaceful coexistence and syncretism of multinational cultures and religions, and still plays a very important role in acculturation of Naxi Ethnic Group. 

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  • Tours, Morocco Desert Tours fr Tours, Morocco Desert Tours from Marrakech Guide

    • From: marialuis123
    • Description:

      Welcome .::     www.oulfakirtours.page4.me  Tours from Morocco Excursions 4x4 :::.... welcome::::::::.. welcome


      Oulfakir Tours Agency Transport  of Tourism in Morocco. We Organize Trips Excursions from Morocco outside thetraditional tourist Routes, arranging Personal Travel or in small groups. ATVs have type Land Rover Defender and Toyota Land Cruiser and Minibus long, and camels in the Desert. Accommodations depend on you And your budget (Hotels, *Riads, Hotels, Bivouac ...) All itineraries are custom designed according to yourdesire for Adventure in Sahara Desert , time and budget.Organize camel Trips where you can enjoy the sunrise or sunset from the dunes or traveling through the desert to reach the oasis where you will be greeted by our staff,who invited him to tea in Nomad tent in the desert.If you are interested, you can stay one Night and enjoy the sunrise from the top of adune: Definitely a wonderful Experience.

        

      Discover the best destinations to travel to Morocco


      We Offer:

      • Tailor-made itineraries according to your requirements and wishes.
      • 4x4 tours through Morocco: Imperial cities, desert trips, great south tour….
      • Transportations: 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser (6p) with Driver.
      • Car rental (self-drive with a guide or with driver/ guide).
      • 4x4 Desert excursions From Erfoud.
      • Desert Bivouac in the Oasis (camp).
      • Camel trekking in the desert (trips on dromedaries). 
      • Accommodations (hotels, Auberges, Riads and kasbahs ,bivouac in the desert) depending on your budget
      • 4x4 adventures – off roads
      • Knowledgeable Guide for the entire Tour.                  

       

      2 days trip from Ouarzazate to Merzouga

       

      Day 1: Ouarzazate - Todgha gorges - Merzouga

       

      Departure from your Riad we drive to Merzouga Through the Road of Thousand-Kasbah passing Skoura palm grove and the town of roses, Kelaa Mgouna,Dades Valley heading to Todra Gorges its an ideal place for walking and exploring in your own.lunch in the restaurant then Continuation towards Erfoud: famous for its fossilized marbles where you will visit the workshop production of marble fossils. we head down to Erg Chebbi sand dunes, which signify the commencement of the mighty Sahara Desert. Its here that you will start a camel trip into the middle of the dunes for an overnight camp. enjoying local food and a night of entertainment under the Saharan stars.

       

      Day 2: Merzouga - Alnif - Ouarzazate

      Wake up early to see the spectacle of the sunrise, when the colour of the dunes and the play of shadows are an awesome sight.Arriving to the hotel to have breakfast and shower.Continue to Ouarzazate via Rissani you will stop for a while to visit its traditional Souk which is considered the largest one in the whole South of Morocco, set off to the beautiful Draa valley with its millions palm trees. In the evening arrive Ouarzazate and check into hotel.      

      Our Tourisme Transpotre (With A/C)    Tourisme Transpotre  "minibus"  "4x4"

       

      E- mail:  oulfakirtours@hotmail.fr

      websit:  www.oulfakirtours.page4.me

      "oulfakir Tours" offers: a large tours throughout Morocco, private tours in Morocco, Morocco desert adventure, new year's eve in Morocco Easter week in the desert of Morocco, Morocco desert trip, Trekking camels Desert Morocco Camel , f expiditions desert, Marrakech desert tours, travel between Ouarzazate and the desert ... visiting the Kasbah, mountains and oases in Morocco tours, walking in the desert. large camel tours around the dunes of Erg Chebbi, tours of the Sahara Desert in a 4x4 "oulfakir Tours" We also organize nights in Berber tents in an oasis of magic in the Sahara Desert in Merzouga Dunes and organize tours for 2, 3, 4 days in the desert, "oulfakirTours" invite you to experience the beauty of this body and embrace the infinite silence of the Sahara desert.
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  • Mount Kailash Pilgrimage Tour Mount Kailash Pilgrimage Tour 14 Days

    • From: redpandatravel
    • Description:

      Mt. Kailash

      Mt. Kailash, 6,714 m. is situated to the north of the Himalayan barrier, wholly within Tibet. It is the perfect mountain with awesome beauty, with 4 great faces. It is the spiritual centre for four great religions: Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, the Jain religion and the pre-Buddhist animistic religion – Bonpo. To Tibetans it is known as Khang Rimpoche (Precious Jewel of Snow) and they see it as the novel of the world. It is said that a stream from the mountain pours into a nearby lake and from here rivers flow in the four cardinal directions. The River of the Lion Mouth to the North, the River of the Horse Mouth to the east, the River of the Peacock Mouth to the south and the River of the Elephant Mouth to the West. Strangely enough, four major rivers do indeed originate near Kailash, the Indus, the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra), the Karnali and the Sutlej.

      Tibetans believe that it is the residence of Demchog, a fierce looking tantric deity who lives there with his consort, Dorje Phagmo. For the Tibetans also, it is a particularly special place in that their poet saint Milarepa, spent several years here meditating in a cave. For the Hindus Mount Kailash is the earthly manifestation of Mt. Meru, their spritual centre of the universe, described as a fanatastic ‘world pillar’ 84,000 miles high, around which all else revolves, its roots in the lowest hell and its summit kissing the heavens. On the top lives their most revered God, Shiva, and his consort Parvati.

      1For the Jains, an Indian religious group, Kailash is the site where their first prophet achieved enlightenment. For the older, more ancient religion of Bon, it is the site where its founder Shanrab is said to have descended from heaven. It was formerly the spiritual centre of Zhang Zung, the ancient Bon Empire that once included all of western Tibet. Bon people walk around the mountain in a counter

      Clockwise manner, unlike the other religions.

      Over the centuries pilgrims have constantly journeyed immense distances to achieve enlightenment or cleanse themselves of sin, braving enormous distances, particularly harsh weather and bandit attacks.

      Places to Visit: Kathmandu – Nylam – Saga – Paryang – Manasarovar – Tarchen – Dehara – Dolma-La – Kathmandu

      Mansarobar LakeMansarobar Lake

      Mount Kailash Pilgrimage Tour Day to Day Itinerary

      Day 01: Kathmandu (1300 m.) arrival: Pick up from the airport/ Drive to hotel/ briefing/ if time permits our guide will take you to Pashupatinath for Dharsan during Arati time. Dinner

      Day 02: Kathmandu: Breakfast, trip to temples and back to Hotel for lunch. After lunch, final preparation for yatra i.e, checking and demonstration of equipments which will be used during yatra. If any body needs to buy or get things on hire, our staff will give you company. Dinner.

      Day 03: Drive to Nyalam (30km), 3750m: Morning after breakfast leave Kathmandu to commence yatra to Nyalam [3800M]. We reach Friendship Bridge [Nepal - China Boarder] by mini-coach. Walk along for 10 minutes to cross the bridge and there get acquainted with Chinese guide and land cruiser drivers. They will give a brief information regarding the further trip then proceed the journey to Zangmu, where all the immigration and custom formalities are ought to be accomplished. After the accomplishment of all formalities, we proceed to Nyalam. Arrival at Nyalam and overnight stay at guesthouse.

      Day 04: Rest Day at Nyalam (30km), 3750m: It is more a day for acclimatization.

      Day 05: Saga/4450m: (Labug-La 5050m, Peku-tso and Saga, 232km) On the first long driving day over the sandy and rocky land of Tibet, other things like lake, nomads chasing thousands of yaks and sheep keep you busy. By the late afternoon you will cross Bhramha Purtra River way to typical Chinese and Tibetan town, Saga for night.

      Day 06: Paryang (4600m) 185 km 7-8 hrs: Jeeps and trucks roll on the wide valley following rivers and grazing land of yaks and sheep. Far south you can see snow covered peaks near by you, lots of rocky peaks and sand duns give you an ideal world. Depends on season, nomads and other mobile shopkeepers are attired by beautiful traditional costume, waiting your arrival with hot tea and other supplies along with big smile.

      Day 07: Drive Paryang to Manasarovar (4558m) 277km 8 hours: The longest driving day starts with full of excitement, by the late afternoon you can have the first sight of Holy Kailash Parbat and Manasarovara. Hore, a small village near by Lake Manasarover, we will spend a night there..

      Day 08: Holy-Manasarovar: At 14950-ft/ 4558m. The highest lake of fresh water with turquoise complexion in the world is full of fishes and swans. Holy Kailash Parbat, Mt. Gurula-Mandala, Lake Rashekshi are lying on its surrounding. The region is considered rich for gold and other mines, hot springs and hundreds of wild living creatures. Night will be spending at Chu Gumba.

      Day 09: Puja and drive to Tarchen (14975ft) 40km: Manasarovara is the lake of compassion, tranquility and bliss. After completing the memorable morning Bath and Puja we will be heading towards Tarchen. It is considered as a base camp for the Holy Kailash Parikrama.

      Day 10: Trek to Dehara Puk/5000m: It is one of the exciting days walking along the beautiful rocky cliffs; water falls with some clouds in the clear blue sky make you feeling that Great God Shiva is every where with tons of blessing to you. Time to time the face of Kailash Parbat will be keep on appearing. For 15 km trail it takes almost 7 hrs.

      Day 11: Hardest but Holiest day of your pilgrimage Yatra with Dolma-La (pass) of 18600ft between two valleys: Yamasthal should be crossed to reach the Shiva-sthal while your steps go closer to the pass. Once you reach the top, just do the holiest offering and sit down for meditation to forget yourself. Once your steps go down, Parvati-stal and Gauri Kunda are on the way. By the late afternoon you will arrive Zuthal Puk (the cave of Miracles. The great ascetic Milerappa is supposed to have performed miracles here).

      Day 12: End of Kailash Parikrama and drive to Takla Kot: Over night stay Guest house.

      Day 13: Early morning drive to Sera via Khojarnath Temple [an ancient temple of Lord Ram, Lakshman and Sita]. From Sera, we walk back to the Hilsa helipad to wait for our flight back to Simikot. After immigration, proceed for Nepalgunj by chartered helicopter or aircraft [fixed wing]. Arrive Nepalgunj & further proceed to Kathmandu by flight [fixed wing]. Overnight stay at Kathmandu.

      Day 14: Final departure transfer for onward journey.

      Lasha-1

      Trip Cost Includes

      • Airfare Simikot to Nepalgunj to Kathmandu
      • Hilsa to Nepalgunj by charter helicopter.
      • Sightseeing by Land Cruiser as per program.
      • English speaking guide, Sherpa staff comprising of guide, cook and helper.
      • Camping equipment (tents, mattress, Sleeping bags, Dining tent & Table/ Chairs).
      • Freshly cooked full board vegetarian meals during trek.
      • Upper Humla trek permit.
      • Yak & Yakmen during Parikarma.
      • Tibet / China Visa fee.
      • Oxygen & Gamow Bag.
      • Full board in Kathmandu.
      • Sightseeing in Kathmandu
      • Donation includes

      Trip Cost Excludes

      • Domestic airport taxes and excess baggage.
      • Riding Yak or horse.
      • Liaison officer Rs. 2500.
      • Tips for trek staff.
    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
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  • Kathmandu to Lhasa, Kailash an Kathmandu to Lhasa, Kailash and Garuda valley Tour 21 Days

    • From: redpandatravel
    • Description:

      Mt. KailashMt. Kailash

      Kathmandu to Lhasa, Kailash and Garuda valley Tour Day to Day Itinerary

      Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,355m/4,457ft) Welcome to the Himalayan country of Nepal. Upon your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport one of our representatives will welcome and assist you with your transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu. You can take some time to get refreshed, and in the evening you’ll meet your travel manager for your welcome dinner in one of the typical Nepalese restaurant in the heart of Kathmandu. Over dinner you will receive a briefing about your trip. Overnight at Hotel.

      Day 02: Kathmandu, sightseeing Take rest, familiarize, and make a sightseeing tour to Kathmandu’s World Heritage Sites. The tour includes Katmandu Durbar Square, Syambhunath Stupa, Pashupati Nath, & Bouddha Nath - the biggest Buddha Stupa in ancient Katmandu. The day will also be for finalizing official procedure and other necessary arrangements. You can also make your last minute buying of personal items as you will be flying to Lhasa tomorrow. Overnight at hotel.

      Day 03: Flight to Lhasa (3,650m/11,972ft). Accommodation. Sightseeing. Fly to the highest capital in the world Lhasa of Tibet. Relish the astonishing views of the Himalaya, including Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and the Tibetan valleys. We will be greeted at Gonggar Airport by our Tibetan guide. After immigration formalities take a 1.5-hour drive along 93 km road leading to Lhasa lying at an altitude of 3,650m/11,972ft. It's advisable to rest and take it easy for the remainder of the day due to Lhasa's altitude. In Lhasa, your accommodation would be in a good standard hotel near the city centre

      Day 04: Lhasa - Sightseeing We spend some days in Lhasa for sightseeing and acclimatization purpose. While we acclimatize with the high altitude, we also visit important landmarks in Lhasa. Our tour begins with a visit to Sera Monastery. Equally adventurous and exciting tempo builds up while touring Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Jokhang Temple is another important sacred site which unravels more deep seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. Visit to Barkhor Markets can be quite a change from other visits as we roam around the city.

      Day 05: Lhasa. Sightseeing Lhasa life certainly offers glimpses into one of the most preserved ancient cultural heritages. Like the previous day, you experience invaluable insights during your visits to Potala Palace and Drepung Monastery. This 17th century Potala Palace offers an awesome view of entire city and also has private quarters of the Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Ancient history has it that Drepung Monastery which was built in 14th century used to shelter around 10,000 monks but as now there has been quite a declination resulting in only few hundreds. Tibetans' respect and belief are immensely knotted with this monastery.

      Day 06: Transfer Lhasa — Gyantse — Shigatse (3,840m/12,590ft, 367km, 8-9 hours). Sightseeing: Pelkor-Chode, Khumbum chorten. Depart Lhasa for Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city. Reach the banks of the Tsang Po, which becomes the Brahmaputra River in India. Drive up-stream for a while before turning southwest through barren desert-like valleys. Along the way, you will have opportunity to visit the Yomdrok Lake, one of the Holy Lakes in Tibet. Visit Pelkor-Chode Monastery and Khumbhum Stupa with 100,000 images. Continue driving to Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. Overnight stay in the hotel.

      Day 07: Morning time: sightseeing os Shigatse. Evening: transfer Shigatse — Lhatse (3,950m/12,664ft, 200km, 5-6 hours). Shigatse is an attractive tourist resort in Southern Tibet. Lying at the foot of the northern slope of the Himalayas, it is endowed with fertile farmland, vast grassy meadow, wooded forest and snow mountains. About 2 kilometer west of Shigatse city lies a very influential monastery in Tibet - the Tashilhunpo Monastery. Tashilhunpo Monaster was founded by the first Dalai Lama and is situated at the base of a hill. The Tashilhunpo is a 15th century seat of the Panchen Lama, also regarded as the reincarnation of the Buddha. The monastery consists of Asia’s largest bronze image of Buddha. In the evening drive to Lhatse On the way, we visit the Sakya Monastery.

      Day 08: Transfer Lhatse — Saga (4,600m/15,131ft, 8-10 hours). Today we drive to Saga along Brahmaputra River. Pass several high plateau lakes, towns, herders tents and along the route with plateau mountain ranges. The scenically rewarding drive provides plenty of opportunities for photography.

      Day 09: Transfer Saga — Darchen (4,560m/15,000ft, 510km, 10-12 hours) Today, a long journey from Saga to Darchen. Pass by the small towns of Zhongba and Paryang. It’s 255 km from Saga to Paryang and another 250 km drive takes us from Paryang to Darchen. We continue driving crossing the Mayum La pass (5200 m) and arrive at Hor Quo. Finally, we will have the first sight of Holy Kailash and Mansarovar.

      Days 10: First day of kora: hiking to Dira-puk (4,760m/15,675ft, 20km, 6 hours by walk). Today is first day of kora. Lush green meadows and murming mountain springs follow with us along our walking through Lhachu valley. At the end of this day north face of Kailash arises in front of us and we reach Dira-puk monastery.

      Day 11: Second day of kora: hiking to Dzutul-puk (4,790m/15,765ft, 18km, 6-7 hours by walk) via Drolma-la pass (5,750m/19,910ft). Today we are going to climb at Drolma-la pass (Pass of Tara), filed with five-colored praying flags. This is the most difficult part of our way. Then we start the descending to Dzutul-puk. Very attractive lake Thugje Zinbu (Lake of Compassion) opens to our eyes. Some ancient meditative caves are visible here

      Day 12: Third day of kora: hiking to Darchen (4,560m/15,000ft, 14km, 3-4 hours) and transfer to Tritapuri (60km, 1-2 hours). Today we are finishing our pilgimage to Kailash. After easy walking we reach Darchen and depart to Tritapuri one of "Places of Power" of Tibet and an important site for the Buddhists. Get blessed by the mystical sights which uphold the tantric traditions of Buddhism. Visit the white and red hot springs and the retreat caves including the Padmasambhave or Guru Rimpoche’s Cave. Taking a bath in the hot springs is supposed to cure sickness and wash away negative karma.

      Day 13: Sightseeing of the Garuda Valley. The Garuda Valley or Kyunglung lies to the southwest of Mt Kailash. The Garuda Valley contains mysterious caves some of which have never been explored. The valley is the source of an ancient kingdom of Shangshung, the ruined cave cities in the valley are remains of early Tibetan civilization. For those interested in the archeological and historical sites, Garuda Valley offers a magnificent exploration. Return back to Tritapuri in the evening. Overnight in Tritapuri.

      Day 14: Tranfer to Tholing (240км, 7-8 часов). A long and winding road takes us to Tholing. The side valley opens into the wider Sutlez Valley. The Jiangla pass at 5100 meters is one of the biggest pass in the journey. Cross a bridge, and arrive at the town of Zanda. Tholing which lies near Zanda has an 11th century monastery and stupas. Tsaparang lies 21 km further west down the Sutlez River

      Day 15: Sightseeing of Lost Kingdom of Guge Valley. Today, we make an excursions of the ruins of the lost Guge kingdom. The 10th century Guge Kingdom’s citadel lies on a giant cliff. This place asks a low of questions even now: how its inhabitants could live here without water surrounded by rocks? Why did they leave theit ciry? Explore the ruins of Tholing and Tsaparang monasteries.

      Day 16: Transfer to Manasrowar (4,560m/15,000ft, 240km, 7-8 hours). Today we start our way back to civilization. First our stop is sacred lake Manasarowar. As we near the sacred Mansarowar lake, the historic Chiu Monastery becomes visible on the north-west shore. Finally, we will have the first sight of this wondeful lake.

      Day 17: Manasarovar lake, full day. Lake Manasarowar has a circumference of 90 kilometers. It’s the highest fresh water lake in the world. Circling of the Mansarovar Jeep takes about 4 - 5 hrs. Also visit the Chiu Gomba, a small monastery perched on a rocky hill.

      Day 18: Transfer Mansarovar – Saga (4,600m/15,131ft, 535km, 10-12 hours). Today, we have a long drive from Mansarovar to Saga. It’s the same route we came by, via Paryang and Zhongba. However, from Saga instead of going toward Lhasa, we drive along a different route toward Kathmandu.

      Day 19: Transfer Saga – Nyalam (3.750m/12335ft, 232km, 7-8 hours) Cross the Yarlung Tsangpo or Brahmaputra River and then drive to Nyalam. Pass by a huge lake Paigu-Tso with Mt. Shishapangma (8027m) in the background. Don’t miss the sight of Everest as the road climbs the Lalung La at 5124m. After crossing another pass, the Tong La at 5120m, we finally reach Nyalam.

      Day 20: Transfer Nyalam – Kathmandu (1,355m/4,457ft, 156km, 7-8 hours). Drive to Zhangmu, the border town on the Tibet side. Go through the custom formalities. After reaching Friendship Bridge, we'll be leaving our Tibet side vehicles, and will walk for approximately 15 minutes towards Nepal. From Kodari it takes another 8-9 hours drive to Kathmandu. Overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu.

      Day 21: Farewell Himalayas! Your adventure in the Himalayas comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize the photos. If you have more time you can do some shopping or sightseeing. A representative from Himalayan Glacier Trekking will take you to the airport approximately 3 hours before the scheduled flight.

      Lasha-1Lasha-1

      Trip Cost Includes

      • Sightseeing by Land Cruiser as per program.
      • English speaking guide, Sherpa staff comprising of guide, cook and helper.
      • Camping equipment (tents, mattress, Sleeping bags, Dining tent & Table/ Chairs).
      • Freshly cooked full board vegetarian meals during trek.
      • Upper Humla trek permit.
      • Yak & Yakmen during Parikarma.
      • Tibet / China Visa fee.
      • Oxygen & Gamow Bag.
      • Full board in Kathmandu.
      • Sightseeing in Kathmandu
      • Donation includes

      Trip Cost Excludes

      • Domestic airport taxes and excess baggage.
      • Riding Yak or horse.
      • Liaison officer Rs. 2500.
      • Tips for trek staff.
    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 308
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  • Seattle Seattle

    • From: hoosierfan1997
    • Description:

      Set between two major mountain ranges, the Olympics and the Cascades, with the Puget Sound's fjord-like waters to the west and massive Lake Washington to the east, Seattle has one of the most dramatic settings of any city in the country.

      The frequent moody cloud cover can hide those jagged mountains but on clear days 14,411-foot (4297 meter) Mount Rainier can be seen from the city. Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a short stay in the northwestern U.S. city.


      Friday
      6 p.m. - If the clouds have lifted even a bit, there's no better place to watch the sunset over Elliott Bay than from the Seattle Art Museum's nine-acre Olympic Sculpture Park on the downtown waterfront. Besides wandering about the 20 sculptures from major artists like Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson and Richard Serra, you can enjoy further views of the changeable bay by strolling along the paved trail through nearby Myrtle Edwards Park.


      7 p.m. - Head up to the Capitol Hill neighborhood and start the weekend with cocktails at Tavern Law, named by GQ Magazine as one of the 25 best bars in America.


      There are plenty of handcrafted cocktails to enjoy in the Prohibition-era surroundings, but celebrate the start of your getaway with a custom champagne cocktail. Peruse the menu. The oxtail banh mi sandwich, based on Vietnamese tradition, will give you a taste of the Pacific Rim influence that figures in so many Seattle menus.


      9 p.m. - Seattle takes its jazz seriously and there's no better spot than Dimitriou's Jazz Alley downtown to hear it. With any luck, a musician like Grammy Award-winning Arturo Sandoval will be holding court. Or maybe you'll catch the funky horn-driven Tower of Power.


      Saturday
      9 a.m. - Fortify yourself for the day ahead with one of the best Mexican breakfasts anywhere at Senor Moose in the lively Ballard neighborhood. The crowded restaurant offers breakfast specialties culled from regions throughout Mexico. Try the outstanding huevos motuleos with black beans inspired by the Yucatan breakfast staple. Even though it's early, go ahead and get an order of the flawless guacamole and chips. It's surprisingly good with a cup of Senor Moose's strong coffee.

      11 a.m. - Get a sense of Ballard's historic status as Seattle's Scandinavian neighborhood at the Nordic Heritage Museum and at stops such as the shop Scandinavian Specialties, where you can pick up house-made cured meats, homemade Swedish meatballs and a bowl of traditional yellow split pea soup.


      Ballard also has a lively shopping scene.  KAVU, a local Seattle clothing and gear company, offers the quintessential Northwest look, with hip interpretations of outdoorsy style clothes. Stop at The Secret Garden Bookshop which has a carefully chosen selection of books for children and adults. For lunch, head to the nearby Ray's Boathouse Cafe with views for which Seattle is famous, along with the seafood.


      3 p.m. - Spend the next two hours absorbing more of Asia's influence on Seattle at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The museum, which is situated in lovely Volunteer Park, showcases exquisite art from various centuries and numerous counties in Asia.

      5 p.m. - Continue your exploration of Seattle's hot cocktail scene at the Zig Zag Cafe tucked away behind the Pike Place Market. Try the One Legged Duck, a blend of Rye Whiskey, Dubonnet, Mandarine Napoleon and Fernet Branca. Order a plate of marinated olives to go with it, or try the cheese plate. Much of the food on the menu is sourced at the Pike Place Market.

      7 p.m. - Since you're already at Pike Place, head to Matt's in the Market on the third floor of the Corner Market Building, where the food matches the view. Meat lovers can try the Pork Belly Confit with kimchi broth. For those who prefer seafood try the clams with chorizo and cava or order anything with Dungeness crab or perhaps some oysters on the half shell. For a larger plate try the seafood stew.


      9 p.m. - For a great evening head to the Triple Door in the heart of downtown Seattle, which offers music ranging from pop chanteuse crooners to Apple Jam, a group presenting a critically praised tribute to the Beatles.  A great wine list is available, along with excellent cocktails and Southeast Asian inspired plates. The satays are a perennial favorite.

       


      Sunday

      10 a.m. - For brunch try Salty's at Alki in West Seattle. It can be crowded, but the views and lavish assortment of Northwest foods on offer more than make up for it, including piles of Dungeness crab and smoked salmon, along with brunch staples like Eggs Benedict and Belgian waffles. Afterwards walk for miles along the waterfront through Alki, Seattle's premiere people watching neighborhood and beach scene. Seals often pop their heads up here, and you'll see ferries chugging off to local islands.

      1 p.m. - Seattle is a book lover's town, and readers have many fine bookstores to visit. Seattle Mystery Bookshop in historic Pioneer Square is one of the best and offers both new and used books. Passionate, friendly staff can help you find the perfect read.

      For an excellent general selection, Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill has the goods, many with staff recommendations, plus a great selection of unique cards. It's easy to lose yourself in the stacks, so keep an eye on the clock if you need catch a flight.

       

       

      MORE…

      With booming family-friendly popularity, Seattle is an urban playground with wide open appeal for outdoor lovers. If you enjoy tall emerald forests and city parks, stunning views of distant snow-capped mountains and miles of Puget-Sound open water, you'll love Seattle. While many know Seattle as the rain capital, Seattleites boast their city actually gets less annual rain than New York or Miami. A little drizzle is no reason to miss out on exploring -- especially in summer.

       

      Most city attractions for kids are clustered at Seattle Center, a 74-acre downtown venue with the Space Needle, Children's Museum, Children's Theatre, Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project and an indoor-outdoor amusement park. Large event fests are here; make sure to bring strollers for the little ones.

      ·         Pike Place Market. The nine-acre Market, which opened on August 17, 1907 according to its website (http://www.pikeplacemarket.com) is can't- miss for all ages as the city's heart and soul. The Market is a free National Historic District with more than 250 businesses, 100 farmers, 200 arts and craftspeople and open daily. Arrive at 10 a.m. to beat crowds. Mondays and Tuesdays are best for crafts; Wednesday-Sundays showcase amazing fresh produce. Kids love their photo with Rachel, the iconic life-sized bronze piggy. She's under the central Market clock by Pike Place Fish, where singing fishmongers throw fish.

      ·         Space Needle. This symbol of the 1962 World's Fair has an observation tower ("O Deck") at 520 feet high. Kids love scoping out Mount Rainier on free telescopes. SkyQ's interactive experience, with five touch-screen kiosks, entertains all. An often-crowded gift shop sells noteworthy souvenirs. Kids 3 and under free; kids ages 4-13 pay $9, ages 14-64 pay $16 and people over 65 years old pay $14.

      ·         Seattle Aquarium. While gazing into a 120,000-gallon aquarium, kids of all ages are astonished as they also see colorful salmon, rockfish, sea anemones and native Washington marine life. Also, there's storytelling for the youngest. On the waterfront at Pier 59, down a flight of stairs from Pike Place Market. It gets crowded, so arrive at 9:30 a.m. Kids ages 3 and under are admitted for free. Admission for youth (ages 4-12) is $10.50, and admission for adults is $16.

      ·         Pacific Science Center. This hands-on, six-acre facility is great for elementary-aged kids, with interactive exhibits and live science demonstrations. A tropical butterfly area is popular for all ages. Also, IMax movies, laser tag and the Planetarium offer an educational, yet fun way of showing kids information. Prices range from $17-$23 for adults and $10-$13 for kids.

      ·         Woodland Park Zoo. Its naturalistic settings rank the 92-acre Woodland Park among the country's top zoos with appeal to all animal lovers. Chilean flamingos, an African savanna, tropical rain forest, and covered activities such as parakeets feeding provide a full day's entertainment. Bring dollar bills for rides on an old-fashioned carousel (merry-go-round). Admission depends on the time of year. Kids under age 2 are admitted for free; admission for adults (October-April) is $11 and $16.50 during summer months. Admission for kids ages 3 through 12 is $11 during summer months and $8 the rest of the year. Be sure to rent a wagon (near admission entrance).

      ·         Experience Music Project Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. One of the world's largest collections of memorabilia from Seattle icon Jimi Hendrix. EMPSFM appeals to rockers, high school teens and parents who remember Hendrix. It celebrates American popular music genres. Also, a SpinKids Station amuses young kids. Kids ages 4 and under are admitted for free. Admission for youth (ages 5-17) is $12, and admission for adults is $15.

      ·         Tillicum Village & Tours. For a memorable four-hour evening, take a late afternoon cruise to scenic Blake Island State Park, birthplace of Chief Seattle, for a Northwest Coast Native American dance presentation. An all-you-can-eat traditional salmon bake dinner is yummy. Board from downtown waterfront's Pier 55. Kids under 4, free; kids aged 5-12 pay $30 and adults pay $79.95.

      ·         Bainbridge Island. Board a downtown Seattle walk-on ferry (about $7 roundtrip, no reservations) at downtown's Pier 52 for a 35-minute ride to charming 28-square-mile Bainbridge Island. It's a fun day trip for the family. Enjoy ice cream, coffees, lunch or picnic. Bring a stroller.

      ·         Olympic Sculpture Park. This free, downtown nine-acre sculpture park is a great spot to view Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains scenery. A z-shaped path rambles among permanent and rotating sculptures. Great for a picnic lunch with treats picked up from shops at nearby Pike Place Market.

      ·         Alki Beach Park. Kids love this true sandy free beach park, with a 2.5-mile pedestrian walkway. It's where the first white settlers arrived in Seattle in 1851. Catch a Metro Bus (Route 56) a block from Pike Place Market. Water temps average 46 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

      ·         University District Farmers market. Washington's largest "farmer's only" market is also Seattle's oldest market, taking place every Saturday throughout the year. Sample local farm foods and watch chef demonstrations. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. near University of Washington.

      ·         Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Kids love watching salmon climb up a fish ladder or catching a glimpse of a sea lion from a viewing window. Also known as the Ballard Locks, the locks raise and lower boats between fresh and salt water.

      ·         Downtown parking is expensive and is challenging to find. Keep it simple -- walk, ride Metro Buses or take a cab.

      ·         One-way streets and steady construction can cause direction confusion; ask for directions.

      ·         The city's scenic waterfront-area hills are steep. Pack each family member's most comfortable shoes.

      ·         At dusk, avoid historic Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market areas (hangouts for rowdy, alcohol-slugging vagrants).

      ·         During late spring and summer, throngs of visitors and cruise passengers frequent popular spots; arrive early in the morning. Arrange a meeting place if family members get separated.

      ·         Summer air conditioning is scarce, so plan accordingly. November kicks off the cool rainy season. In winter, dusk arrives come late afternoon.

       

      Other things things you should know

      ·         Seattle's Visitor Center and Concierge Services have free bookings and reservations for dining, tours, and transportation. Open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Washington State Convention & Trade Center's Upper Pike Street lobby, 7th and Pike streets. 206-461-5800.

      ·         Most top children's attractions are conveniently located near Seattle Center, a 74-acre urban park, including the Space Needle, the modernistic 1962 World's Fair landmark.

      ·         Seattle's climate is refreshing from July through September. Pack a light jacket or sweater, but most humidity-free temps range from 50s Fahrenheit to the 80s.

      ·         Dressy attire not required. Seattle is casual and laid-back, with layered comfort a fashion standard.\

      ·         Multiple public parks, with green space for running and hiking (some with beaches) offer kid-friendly places for dissipating energy.

      ·         Caught in a downpour? Cool weather? The towering, downtown flagship REI, billed as the world's premier outdoor gear store, has a 65-foot freestanding indoor climbing wall. (Residents typically shun umbrellas).

      ·         At Pike Place Information Booth, corner of Pike Street and 1st Avenue, buy half-priced concert and play tickets for day of performance.

      ·         While walking downtown, have kids look for Seattle's iconic bronze pigs. Take pictures.

      ·         During the winter, rent a car for the day and take the kids skiing. Crystal Mountain has the state's highest vertical drop, along with scenic chairlift rides, hiking trails and biking trails (www.skicrystal.com). Also, the Summit at Snoqualmie has easy accessibility and lessons, both skiing and snowboarding, for adults and kids (www.summitatsnoqualmie.com).

      ·         Plan picnics after visits to the Pike Place Market area. Fresh fruits, cheese, meats and sweet treat food choices are abundant. Don't miss Beecher's for cheese near the market; kids love the homemade mac and cheese on a cool day.

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
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  • Everest Base Camp Trek - Wound Everest Base Camp Trek - Wounderful Treks in Nepal

    • From: nepaltrekking
    • Description:

      A trek to Everest Base Camp is one of the most amazing adventures in the world and has become a Mecca for adventure travel enthusiasts. Just imagine standing at the point where so many expeditions have left on their way to the summit of the highest mountain in the world. The trek ventures deep into the Himalayas with amazing views of many of the world's highest and most beautiful mountains. Not only can you enjoy the breathtaking views across the Khumbu icefall, but you can experience all the amazing landscapes and culture that Nepal has to offer too. A trip to Everest Base Camp Trek is a real adventure taking you from the bustling Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, via a small aircraft, to Lukla and the start of the trek up the Khumbu Valley. The trek passes through many Sherpa villages, including the famous trading centre of Namche Bazar, as well as visiting Buddhist monasteries along the way.

      Trekking to Everest Base Camp
      Everest Base Camp trekking vary in duration but to ensure you acclimatise properly to the high altitude and lack of oxygen, and enjoy your adventure to the full, real buzz recommends a trek duration of about 14-18 days. In order to trek to Everest Base Camp you must go as part of an organised trek with a licensed mountain tour operator Nepal Visitors Trekking and Walking (p) Ltd. Porters will carry the majority of your food and equipment and cook all of your meals for you. For the trek you only need to carry a daysack containing food, water and warm clothing.

      Everest Base Camp Trekking Itinerary:

       

      Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu airport (1345meters).
      There you will be met by our Airport Representative and transferred to hotel by private tourist vehicle. Overnight at hotel.

      Day 02: Sightseeing around Kathmandu valley.
      Your sightseeing trip will start at 9 AM in the morning after the breakfast. We provide a private vehicle and professional tour guide. Places we visit are Pasupatinath temple, Buddhanath, Monkey temple, Bhaktpur durbar square and Kathmandu durbar square. The afternoon includes a final briefing and preparations for the trek. Overnight at hotel.

      Day 03: Fly to Lukla (2804 meters) trek to Phakding (2610 meters) 3 hours.
      An early morning start takes us to Tribhuwan international Airport in Kathmandu for the 35 minute scenic flight to Lukla at 2804meters. On arrival at the airport guide will brief you and introduce our porters before we begin our trek towards Phakding at 2610meters. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 04: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3441 meters) 5.30 hours.
      We continue trekking along the banks of the Dudh Kosi, crossing this majestic river many times on exciting suspension bridges laden with prayer flags. After entering Sagamartha National Park, the trail climbs steeply with breathtaking views. Namche Bazaar known as the Gateway to Everest which is home to many quality restaurants, hotels, lodges, shops, Money exchange, internet cafe and a bakery. Namche is one of the biggest villages along the whole Everest trail. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 05: Namche Bazaar Acclimatization day.
      We will spend a day here in order to acclimatize and adjust to the thinning of the air. As well as a short trek where a museum is celebrating the traditional customs of the Sherpa people. Today we hike up the Syangboche Airport around Everest View Hotel. From this point, we can see rewarding views of the Himalayas with a stunning sunrise and sunset over the panorama of Khumbu peaks. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 06: Trek to Tengboche Monastery (3860 meters) 5 hours.
      The trek continues along the rushing glacial waters of the Dudh Kosi with magnificent views of the mountains. We trek to an altitude of 3860meters today. On reaching Tengboche you will see the local monastery. Inside the monastery are incredibly ornate wall hangings, a 20-foot sculpture of Buddha, and the musical instruments and robes of the Lamas. The group will be taken to observe a prayer ceremony either in the evening or morning depending on how the days trekking went. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 07: Trek to Dingboche (4350 meters) 5.30 hours.
      From Thyangboche the trail drops to Debuche, crosses another exciting suspension bridge on the Imja Khola, and climbs to Pangboche amongst thousands of mani stones. Our uphill trek continues, taking us to the quaint traditional Sherpa village of Dingboche with its exquisite views of Lhotse, Island Peak, and Ama Dablam. We take our time so we avoid getting affected by the altitude. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 08: Trek to Chhukung (4710 meters) and trek back to Dingboche. 4.30 hours.
      Today you can enjoy another day for acclimatization. We will have trip to Chhukung valley via the Imja Khola valley to get a marvellous view of the surrounding mountains, especially Lhotse's massive south wall, then return to Dingboche in the evening. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 09: Trek to Lobuche (4910 meters) 5 hours.
      Today, the trail continues along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier and passes by stone memorials for climbers who have perished on nearby summits.We continue to climb as we are heading to the altitude of 4910 meters at Lobuche which is really just a few huts at the foot of giant Lobuche peak. Some breathing problems may arise today due to the altitude. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 10: Trek to Everest Base Camp (5365 meters) then trek back to Gorak Shep (5180 meters). 7 hours.
      After an early morning start leaving Loubuche, we head up to Everest Base camp (5365meters) you will have unobstructed views of many mountain giants like Nuptse, Pumori, Chagatse and Lhotse looming directly ahead and on all sides. Then we make our return to Ghorakshep at elevation of 5180 meters at noon for our overnight stay. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 11: Trek to Kalapattar (5555 meters) then trek down to Pheriche (4200 meters) 6 hours.
      After reaching Base camp of Everest our aim today is to trek Kalapattar (5555meters). Starting early the ascent is demanding but the climber gets the most magnificent mountain panorama possible with the best view point of Mount Everest along with other surrounding mountains. We then descend to Pheriche at elevation of 4200 meters. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 12: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3441 meters) 5.30 hours.
      Leaving the mountains behind us our descent takes us through Tengboche Monastery at elevation of 3860 meters before continuing back to the town of Namche Bazaar at 3441meters. We arrive back into Namche Bazaar in the afternoon. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 13: Trek to Lukla (3404 meters) 6 hours.
      Finally we return to Lukla where the trek began, which will seem like a lifetime ago. Enjoying time to reflect on the trek as a group and the personal achievement of all those who took part. Also giving you time to explore the town. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 14: Morning flight back to Kathmandu.
      Enjoying your last glimpse of the mountains you have recently visited for one last time on the 35 minute Scenic flight back to Kathmandu. Overnight at hotel.

      Day 15: Leisure day in Kathmandu.
      It's also spare day in case of bad weather in Lukla, If you are interested in continuing on to Chitwan Jungle Safari, River Rafting Adventure, Kathmandu Shopping Tour or Scenic Everest Flight.

      Day 16: Transfer for your final flight departure.
      The trip ends, our Airport Representative will drop you to the Kathmandu International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.

       

      For More information

      Nepal Visitors Travel Network
      P.O. Box :19760, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal.
      Tel :+977-1-4263133, Fax:+977-1-4216454, +9779841258665 (M)
      Skype: nepalvisitors
      info@nepalvisitors.com

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
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  • Spectacular summer sunset on N Spectacular summer sunset on North Beach in Port Townsend, Washington

    • From: karengale
    • Description:

      A spectacular summer sunset with all the best elements...surf, sand, silhouettes, rich color, privacy, and room to move, on North Beach.  Port Townsend is its own peninsula, located on the Olympic Peninsula, surrounded by water on 3 "sides."  This results in many beaches to roam, all with their own character.

      For a spectacular sunset view, easily accessible North Beach is often the best choice.  There you'll find plenty of beach to have some privacy, a great place for walking the dog and kids, colorful glass that has emerged from Mother Nature's tumbler, agates, shells, opalescent chiton segments, multiple varieties and
      colors of seaweed, and, if that isn't enough...views of mountains and islands, big skies and fascinating cloud patterns, wind parasailers and wakeboarders, cargo and cruise ships, and so much more...

    • 2 years ago
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  • As close as you can get to sai As close as you can get to sailing and be ashore!

    • From: karengale
    • Description:

      In Port Townsend, September is when the most intense gathering of Wooden Boats in the USA occurs.  250 boats converge on Point Hudson Marina for Wooden Boat Festival participants to examine.  On the third day a "Sail By" brings hundreds of wooden sailing vessels within reach of those who line the observation docks over the water.  Here you can see the 107 foot long, 1922 built, gaff-rigged schooner "Merrie Ellen" sailing by, "close enough to touch", in full splendor.  The weather is usually still fine in September, and a good breeze for sailing is predictably available.  This is a great weekend for gathering with boating enthusiasts to enjoy the vessels, sailors, entertaining music and productions, classes and demonstrations, world-class views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, and the waters surrounding the Quimper Peninsula, upon which Port Townsend is situated.  And you just can't beat the food choices within the festival grounds, with three restaurants and a dozen food vendor booths.  There are dozens of marine specialty vendor booths onsite, also, plus several blocks cordonned off for an arts and crafts fair just off-site.  All of downtown Port Townsend is located within walking distance, and the other neighborhoods are easily accessible via transit buses.

    • 2 years ago
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  • Good Morning Xi'an Good Morning Xi'an

    • From: UrbanAdventures
    • Description:

      www.xianurbanadventures.com

      Get to know the food, culture and history of Xi’an on this tasty tour that combines the best of the present with intriguing remnants of the past. Visit a bustling morning market, learn about the special ingredients used in Chinese cuisine, sample regional delicacies and discover the powerful aura of the iconic Terracotta Warriors on this revealing Urban Adventure.

      Highlights:

      • Learn about key ingredients while visiting a morning produce market
      • Shop for tasty Chinese snacks
      • Choose to try a traditional Xi'an breakfast
      • See the magnificent, mighty Terracotta Warriors
      • Feast on a lunch of local specialties

       


      Tour style:Food & Market visits, Heritage & History, Sightseeing
      Inclusion:

      English speaking guide, Transport & Entrance fees as indicated, Market visit, Entry to Army of Terracotta Warriors Museum and Meals: 1 lunch


      Exclusion:

      Items of a personal nature, Tips or gratuities for drivers or guides and Entry to other museums at the Terracotta Warriors complex


      Group size:Maximum 12
      Schedule details:

      • Duration: 7-8 hours
      • Meeting point:

        By entrance to Starbucks and Haagen Dazs on Bell Tower Square

      • Start time: 8.00 AM
      • Finish point:

        Bell Tower


      <!-- Drop-off time:2.00 PM-3.00 PM
      -->Additional information :

      • Voucher exchange details:

        Please present your voucher to the local guide at the beginning of the tour.

      • Confirmation of booking:

        Please contact Xi'an Urban Adventures to confirm your tour 24 hours prior to departure.

      • Additional information:

        During national holidays and on weekend sights in Xi'an can be extremely crowded. If you wish to avoid the busiest times we recommend visiting Xi'an outside of these periods or taking your Urban Adventure on a week day.

      • Dress standard:

        We will be on our feet for a number of hours so please make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes

      • Child policy:

        Children must be 6 years of age to 11 years inclusively. Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.

      • Language: English


      Also runs from:1 Jan 2012 to 31 Mar 2013

      Itinerary:

      Discover the fascinating history and delicious, local flavours of charming Xi’an on this tour that reveals commercial hot spots, culinary secrets and legends of history. In the morning, join a friendly local guide and travel to one of Xian’s busy morning produce markets. Spend some time here seeing what locals stock up on each day and learning about some of the key ingredients used in Chinese cooking.

       

      While here, why not take the chance to shop for some tasty local snacks to eat later in the day? Otherwise, perhaps start the day with a traditional Xi'an breakfast? Try fresh soy milk, pancakes or steamed buns, which are all available at the market. Next, travel to the site of the famous Terracotta Warriors - one of the greatest archeological finds of the past century and the pride of Xi’an. Marvel at the burial pits filled with life-sized chariots, horses and warriors, all buried to ensure the emperor has safe passage to the afterlife.

       

      Take time to explore, take photos and learn about the historical significance of this remarkable site before hopping into a private vehicle to head to the nearby town of Lintong. While in Lintong, feast on a flavoursome lunch of local specialties. Choose from regional dishes such as roujiamo or soup noodles then finish the tour back in central Xi’an where the afternoon is free to further explore the city independently.


      Your trip:

      For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.

      Tipping:

      If you are happy with the services provided by your local guides and drivers a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid Urban Adventures destinations. Please consider this when budgeting for your extra expenses on this tour.

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
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  • Xian Tombs & Temples Xian Tombs & Temples

    • From: UrbanAdventures
    • Description:

      www.xianurbanadventures.com

      Explore some of China's lesser known but highly intriguing sites on this tour of Xian's hidden treasures. From historic gems housed within the tomb of a Han Dynasty emperor to the impressive architecture of a Taoist temple and the unique flavours of Chinese home cooking, this Urban Adventure offers insight into parts of Xi'an that are often overlooked.

      Highlights:

      • See the burial treasures held within the tomb of Emperor Jingdi
      • Sample local snacks in the town of Sanyuan
      • Be awed by the Taoist architecture of the Temple of the City God
      • Enjoy a tasty lunch of traditional specialties

       


      Tour style:Heritage & History, Sightseeing
      Inclusion:

      English speaking guide, Transport & Entrance fees as indicated, Hanyanling Underground Museum entry, Meals: 1 lunch and Temple of the City God entry


      Exclusion:

      Items of a personal nature, Tips or gratuities for drivers or guides.


      Group size:Maximum 12
      Schedule details:

      • Duration: 6 - 7 hours
      • Meeting point:

        By entrance to Starbucks and Haagen Dazs on Bell Tower Square

      • Start time: 9.00 AM
      • Finish point:

        Bell Tower


      <!-- Drop-off time:2.00 PM-3.00 PM
      -->Additional information :

      • Voucher exchange details:

        Please present your voucher to the local guide at the beginning of the tour.

      • Confirmation of booking:

        Please contact Xi'an Urban Adventures to confirm your tour 24 hours prior to departure.

      • Additional information:

        During national holidays and on weekend sights in Xi'an can be extremely crowded. If you wish to avoid the busiest times we recommend visiting Xi'an outside of these periods or taking your Urban Adventure on a week day.

      • Dress standard:

        We will be on our feet for a number of hours so please make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes

      • Child policy:

        Children must be 6 years of age to 11 years inclusively. Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.

      • Language: English


      Also runs from:1 Jan 2012 to 31 Mar 2013

      Itinerary:

      Discover the temples, tombs and tantalising cuisine of Xi'an on this Urban Adventure that takes in ancient history, regional flavours and religious philosophy. Start the tour by meeting a local guide in Central Xi'an then travel to the Han Yang Ling Museum (also known as the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi). This is considered one of Xi'an's most underrated sights and many feel that it rivals the Terracotta Warriors!

       

      Take time to explore the collection of treasures on display in the incredible Underground Museum. Be introduced to the fascinating life of this Han Dynasty emperor and find out what was happening in the kingdom during his rule. While here see terracotta human figures, animal figurines, remains of wooden chariots and implements from daily life, all put here to assist the emperor in the afterlife. There is also the option to watch a short 3D film (in Chinese only) about Emperor Jingdi or perhaps choose to take a closer look at some of the objects within the museum that have been removed from the opened tombs.

       

      Next, travel to the nearby town of Sanyuan to visit small, family-run snack stalls. While here, sample some of the unique flavours only available here such as flour noodles, local pickles and flour soup. Next, step inside the stunning Temple of the City God and be awed by the truly amazing Taoist architecture. Wander through the halls and corridors of this beautifully preserved temple and marvel at the delicately layered roof and colourful carvings.

       

      Learn all about the Taoist afterlife and hear some ghostly tales from your guide before heading to a local restaurant to try some tasty, regional dishes - sesame noodles, spicy lamb "burgers" and fresh stir-fried greens are the usual favourites. Afterwards, journey back to central Xi'an where this enlightening tour ends.


      Your trip:

      For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.

      Tipping:

      If you are happy with the services provided by your local guides and drivers a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid Urban Adventures destinations. Please consider this when budgeting for your extra expenses on this tour.

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
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  • Experience eco-friendly valley Experience eco-friendly valleys in Sapa

    • From: stevebruce
    • Description:

      Attractive eco-friendly valleys, terraced slope attributes as well as tribes nevertheless subsequent their own historic customs — encouraged in order to Sapa.

      Situated 350kms north-west associated with Hanoi, simply timid from the Chinese language edge may be the Lao Cai Land exactly where you’ll discover Sapa. It’s environment as well as amazing scenery tend to be about the reduce inclines from the Hoang Lien Boy hill variety, that additionally features Vietnam’s greatest hill Fansipan, having a elevation associated with 3142 metre distances.

      Sapa is actually filled with a varied number of cultural minorities like the Hmong, Yao, Tay as well as Giay organizations. Considered to possess lived on the region because the 1800′s, these types of Sapa slope tribes continue to be close to these days ongoing their own life-style as well as customs because they did for hundreds of years.

      Experience Sapa

      The elements is extremely periodic, throughout the summer time it is very reasonable as well as wet. Throughout the winter season it may be chilly, misty as well as obtain the unusual compacted snow. Suggested occasions to visit tend to be 03 via Might as well as middle Sept in order to earlier Dec to obtain a hotter as well as better encounter.

      Arranging your own go Sapa ahead of time via a journey professional is actually recommended. The easiest method to reach Sapa is actually through immediately teach, exactly where vacationers may rest the actual trip aside. Through Hanoi the actual trip requires around 10 several hours and also the locomotives go away every day. You will find 14 locomotives that offer the actual come back trip in between Hanoi as well as Lao Cai, just about all supplying air-conditioning as well as comfy cabins along with several berth choices. You will awaken rejuvenated as well as prepared for the Sapa experience to start whenever you appear in to Lao Cai earlier the following early morning.

      Place your own strolling footwear upon as well as discover the actual valleys providing breathless surroundings top you to definitely nearby towns. The actual closest town associated with Kitty Kitty is just 3kms through Sapa, an additional choice is actually Ta Phin town house in order to Red-colored Dzao around 10kms aside. The majority of vacationers looks for helpful information as well as has a Xe Om (motorcycle) to some starting place 8kms through Sapa, after that journey the 14km cycle round the region going to towns on the way. There is lots of walking as well as hiking choices in the region for those health and fitness amounts, going to slope group towns as well as waterfalls. For that severe mountaineer why don’t you undertake the actual 19km trip towards the peak associated with Fansipan, Vietnam’s greatest maximum?

      An additional appeal associated with any kind of Sapa journey may be the marketplaces. You will find several marketplaces kept round the region usually about the weekend break upon whether Sunday or even Weekend. The well-known marketplace may be the Back ‘Weekend marketplace, the industry buying and selling center as well as conference location with regard to family and friends. You will discover the neighborhood minorities putting on their own conventional clothes, the actual Hmong tend to be recognized through their own indigo stitched garb and also the Red-colored Dao through their own red-colored headdresses along with hanging cash as well as waistcoats which are intricately stitched as well as put on through the ladies. The actual Adore Marketplace is actually an additional famous marketplace — typically it had been a location in which the youths from the nearby slope tribes might arrive to locate a partner.

      If you have fulfilled the actual local people, trekked the actual valleys as well as marvelled the actual sights associated with significantly terraced grain areas, shopped in the marketplaces and also have your own cherished times taken, you’ll return in order to Lao Cai train station for the immediately teach to Hanoi. The Sapa journey experience is really a particular emphasize associated with any kind of day at Vietnam.

      Source: wannawatch.info

      Recommended by ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA:

      West to East Biking Exploration: http://www.activetravelvietnam.com/tour.php?op=detail&tourId=20
      Sapa Trekking & Homestay: http://www.activetravelvietnam.com/tour.php?op=detail&tourId=25

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
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  • My Russian Trip My Russian Trip

    • From: hbwoods
    • Description:

      My sister and I booked our Russian river cruise through a company called Travel-All-Russia. We picked this company because of their reasonable rates and the fact that they were the only company that seems to process Visa applications with the Russian Consulate and include the processing fees in the price. All the other companies we checked only provided a letter of invitation which is needed with the application. We left the US on September 5, 2011 and arrived in Moscow on September 6th. A driver met us at the airport and took us directly to the ship we were sailing on. The first day was just getting settled on the ship and resting from our flight. At the docks was a small park with some food vendors that we walked around to see.

      On our second day we took a tour of the Moscow Kremlin. My sister and I marveled at the fact that 20 years ago we would have never thought just a regular American tourist would be standing in the middle of the Kremlin. It was amazing. We walked around the outside of the Kremlin also and came across a guarded memorial to the dead from the Great War (WWII) and observed the changing of the guard. That night we were offered optional tours of Moscow by Night or a tour of the subway system. Although we took neither optional tour we did see Red Square at night and traveled on our own through the subway system. The subway stations are a work of art all on their own. When built the Soviets wanted to build a beautiful place for the common man and since workers used the subways every day to go to and from work it was decided that these stations would be a beautiful pleasant experience.

      The third day we took an optional tour to Sergiev Posad (St Sergius Monastery). The ride through the country-side gave us a glimpse of rural living which didn’t seem any different than any place else in Europe. The Monastery was beautiful and we were able to witness a Russian Orthodox service. I found it interesting that Russian Orthodox churches don’t have pews or seating and the stand throughout the entire service. I was told it is because they are there to serve God not there to be comfortable. This evening we left the docks and were headed north towards St Petersburg.

      At this point I have to tell you that the crew and service staff on the ship (MS Chernishevskiy) were simply marvelous. The food was fantastic and you were just made to feel like you were at home the whole trip.

      Our first stop on the journey was in the village of Uglich. In 1591, 10 year old Prince Dmitry was murdered here by Boris Godunov before Godunov claimed the throne of Russia. Then Godunov was himself murdered. The Church of St. Dmitry-on-Blood stands on the location of the 10 year olds murder. The icons in the church depict the story of this tragedy. While in Uglich there are some shops that sell Russian made watches at very reasonable prices and make great gifts for people at home.

      The next stop was in Yaroslavl the site of the first Russian Theater. We learned upon our arrival that a couple of days earlier a plane had crashed nearby and killed the whole hockey team from this town. It was a national and local tragedy that affected the whole town. The day we arrived was the day of the funeral. Despite the sadness the town was feeling, they still made us feel very welcome and showed us the sites of the town. Our guide told us that in the 1970’s during the Soviet era, the local theater put on a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” but had to call it something different. He said they had a sold out crowd every night and that the patrons sang, in English, along with the cast. About two weeks later the “Party” found out what the production really was they shut it down. Yaroslavl is where I was introduced to Smokey Cheese. It is wonderful and is kind of the string cheese of Russia. It comes in a braded knot and you just pull off pieces to eat. About a ½ pound knot cost me the equivalent of about $1.20.

       Goritsy was our next stop and is the home to Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery which was built in 1397. We toured the Monastery which included St. Cyril-on-the-White-Lake and a museum of icons. This is a working Monastery and school. Just walking around the grounds was beautiful. Outside the Monastery there was a gentleman selling jars of honey from the back of his vehicle. He had several different flavors and let me taste them all before deciding on which I would purchase.

      Kizhi Island on Lake Onega was our next stop. The massive Transfiguration Church with its 22 onion domes can be seen way before you get to the island. The island has been made into a museum of sorts of wooden buildings after the Bolsheviks moved the church to the island so it could not be easily accessed or used.  We were treated to one of the guides playing the bells in the bell tower of a smaller church on the island.

      Mandrogi was our last stop before reaching St. Petersburg. This village was built by a company that wanted to show hand-made crafts being made and how buildings used to look long ago. There were picnic pavilions on the grounds where our ship’s chefs and wait staff fed us a traditional Russian picnic lunch called Shashlik.

      Our last stop with three days still left on the ship was St Petersburg.   It is a very beautiful city with lots of canals and boat traffic. On our first day in the city we started our tour with a stop at the Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood which was erected in honor of Alexander II after his assassination. The interesting thing about this church is that the pictures are all done in mosaic instead of paints.

      Peter and Paul Fortress was next. It was designed to defend the city from naval attacks but was used as a political prison by the tsarist regime and as a museum during the Soviet era. The fortress now stands as the tomb for the Russian Imperial Family.

      We then stopped at St. Isaac’s Cathedral which is now a museum. It is very impressive because of its rich decorations, and gigantic golden cupolas.

      In the afternoon we made it to the Hermitage Museum housed in the Winter Palace of Catherine the Great. The palace itself was amazing but the artwork was something else. We were treated to Rembrandt, DaVinci, and so much more. They say that if you spent 3 minutes by each exhibit in the Hermitage it would take three years to see everything.

      Our second day in St Petersburg was a free day. A friend, who we met on the ship, my sister and I walked around the town most of the day going into places we had seen on the driving tour. It was an enjoyable time to leisurely see the sites we wanted to go back to. The subway system was as easy to use in St. Petersburg as in Moscow. There were optional tours this evening for Catherine’s Summer Palace or St Petersburg by night.

      Our last day in St Petersburg was spent at Peterhof Palace on the banks of the Gulf of Finland. Peterhof was the official summer residence of the Russian Tsars. The fountain park was just fantastic. All the fountains are gravity fed from a spring and travel down to the Gulf from one to the next. Even without pumps, the fountains shot up into the air to give a spectacular display.

      On our last morning we had to say goodbye to new friends as they headed out to the airport to go home. My sister and I were the only ones to stay in Russia an extra couple of days. We headed out to the train station headed for Moscow. We booked our tickets ahead of time and only had to use our passports as our tickets. We took the bullet train which got us back to Moscow in 4 ½ hours. We were picked up at the train station and taken to our hotel. We stayed in the Novotel Moscow Centre. We also booked that room over the internet and got a price (including full breakfast) for a third of their regular rates. The room was clean and located right behind one of the subway stations. We could get anywhere from there. We walked around the hotel area that evening to the shops and neighborhoods. We heard some bells being played and went to investigate. About a block off the main street was a church and a woman was playing the bells in the church’s bell tower. It lasted about 15 minutes and was a splendid display of music. That night we found a restaurant right across the street from the hotel that had English speaking waitresses. It was the best beef stroganoff I think I have ever had. Our last full day in Moscow was spend locating souvenirs to bring home, taking more pictures (968 in all) and seeing sights more up close than a few days earlier when we arrived in Moscow.

      All in all, it was a wonderful trip that I would recommend to anyone.   

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
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  • Wanderlust Tales-Regensburg, G Wanderlust Tales-Regensburg, Germany

    • From: bevandlee
    • Description:

      ………Regensburg, Germany

       

      I threw a jacket in my bag. It was hot in Munich, but I knew we’d experience cool weather and snow on Zugspitz, Germany’s highest mountain peak.

       

      At the train station we found our connection to Garmisch-Partenkirchen was closed for repair. Fortunately, we had purchased a “Lander Pass” ticket, good for any destination in Bavaria today. Following a DB agent’s recommendation, we put “Plan B” into effect and headed about 1 ½ hours north to Regensburg

       

      Generally I like to research an area before allocating precious vacation days to a destination but traveling on a whim in the past has rewarded me with some fond travel experiences. Still, we had woken this morning expecting the magnificence of the Alps and it would take something pretty special to satisfy us today. Spires of St. Peter's and Wurstküche

       

      It was love at first sight. Walking through the medieval city center, a designated UNESCO Heritage Site, it’s not difficult to comprehend the fact that Regensburg has been inhabited for about 2000 years. Virtually untouched during the war, The Old Town Hall, the Porta Praetoria, and the majestic Gothic beauty of St. Peter’s Cathedral, helped our imaginations turn back the clock to another century.

       

      ArrivinHistorische Wurstkuche, Regensburgg at the Historische Wurstküche, a sausage kitchen that has reportedly been operating for about 900 years, we greedily devoured little finger sausages, smeared in grainy mustard and tucked into hard rolls. In front of us the Danube River’s rapid waters carried river-cruise passengers under the 12th century Old Stone Bridge and behind us the spires of St. Peter’s Cathedral jutted up through the smoke of the kitchen’s beech-wood charcoal fire.Sausage eaters in Regensburg

       

      A light drizzle started to fall as we reluctantly headed back toward the train station. The discovery of this period-perfect little city center just confirmed for me that an “unplanned” travel agenda can be one of the most rewarding.

       

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  • SIX WEEKS IN SOUTH AFRICA SIX WEEKS IN SOUTH AFRICA

    • From: Dan Beamer
    • Description:

           My wife and I arrived in Johannesburg on a mild spring afternoon.  Our bed and breakfast was located in Little Linden literally yards from the old Linden farm where Nelson Mandela and the ANC  plotted the demise of the white South African government in the early 1950’s and 60’s.  Being in our mid sixties we were a little hesitant in our plan to drive around South Africa.
        DSC02654 - Copy - Copy_edited-1.JPG Our first full day, we visited the Apartheid Museum which was a fascinating look at the history of Apartheid in South Africa. It is really a tribute to Nelson Mandela. DSC02648 - Copy - Copy.JPG From the museum we had our driver take us  to Soweto where we visited Mandela’s first house and learned that Desmond Tutu was a neighbor of the Mandelas. Two Nobel Peace Prize winners were living a block away from each other.  While in Soweto we walked over to the Hector Peterson Memorial.  This plaza commemorated when the students of Soweto walked out of their classrooms on June 16, 1976 to protest the mandatory teaching of all subjects in Afrikans language,  the language spoken by whites in South Africa. Thirteen year old Hector Peterson was killed at this demonstration which led to a prolonged walk out by black South African students and triggered the fall of Aparteid.

           The following day our South African friends drove to Jo’burg to visit us before we departed for Cape Town.  Our friends are Zulus and live in the province of the Free State, south of Johannesburg. We met them while they were on a Fulbright teacher exchange in the states a couple of years ago. We enjoyed a traditional Braai (barbeque),  with sausages, fruit and mielie pap (a starchy corn meal like mashed potatoes).
           DSC02772.JPG From Jo’burg we flew to the Cape Town region.  We picked up our rental, a Chevy Spark, from the airport and drove 30 minutes to Stellenbosch.  Our rented apartment was located in a nice neighborhood  with shopping and restaurants within walking distance.  We spent two days exploring the wineries and sampling the various products.  Our favorite winery was the highest one, Uva Mira winery, with its spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. DSC02826.JPG
            From Stellenbosch we drove to a small town just south of Cape Town called Hout Bay.  Our bed and breakfast was outstanding and our hosts pointed us in the direction of Table Mountain.  After a  short scenic ocean side 20 minute drive, we arrived at the funicular tram that took us to the top of the mountain in 5 minutes while rotating  360 degrees for fabulous views en route. Fortunately, we had a beautiful day for viewing Cape Town and the environs. Some days a “table cloth” cloud hovers over the top of Table Mountain making viewing doubtful.
           The following day was also a bright blue  day so we drove into the Victoria and Albert Harbor and booked the ferry boat to Robbin Island.  We were accompanied on board by a class of middle school students who were going to learn aboutDSC02868.JPG Nelson Mandela and the role he played in ending apartheid and developing  South Africa's democracy.  The students had perfect comportment standing in silence waiting for directions from their teachers, something that no American class of middle school students could duplicate. These students were born after Apartheid ended and were excited to visit where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. The tour of the prison was informative and former inmates guided us around the facilities showing us where Mandela mined limestone as well as grew his garden located outside his cell. The guides told the visitors numerous personal stories about their own incarcerations. 
           During our last day in Hout Bay we spent visiting the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. DSC02975.JPG Since it was early spring, the flowers were in full bloom.  Even the spectacular Protea flower (South Africa’s national flower) was bursting with color and variety.
           Our last dinner in Hout Bay was at the Italian restaurant, Cassaricci. It was a delicious meal and  similar to traditional Italian ambiance (loud and crowded).  Earlier in the day we came across the famous Hout Bay twins who sell soap for DSC03016.JPGcharities.  They were quite the sight dressed in bright yellow raincoats and it was intriguing watching them impersonate each other listening to  them both speak and repeat the same words at the same time. (You can see them on YouTube at Hout Bay Soap Twins).
          From Hout Bay we drove south to Simons Town, which is a South African navy port on the Indian Ocean.  We rented an incredible beach house (from VRBO.com).  It was located just a few meters from Boulders Beach.  The house could sleep 12 and had  fantastic balcony views of the bay and Indian Ocean all for the price of about $85 per night.   Boulders beach is a colony for DSC03215.JPG3,000 penguins where you can mingle with and snap close up photos of the South African penguins.
            The following day we drove south to the Cape of Good Hope National Park.  Here we encountered baboons with their young (we had been warned to keep our car doors closed if we got out of the car because the baboonsDSC03153.JPG would enter the car and attempt to start it.), ostriches and their young, numerous birds and a variety of antelopes including  Spring Bok and Impala.  The highlight was when a brilliant gold “Cape Cobra” coiled up and opened his hood in the road, and then vanished just as quickly, before I could focus my camera on it.
           The following day we began our extended drive along the Garden Route from Cape Town to Durban.  This was a five day drive which took us first to the town of Knysha where we stayed in a  gorgeous  bed and breakfast with  a lovely room overlooking the sea.  Our land lord told us that Dave Matthews had stayed in the room we were renting. 
           The next day we were off in the morning and drove as far as Grahamstown.DSC03282_edited-1.JPG  This was a university town where we enjoyed a good dinner and rest at the 137 High Street Bed and Breakfast before departing the following day for Umtata which is in the Eastern Cape Province.  It was in this region that Nelson Mandela was born and lived his early years. Umtata is also a university town where one of the campus’ of the Walter Sisulu University is located.  This area of the Transkei was beautiful. We noticed that as we drove from one region to the next, the economy changed from fishing along the coast, to farming in the higher veld and also logging as we DSC04619.JPGapproached Durban. We saw lots of tribal farms with colorfully painted sod houses with cattle and sheep grazing in fields as well as along the highways.  As we would approach small rural villages we would notice an increase in the number of people walking or hitch hiking into town.  Often times we would see young children (6-8 years old) and elderly women (70’s or older) standing on the highway attempting to sell small bags of fruit.  Never, in our six weeks of traveling, did we see one person begging, despite the fact that unemployment is around 42%.
           From Umtata we drove to industrialized Durban.  In Durban,  we decided to go north and head towards Kruger Park. If we had continued Northeast beyond Durban to the beach side resorts, we would have driven through Swaziland further on enroute to the park.  Our route took us to Pietermaritzburg and then to the town of Ermelo after we passed through Lady Smith, home of the Black Mazombo musical singing group and a coal mining district. In Ermelo, we stayed at a gorgeous bed and breakfast called Angie’s  and were served a great breakfast by Angie, the owner.
          Our final stopping point before arriving in Kruger National Park was in the town of DSC03404.JPGNelspruit located near the south end of Kruger Park.  Here we stayed at the Utopia in Africa guest house.  The spectacular guest house  was built by a world famous architect with African ambiance and served outstanding cuisine for both breakfast and dinner.  We splurged and had both a three course dinner with a bottle of wine as well as requesting laundry service which was extra.  The entire bill was about $135.
           After a quick tour of the nearby Jane Goodalls’ Chimp Conservancy where we had lunch, we were off the next day to Kruger National Park. DSC03923.JPG We arrived at the park entrance (there are several) around 8:00 am.  We were surprised to learn that it would take us about 6 hours to drive up to the Oliphants Rest Area where we had booked five nights in a park rondell. This is a cement round thatched roof cabin grouped near an outdoor kitchen in the campground. Linens, baths, and porch refrigerators were provided making the accommodations comfortable and reasonably priced. In the campgrounds, there were stores, restaurants, gas stations, and tours available.
         DSC03941_edited-1.JPG  Kruger National Park is an intriguing wildlife park.  It is not a zoo.  We discovered that after we had only driven about 2 kilometers.  This was when we saw a group of vultures finishing up on the remains of a giraffe carcass! 
            For the next six hours we drove and stopped at numerous places to observe the wildlife.  By far the most numerous were the Impala.  They wander at the DSC04296.JPG
      side of the road in large packs and cross the road without much regard to the driver. Their nurseries of young are guarded by females and adolescent males.

           By 2:00 P.M., we reached Oliphant's Rest Camp.  After checking in and taking a short siesta we had dinner at the Oliphant's restaurant.  The food was average with the prices moderate.  Families on a budget could prepare meals in the campground kitchens.
           The following day we awoke early and took the road to Letaba.  Along the way we spotted hyena and their young,  as well as Kudzu and other antelope.  Later that evening we took an evening guided tour.  Our guide David, did an excellent job of pointing out various species of birds and animals including giraffe and hippos. DSC03683_edited-1.JPG While we were returning to camp in the dark we had a male lion run along next to our truck.  David slammed on the brakes and the lion ran in front of our truck.  David explained that the lion had been out marking his territory after an afternoon rain and if he had not stopped quickly, the lion would have jumped into our open sided truck!DSC03769_edited-2.JPG
          Over the next several days we arose early for morning drives and in the evening left the camp around 4:00 pm for drives so we could be back when the gates closed at 6:30 pm.  During those days we saw, varieties of antelope,  giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, rhino, lions, hippos, elephants,DSC04094_edited-1.JPG baboons, impala,  water buffalo, cheetahs, and numerous birds including storks and the African eagle.  Because it was spring most animals were with their young.  This was one of the highlights of our trip.  We even extended our Kruger tripDSC03668_edited-1.JPG by two nights and moved to a more southern rest camp named Satari.  The results were the same with  sightings of numerous animals. 
           Before leaving the states my wife requested that we  book a safari.  Upon looking at safari prices, I found the average prices were in the $1,000 per night range per person.  Doing some internet research I found that you can rent a rondell at a rest camp in Krueger Park for around $85 per night.  We chose the least expensive "drive yourself safari". The results were the same and we noticed several private safari trucks touring at midday when the animals were asleep or out of view in the same areas of the park where we had sighted animals earlier.DSC04085.JPG
           Upon leaving Krueger we drove to central South Africa and stayed in the community of Clarens.  This was an interesting town where we stayed at the Lake Clarens Guest House (Where your car is washed every morning).  Big Bad Bruce owns the guest house and also one of the restaurants in town.  In fact, some believe he is the founder of the resort that is Clarens.  He was a pleasant individual and gave us many good tips on seeing things in the vicinity.  On his advice, we drove through the Golden Gates Highlands National Park and to the Basotho Cultural Village.  Both were delightful to visit and learn about the Basotho tribal history.
           The following day we drove to the country of Lesotho.  This was a fascinating day trip into a nation completely surrounded by South Africa. DSC04477.JPG  Fortunately, the citizens of Lesotho were never subjugated by the Dutch South Afrikaners.  They are still very much an agrarian  society.  DSC04481.JPGWe saw numerous
      women carrying goods on their heads as well as men plowing fields with oxen.  As we drove up the mountain to the Katse Dam we encountered women washing clothes in the river, young children caring for cattle and sheep herders attending their flocks.  Unlike South Africa where virtually DSC04467.JPGeveryone speaks English, in Lesotho very few spoke it. Unfortunately, we encountered storms in the mountains and were not able to reach the dam. Rural people in Lesotho wear blankets due to the changing mountainous weather conditions.

           After leaving Clarens the following day, we drove North to Frankfort and reconnected with our Zulu friends, the Mokoenas.  They live in the township of Namahadi  outside of Frankfort.  Here we spent three nights with their family.  Next from Frankfort, we drove with our friends to the Drakensburg Mountains. DSC04650.JPG We spent a night in the town of Underburg.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Flower Inn restaurant and did some hiking in the Drakensburg Mountains  before returning to Frankfort the following day.  The views from the vistas were spectacular.  We never imagined South Africa to be lush, mountainous with flowing mountain streams.
           Upon our return to Frankfort it was time to drive back to Johannesburg.  During our final weekend we included several trips to the Bruma Cultural Market. DSC04876.JPG Here you can find all the souvenirs you could imagine.  Prices are good and bargaining is encouraged. 
           We were also invited to our Zulu friends' cousins’ baby shower.  It was great fun as we were the only whites eating barbeque boerewors (sausage) mielie pap, chakalaka, and salad while laughing at the funny stories the guests were telling about the expectant mother.
           Our last day in Jo’burg  we were chauffeured to the Cradle of Mankind cave and the Maropeng museum.  This is where the earliest humans were found.  They have discovered a human skull which is more than 3 million years old.  All modern day humans can trace their DNA back to central Africa.  In the museum you are greeted by a large sign in the lobby that proclaims “Welcome Home”!  The museum demonstrated how the earth was created and the scientific evolution of mankind through the eyes of Charles Darwin.  In the end the visitor was left with several perplexing questions.DSC04854.JPG “ The world is faced with a dilemma: countries need to develop economically and to do this they need to use natural resources, but at the same time, they need to preserve the environment so that future generations can succeed.”  As Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa said, “ A global human society based on poverty for many and prosperity for a few, characterized by islands of wealth surrounded by a sea of poverty is unsustainable.”  Southern Africa has the highest proportion of people living on less than $1 a day.  About 40% of the regions 190 million people live in extreme poverty.  The World Bank estimates that 1.1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.  Humanity’s ecological footprint grew by 150%  between 1961 and 2000.
           South Africa has it’s share of problems including 42% unemployment, high crime rates, and lack of health care in the rural areas.  Our six week journey through South Africa was a real eye opener.  We were encouraged by the friendliness of the people.  All were well dressed and expressed a sense of hopefulness.  They were a proud nation trying to overcome serious problems.  A sign on one of the buildings in downtown Johannesburg summed up the feelings of this nation after the successful 2010 World Cup Soccer championships:  “TODAY THIS IS THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD”DSC04862.JPG

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