Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Top Literary Travel Destinations of the World

When you love a book too much, you could just picture the characters in real. Wouldn’t it be amazing to actually see the places your favorite classic novels were set in, or even written or conceived in? When you tire of looking for places to visit based on their scenic beauty and hip new activities, why not plan a trip to places where your favorite authors lived, breathed and created masterpieces?
London, England
In a list of all the literary hotspots around the world, nothing can beat the city of London. London has seen more authors and writers to complete an entire dictionary. From the classic authors to modern day literatures, London is the home to many of the greatest authors of all times.
Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare gets thousands of visitors every day visiting to pay homage to their favorite author. The house where Shakespeare lived from has been turned into a museum for tourists. Besides, visitors could also look into the Royal Shakespeare Company platform and pay their respects to the author’s final resting place.
Another favored spot in London is 221B Baker Street, the alleged home of the world famous Detective Character Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Beside the house that is kept as a shrine to this character, visitlondon.com has an itinerary for Sherlock Holmes fans to follow in the footsteps of their favorite mastermind.
London is also the home to many other celebrated classic authors, namely Charles Dickens, Jeffrey Chaucer, John Keats, H. G. Wells and John Milton.
If you are a fan of the loveable spy James Bond extraordinaire, the best place to visit might be the Dukes’ Bar, where creator Ian Fleming was inspired to create the character.
Dublin, Ireland
From Yeats to Homey, Dublin has been the chief inspiration for many such celebrated poets and authors in their creation, especially in James Joyce’s Ulysses and Jonathon Swift’s A Modest Proposal.
Other sights to visit in this city are the Dublin Writer’s Museum, the National Library of Ireland and James Joyce’s Pub and House.
Edinburg, Scotland
According to the National Geographic, Edinburg has inspired more than 500 celebrated novels starting from 18th century poet Robert Burns to modern day geniuses like Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith.
The Writer’s Museum in the city exhibits homage to the trio of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Robert Louie Stevenson.
New York, U.S.A
New York is the home to authors such as Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer and John Ashbury. You can visit the New York’s White Horse Tavern, where Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac used to spend their evenings. Interested visitors can take a look at the New York Public Library’s huge collection of books.
Concord, Massachusetts
The biggest literary spot of Concord is the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote her loved-by-all classic series ‘Little Women’. It was also the home of Nathaniel Hawthorn and Ralph Waldo Emerson and their final resting place at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
Paris, France
Paris was the home to French literary giants such as Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas and Voltaire as well as refuge to American authors like Gertrude Stein, F. Scott FitzGerald and Ernest Hemmingway. The famous book stall along the Seine and the Les Deux Magots café were frequently visited by Hemmingway and Albert Camus.
The ‘Hemmingway Paris Walk’ runs every Friday along a ruin of literary historical site of Joyce, Hemmingway, Balzac and Orwell.
Rome, Italy
Rome was the home to the author of The Aeneid, Vigil. Beside, Rome also inspired some of the most famous authors of all time: Keats, Shelly and James to name a few.
Keats and Shelly’s home on Rome’s historical Spanish Steps, attract thousands of poets, visitors and fans alike from all around the world.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Years ago, St. Petersburg was the home to celebrated authors such as Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Alexander Pushkin and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky lived in a number of houses around the city during his time, and the last house he lived in, has been turned into a museum to honor his memory.
Dostoevsky wrote his celebrated novel, The Brothers Karamazov, in this house.
Prince Edward’s Island, Canada
If you loved the Anne of Green Gables Series in your childhood, you will love a tour of the Haunted Wood and the trails walked by Anne in the stories.

If you are on a spree, there are some other literary locations that every reader should visit: Mark Twain’s House and Museum in Hartford, CT; Ernest Hemmingway’s House and Museum in Oak Park, IL; Oscar Wilde’s childhood house in Dublin, Ireland; the Emily Dickenson Museum in Amherst, MA; Leo Tolstoy’s home in Russia; the O’ Henry House and Museum in Austin, TX; Margaret Mitchell’s Home and Museum in Atlanta, GA; the Bronte Personage Museum, West Yorkshire, England; Charles Dickens’ Museum in London, England; and many more.   

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Top 10 Cuisines of the World

What is one of the most important facets of travel? No doubt the vote will be unanimous. Beside the excitement of visiting a new country and meeting new people, tasting the unique cuisine of a country is as important as any other activities. In this era of globalization, international cuisines have crossed the borders of their respective countries to fall in the hands, or rather mouths, of everybody. Still, there is no greater thrill than to visit a country and to taste their different cuisines, in the way they are cooked in their own environment.
When voting on the different cuisines around the world, Italy comes in the first position, no doubt. The native cuisine of Italy – pizza, pasta and spaghetti may have originated in Italy, but have made its place among the favorites of almost all countries of the world long, long time ago. A satisfying cuisine based on carbohydrates, tangy sauces, cheese, vegetables and meat, Italian food is fulfilling to the stomach and a wholesome meal for the whole family. The specialty of Italian food is in its sauces cooked in olive oil, and the various pizza toppings of mozzarella cheese, meat, basil, jalapeno and olives.
The new favorite cuisine of the world at the moment is Indian Food with its spicy and tangy curries, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. A country of many cultures in itself, India boasts of a multitude of different cuisines which include both vegetarian delicacies as the Dosa, Dhokla and Pau-bhaji, as well as the various hot and spicy chicken and mutton curries. Besides, Indian cuisine also includes different types of street-food and desserts. Indian food is currently a favorite at many western countries, especially in the US and the UK, in top Indian restaurants run by Indian chefs.
Tacos, Quesadillas, Nachos, and Enchiladas – the names alone are mouth-watering. The world’s another favorite, Mexican cuisine is a mixture of spicy, tangy, sweet, salty and almost all sorts of flavors to the taste buds, all in one bite. Mexican Cuisines focus mainly on tomato sauce and ground beef, and is one of the spiciest foods in the world. You have to have a strong stomach to take in all the hot stuff that are included in Mexican food.
Chinese cuisine had taken the world by storm a few decades ago, the first of Asian Cuisine to cross the borders and step in as one of the favorites of the world. Chinese cuisine is not only incredibly tasty, but also healthy and easy on the digestive system. As the main dish of China is rice, the cuisine is centered mainly around various preparations of fried rice, as well as noodles, dumplings, spring rolls and soup. Other countries have to some extent tempered with Chinese recipes to accommodate their own stomach and taste, but still today, there are a few restaurants, especially in the Chinatown areas of UK and USA, that use the original recipes.
Sushi, originated in Japan, is different from any other cuisine around the world. Japan is an extremely health conscious country, and their cuisine also reflects their belief in this manner. The ever popular preparations of tempura, sushi, teriyaki and miso soup belonging to Japanese cuisine is thus, easy to digest and contains a balance of rice, fruits, vegetables and seafood.
French food is versatile and light, and very easy for the stomach to digest. Top restaurants in France are a hub of culture and dining as they serve some of the best six-course meals of the world. From champagne to cheese to desserts, the French believe in perfection and their cuisine is delicate and prepared in an artistic way to satisfy the eye as well as the stomach. French cuisine specializes in over a hundred types of cheese and bread, each with their own characteristics.
The cuisine of United States is basically a mixture of cuisines from all around the world, from the heavy Mexican and Indian dishes to delicately prepared Japanese and French delicacies. Some of the old and traditional dishes of the States include clam chowder, key lime pie and Cobb Salad, although in recent times, Americans prefer a combination of dishes that have over the years been evolved to fit their own taste and preferences. For example, cheeseburger and hamburgers originating in Germany, French fires from Belgium and pizza from Italy.
Thai cuisines are incredibly complex and each simple preparation generally requires as many as 15 to 20 ingredients that give the dishes a salty, spicy, tangy, sour taste. Thai cuisine has influences of dishes from China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar, making their recipes complex yet unique.
Spanish cuisine requires a number of exotic spices for preparation, including rare spices such as saffron, cumin and honeyed sweets, making their dishes like no other in the world. Their main focus is one seafood and meat, prepared delicately and presented in an artistic manner.
Indonesian Cuisine has the most diverse food in the world, divided among their 18,000 islands and thousands of cultures. The dishes are not harmful to the body, and prepared keeping health and well-being in mind, and there’s no end to the variety of taste that they offer.


Tasting the local cuisine is one of the most important, if not the most important part of travelling. Local delicacies and cuisines are a way to open a culture in the mind of the traveler that nothing else can.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

World’s Favorite Honeymoon Destinations

It’s that magical time for the lovebirds after the hustles and bustles of a wedding and you can finally be alone together, at last. Away from prying eyes and endless formalities, the honeymoon is truly one of the most beautiful times of every couple’s life. To make this mysterious time even more enchanting, what’s better than to roam around, hand in hand, along some of the most beautiful and enthralling places of the world?
The definition of honeymoon is extremely varied these days, and differs mostly with each couple, the period of break they can manage, and most importantly, the financial situation. If you have ended spending too much on the wedding itself, you can try various methods get money over the next few weeks to get your honeymoon back on track. But if you are one of those couples who deem the wedding ceremony as just a function and don’t bother with it that much, it’s possibly a good idea to plan a long and possibly a luxurious honeymoon to start your life together in a grand way.
Your honeymoon can be any way you plan it out. It can be the traditional beach resort honeymoon suite with a heat-shaped bed and rose petals, or a wild safari in the desserts of Africa; an array of extreme sports like scuba diving and bungee jumping, or a troll around the ancient rubbles of Egypt and Italy.
Here’s a list of the world’s favorite and most popular honeymoon destinations to give you an idea. 
France - the name is synonymous with the word ‘romance’. For generations, lovebirds have cherished the idea of strolling along the ancient cobblestone roads of Paris with their loved ones, dining at the roadside cafes and lounging on the beaches of Normandy. Culture, history, romance, exquisite food and wine – France has everything to offer people in love for that special time of their lives.
If you are a food lover out to taste some of the most delicious cuisines of the world, then Italy is your dream destination. There is practically nothing comparable to the authentic pizzas and pastas, wine and bread of good old Italy. A gondola ride with your spouse, throwing coins in the wishing well and praying for a future together, secluded mountain villas of Tuscany – these are what dreams - and romantic movies – are made off. Besides, if you happen to be a fashionista, then Milan will definitely be a favorite.
When you are into scenic beauty and beaches, then Bali, Indonesia is the answer. The perfect, peaceful harmony of the beach, watching the sunset together with a glass of wine in your hand, and taking in the breathtaking scenery of the magnificent island – doesn’t that sound romantic? Later, if you tire of the peace and quiet, there are a few activities like white water rafting and volcanic trips for couples to try.
If you decide to plan your honeymoon on a truly grand style, take a whole month out for a trip around Europe. Savor the scenic beauty of Switzerland, roam around the castles and forts of Germany, shop in the fashion capitals of the world, hike and camp at the beautiful mountain ranges of Spain, taste exquisite old world cuisines of Sicily – make your honeymoon a trip to remember and cherish forever.
If it’s romance on your mind, the beaches of Bahamas, Philippines, Maldives and Hawaii are yours to choose from. Beaches bring out the old romantics in a person; and what’s better than to walk hand in hand in the white sandy beaches whilst the waves crash on your feet? There’s a reason the classics ideas are still the best options for some.
If you are short on time and you need money now to fund this honeymoon, never fear! There are some great honeymoon destinations around the home base. Try Hawaii if it is beaches you want, or the ranches of Colorado, the hustle and bustle of New York City, the wine country of Napa Valley, California or the cozy boutique hotels of Vermont. Best part of the deal – no passports and no money conversion!
If you are looking for something exotic and different than the rest, your answers lie in the Bangkok Tree Houses of Thailand, in the Amazon Reserves of Peru, in the boho-gypsy houses of Kenya, or in the ruins of Belize, Mexico.
When you have dreamt of your perfect honeymoon since as long as you have dreamt about your wedding, pick a retreat paradise from the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Tobago, or Oahu, Lanai or Big Island of Hawaii – exotic locations and mesmerizing beaches to pull the romantic out of you.
With adventure on your mind and your loved one by your side, take a pick of the adventures of a road trip around New Zealand, or bike around the Netherlands, or plan a helicopter trip of Hawaii, a walking safari in Zambia, or a cruise in the Amazon River in Peru.
But wait a minute! It’s your honeymoon, and the main point of the trip is to spend some time with your partner before busy life engulfs you both. Wherever in the world you chose to spend your honeymoon in, being with the most special person in your life makes it heaven.

Sources: Wikipedia, Bought on Credit, Reuters

Monday, February 17, 2014

10 Shopping Capitals of the World

When it comes to fashion, the fashionistas know exactly where to look. What other experience can be better in life than to tour the world of fashion, literally speaking. With a credit card in one hand, and a map to the stores in another – this is indeed what dreams are made of – at least the dream of the fashion hunters.
When you are looking to try out the latest and the best in fashion, a few names pop in the head immediately – Paris, Milan, New York, London! Besides being some of the oldest cities of the world rich in culture and art, these magnificent cities also offer tourists and inhabitants a unique shopping experience all year round.
London
International and bold designer boutiques like the Liberty Department Store on Regent Street and Harrod’s in Knightbridge are what set London apart from any other shopping districts experiences anywhere else. However, shopping in London, just like everything else in London, is very expensive and is likely to leave a permanent damage to your bank balance – but if you have the will and the way, it will indeed be an experience to remember.
Dubai
From the old to the new, and more specifically, to gold. If you are a fan of gold jewelry. Then Dubai is definitely the place for you to try. Besides, the Burjuman Shopping Center in Dubai gives you an opportunity to browse your favorite brands in the world – Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior and Tiffany to name a magical few.
The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping center in the area, complete with theme parks, waterfalls and ice rinks and aquariums, beside housing top brands such as Galaries Lafayette of Paris and the first Bloomingdale’s outside the United Kingdom.
Paris
Home of world famous brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dior, Paris also offers small designer boutiques to explore and discover from in the vintage Marais and along the streets of Rue St. Honore.
New York
In the Big Apple, you have the freedom to hop down Broadway and Fifth Avenue to look at other world famous department stores that we have all heard of – Bergdorf’s and Sak’s and Macy’s and Bloomingdales; or head over to the West Village for smaller yet unique boutiques. Nowhere in the world will you see every one – and by everyone, we mean from the old to the young – strutting around in designer clothes like it is the most normal thing in the world.
Milan
Milan – home of art and fashion alike, gave the world famous brand designers such as Prada, Versace and D&G to name a few.
The streets of the city are filled with antique jewelry, boutiques and lifestyle shops great for an afternoon of window shopping.
Tokyo
A new addition to the list, the residents of Tokyo, Japan are as obsessed with brands and fashion as the rest of the world. Retailer boutiques such as Uniqlo, Boutiqu W and Side by Side are the top department stores that house outfits from top designer brands of the world as well as works of local emerging artists. In Shinjuku, the global chain store with its eight separate building stretching across two blocks, sells everything from outfits to electronics all round the clock.
Madrid
The capital of Spain, Madrid has given the world top designer brands such as Adidas, H&M and Loewe. Besides, there are some international standard local favorites such as Agatha Ruiz de la Prada and Desigual to browse through.
Singapore
Orchard Boulevard in Singapore City and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore house some of the most cherished designer brands of the world, and is frequented by visitors all through the year, but specially around Christmas and New Year. Besides for retailer shopping at a lower budget, the indigenous markets of Chinatown and Little India are also quite famous.
Mustafa Center in Singapore City is one of the favorite shopping malls of locals and tourists alike, open 24/7 selling everything from vegetables to crackers, bags to electronics.
Seoul
According to CNN, Seoul, South Korea literally has an addiction to shopping, with the highest number of credit card transactions recorded in 2011. From designer boutiques to small vintage shops to hawkers, the favorite pastimes of Seoul seem to be shopping alone.
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is the dining and shopping capital of the world, with something to offer for every type of shoppers and food-enthusiasts. Malls and departmental stores are spread across the entire city, boasting of signature brands selling clothing, leather goods, antiques, watches and jewelry.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab that passport and wallet and head for the nearest shopping district there is, just for the sake of browsing and looking if your wallet cannot take the load. Be sure to look for the nearest sale or discount festivals so that your precious dollars can buy you more than you are hoping for.
Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

10 Great Festivals Around the World

I'm planning a vacation with my family. I've been researching and researching and perusing brochures for a country to visit. In my research, I came up with a short list of the hottest festivals around the world for travelling. Enjoy the trip around the world.

Carnival in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil


The Carnival in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil is dated back to 1723 when the immigrants from the Portuguese Islands of Acores, Madeira and Cobo Verde introduced it. A week long party of extravagant parades, dancing, colors, and drinking makes this one of the most exciting events of the world.
The initial idea of the Carnival was to get everybody soaking wet. People would huddle in the streets with water and lime, and everybody would be wet in minutes. It usually happens in the peak of the summer, and all over the country.

Chinese New Year, Hong Kong 


The Chinese New Year is the most important festival in the Chinese calendar and usually falls in February, lasting usually for 15 days. Asia’s world city welcomes the Year of the Dragon with colorful flower markets, mesmerizing fireworks, a dazzling night parade, bustling temples, lively sports events, and much more.

At the New Year Celebrations, people wear red clothes; give children ‘lucky money’ in red envelopes and light firecrackers. Everything is red because the Chinese believes that red is fire and fire drives away bad luck. The festival ends with a lantern festival where people hang decorated lanterns in temples and carry lanterns to the night parade.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans, USA


Mardi gras, or as it means in English, ‘Fat Tuesday’ and ‘Carnival Season’, is the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty food, before the ritual of Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.
Popular traditions of the festival includes wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports, competitions, parades, and others.

New Year’s Celebrations in Sydney Harbor, Australia


The New Year’s Celebration in Sydney Harbor is an annual festival held on New Year over Harbor Bridge in Sydney. There is usually two fireworks display, the 9pm fireworks and the midnight firework show. It is the world’s favorite way to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany


Oktoberfest in Germany is the most famous beer festival in Germany where over 6 million visitors join to get drunk every year. It is a 16-day festival that start in late-September to the first week of October. Locally, it is known as Wiesn, and is an important part of the Bavarian culture, having held since 1810.
Visitors also enjoy a mixture of amusement rides, sidetalls and games, and a variety of traditional food, such as Hendl, Wurslt, Knodel and Obatzda.

La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain


Held in the Valencian city of Bunol, the La Tomatina festival is where the participants throw tomatoes at each other and pick tomato fights just as fun. It is held on the last Wednesday of August every year.

The Festival of San Fermin, Spain


The nine-day festival held in Spain attracts thousands of visitors to Pamplona, Spain and includes a carnival, bullfights and the very famous event of ‘Running with the Bulls’. This festival began in the 1590s, and is an extremely popular, though controversial, festival.

Holi, the Festival of Color, India


Holi is an ancient festival celebrated by the Sikhs and in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It is also known as the ‘Festival of Colors’, and it is literally one of the most colorful festivals in the world.
On the eve of Holi, Hindus dress in their finest clothes and watch a bonfire. On the day of Holi, the color festival takes place. People celebrate it with splashing themselves and everyone else on the streets with colorful powder dyes. Everyone is invited to join in the festival.

Diwali in Amritsar, India 


Also known as the Festival of Lights, the Diwali Celebrations in Amritsar, India, families and friends get together to celebrate with sweets, gifts and feasts. Families light up their houses and light fireworks, and decorate their homes with flowers and draw ‘Rangoli’ on their doorsteps, an intricate design on the floor made with colorful rice flour.

Full moon Party, Haad Din, Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand


Haad Din is the night life capital of Thailand and has the largest concentration of beach clubs in the country. During the Full Moon Party, more than 20,000 to 30,000 travelers attend this festival. Beside partying all night, vacationers can enjoy wild activities such as fire rope jumping.

Love Festival, Germany


The Love Parade in Germany was celebrated from 1989-2003 and 2006-2010 and included loud electronic music, costumes and overall ‘let-lose’ behavior. Due to the tragic death of 21 participants by trampling, the festival was cancelled permanently.