Category Archives: Travel

La Fête du Citron – a dose of Vitamin C in the French Riviera!

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La Fête du Citron – a dose of Vitamin C in the French Riviera!

Created in Menton, France in 1934, La Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival), is an extremely bright and unique event which attracts more than 160,000 visitors every year!

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This vivid event consists of designs up to 10 meters tall, incredible decorations, and floats requiring over 140 tons of oranges and lemons! For three weeks, the Jardins Biovès [Biovès Gardens] and the streets are given over to these bright, sunny citrus giants!!

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Floral processions are organized on the Promenade du Soleil, with a mixture of citrus-themed floats, confetti, dancers and folk groups. Displayed in giant floats, Citrus Limonia is saluted by entertainers, brass bands and other creatures full of divine charm. During the festival, the Biovès Gardens are clad with citrus fruit, forming temporary sculptures in dazzling yellow and orange shades. At nightfall, the orange and lemon monuments sparkle in their flamboyant colors, and night-time events are sometimes held.

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La Fête du Citron is the second most important event on the French Riviera – after Nice Carnival – and is just ahead of the Monaco Formula 1. More than 300 professionals work on the project and 145 tons of citrus fruits are used.

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This festival is held from mid-February for three weeks, the perfect time of year to get your dose of vitamin C!

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-Karen Bahri

Italy’s most Underrated destinations

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Italy’s most Underrated destinations

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Ahhh Italy!!! Italy is such an amazing and beautiful country where there are sooo many famous cities/towns you have to check out. It’s like you have to take a couple months off so you can see everything! All the major cities – Venice, Milan, Tuscany, Florence, the Amalfi Coast, oh my god!! Italy just doesn’t stop!!

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I’m about to make your Italian itinerary a bit more complicated (insert evil smile emoji) Forget the major cities…okay maybe not, but try for a moment. Wouldn’t it be nice to explore REAL Italy?! Outside the major tourist destinations? Wouldn’t it be cool to get lost and see what Italy is REALLY like? Of course it would!! Just brush up on some Italiano and follow my list of destinations in Italy that are a little less “well known” but you get away from the crowds and actually see Italy for what it REALLY is!

MODENA

The ancient town of Modena boasts to have the best restaurant in ALL OF EUROPE (Osteria Francescana) as well as it is the hub of Italian auto making.

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RAVELLO

Amalfi Coast – be damned! The cliffside town of Ravello also offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea!

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SIRACUSA

Settlements in this Sicilian archeological wonderland date back as far as 734 BC! Siracusa was once the largest city in the ancient world! It is best known for its Ancient Greek ruins as well as amazing food.

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PARMA

Home of …you guessed it! Parmesan Cheese! Parma is a foodie’s paradise as it is the first Italian city to win the UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy award! It is also home of one of the oldest universities in the world – Parma University.

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MATERA

This ancient city is carved into a canyon believe it or not! It is one of the oldest still-inhabited places on earth and extremely exotic to visit!

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TRIESTE

Visiting Trieste is like pretending like you are actually in Slovenia, but actually you are not! This place is filled with Viennese coffee houses and Slavic restaurants. Uncommon for Italy, Trieste is kind of a melting pot of Italian, Latin, German, Jewish and Slavic people.

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So now which one or ones of these places do you think you want to include on your bucket list next time you are in Italy?? Let me know! 🙂

 

-Karen Bahri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Switzerland’s Earth Shattering Secret Wonderland!

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Switzerland’s Earth Shattering Secret Wonderland!

If you have ever wondered what it’s like to live in a home blanketed inside earth, start packing your bags and head over to Dietikon, Switzerland and find out what it actually feels like to be at one with nature!

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Earth House Estate Lattenstrasse is located in Dietikon, Switzerland. These homes are ACTUALLY tucked within mounds of earth. You will totally get the feeling as if you have stumbled upon a secret society! “Earth Houses” are so called because they’re designed to reside within their environment, blending into the natural contours of the land rather than merely set down on top of it. These homes appear like small cozy huts to live in, but are actually quite spacious inside. They also have a balance of the best of modern design and energy-efficient living. The estate includes 9 separate homes, featuring three 3 bedroom, a 4 bedroom, a 5 bedroom, three 6 bedroom and a 7 bedroom house. There is even an artificial lake in the center, a subterranean parking lot, and room to grow vegetation on the property.

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The aim of building an earth house is not to live under or in the ground; but with it. The earth house concept uses the ground as an insulating blanket that efficiently protects the homes from rain, low temperatures, wind and natural abrasion.

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Being that the homes are protected by a layer of earth, they have natural insulation during the winter that allows them to use only a third of the energy a normal home would consume. During the summer, the homes stay cool, making air conditioners and fans unnecessary.

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The earth house concept uses its surroundings as an advantage – the surroundings are not adapted to the building, rather, but the house is shaped in order to preserve the natural environment. Modern earth-house architecture incorporates the latest interior finishing, such as contemporary kitchens, bathrooms and house-control systems. Furthermore, every house is newly designed in accordance with the wishes of its owners.

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This amazing little community definitely will make you feel like you have stepped into a hobbit hole from the Lord of The Rings trilogy or something!

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~Karen Bahri

 

25 Mood Brightening Travel Photographs!

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25 Mood Brightening Travel Photographs!

The slug of the daily grind can get you down sometimes. Whenever I am feeling down, in a bad mood, stressed or over-worked I look at pretty travel photography and my mood instantaneously lifts! Such is the personality of a travel enthusiast!  Here’s a collection of beautiful travel photos from around the world that I find mood-lifting and inspiring! It was hard to limit myself from posting 63,861,894 photos from 726,487,619 places, so lucky are these babies who made the cut! You may or may not notice a few of these I wrote about in previous blogs; but they are just too breathtaking not to mention! Hope this brightens your day!

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Kinsale, Ireland

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Venice, Italy

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Gold Coast, Australia

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Pamukkale, Turkey

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Swiss Alpes

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Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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Cyprus

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Iceland

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Bangkok, Thailand

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Cartagena, Colombia

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Freudenberg, Germany

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Chefchaouen, Morocco

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Neemrana Fort-Palace – Rajasthan, India

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Tahiti

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Maldives

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Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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Keukenhof Park – Lisse, Holland

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Dubai Miracle Garden

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Santorini, Greece

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Mont-Saint-Michel – Normandy, France

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Waikiki, Hawai’i

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Ashikaga Flower Park – Ashikaga, Japan

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Desert Camping – Wadi Rum, Jordan

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Purple Garden – Kyoto, Japan

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The Swallow’s Nest Castle – Gaspra, Ukraine

-Karen Bahri

Escape the Summer Heat for an Arctic Paradise!

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Escape the Summer Heat for an Arctic Paradise!

Is the heat of the summer starting to get to you? Are you ALREADY tired of walking outside and feeling like you are walking into a sauna?! I meannn — not meee — but everyone around me seems to already be complaining. Double Womp! Anyways, here’s a cool story to take your mind off the heat —

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Northern Sweden’s ICEHOTEL was the world’s first hotel made of snow and ice when it opened back in 1989. Now, after yearssss of being built and rebuilt each winter, northern Sweden’s ICEHOTEL 365 will be the first frozen accommodation to stay open year-round!

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The tiny Swedish locality of Jukkasjärvi, which happens to be 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, was decided to be the perfect location for the 20-suite hotel, art gallery, and bar, constructed completely of  ice, which opened December 1st, 2016.

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The hotel’s interiors, conceptualized by a handpicked collection of international designers, include ice-sculpted suites ranging from 323–430 square feet built on reinforced pillars. Using a solar-powered cooling technology is what helps make all the magic happen!

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While nine suites are deluxe and eleven art-driven, each room is carved as bespoke artwork with wacky names like Hydro Smack and Oh Deer! As if this wasn’t tempting enough, the midnight sun shines for 100 consecutive days, making it possible to catch a glimpse of the mystical Northern Lights from September until late March!

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ICEHOTEL has been built to a fresh blueprint each year, using 5,000 tons of ice taken from the nearby River Torne in the spring and cold-stored over the summer.

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Sections of the hotel will continue to melt and be rebuilt as usual — meaning there will still be fresh new icy artworks for guests to enjoy each year! You will def have the coolest Instagram pics! So if you dare take up the challenge, this is definitely worth the chilly adventure!

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-Karen Bahri

The Absolute BEST New Resort in the Maldives!!!

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The Absolute BEST New Resort in the Maldives!!!

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If you know ANYTHING about me, you know the Maldives is on my top 3 (I say 3 but really 2 hah!) destinations on my list in the world!!! There are a few places I will always jump back to in conversation as my dream destination..and well, now we have another reason to go….

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A new 5-star, exclusive luxury resort has opened up this past November by the Soneva team called Soneva Jani.

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This is the third property by them that has pioneered around-the-clock butler service, a strong environmental code and a determination to disconnect from the noisy outside world (guests are asked to remove their shoes on arrival, which are then slipped into a linen bag until their departure; how relaxingly fancy!).

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The island lagoon of Soneva Jani will comprise of 57 villas – 24 water villas and 23 beach villas. All the villas will enjoy all the amenities of the resort, and each would get their own personal butler, as the same in all Soneva Properties, called Mr./Mrs. Friday.

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Each Water Villa will feature an amazing water slide and private pool, large lounge areas with open views on the blue, ample wooden decks, kids’ sleeping area, a living area with sunken seats, top floor with seating and a dining area as well as several other amazing living spaces.

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Among these, what you are not going to get enough of is the waterslide!!!!! YES, you can SLIDE your way to the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean!!!!! As if a private pool isn’t enough!

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The amenities for the beach villas are more or less the same, and all guests can enjoy the resort’s exclusive amenities.

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Soneva Jani Resort has a cinema, Cinema Paradiso, which is the first overwater silent cinema in the Maldives!

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Guests are provided with Bluetooth headphones, leaving the surrounding nesting wildlife at peace. The resort also includes the first ever over-water observatory, a beach restaurant, a spa, and a water and sports center.

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Inspired by a word that means ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani encompasses a collection of Water Villas and Island Sanctuaries set within a lagoon of crystal clear waters, fringed by pristine beaches and blanketed in lush tropical greenery. The highlight of the islands that the resort is surrounded by 5.6 kilometers of private lagoon! An awe-inspiring azure spectacle that inspires a sense of calm.

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The resort can be reached by a scenic 40 minute seaplane flight direct from Male International Airport.

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Already making headlines in the hospitality industry, it’s not surprising if Soneva Jani will make it as one of the must-visit luxury resorts in the world!

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-Karen Bahri

 

Mumbai’s First ever Floating restaurant!

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Mumbai’s First ever Floating restaurant!

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If you think you don’t have enough reasons to go to Mumbai, I’ll give a very good one! The first ever FLOATING restaurant recently launched in the city! You heard me – F-L-O-A-T-I-N-G!

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AB Celestial is the first ever Floating restaurant in Mumbai. Designed and imported from the US, it entails a three-tier luxury dining floatel with a sky deck, two galleys and a capacity to accommodate a minimum of 660 guests across four tiers!

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Incase it wasn’t obvious, you get a 360 degree view of Mumbai and the Arabian Sea. The ground floor will include a 24 hour coffee shop where as the first floor will be banqueting. The second floor will be a high end lounge bar and the open terrace will be the sky lounge.

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Although it was launched back in 2014, it had not been open to public due to issues of permission. The flotal is docked at the Maharashtra Maritime Board’s jetty at Bandra under the Bandra-Worli Sea link.

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I know what you are thinking. What’s up with the name?? The “AB” stands for Aishwarya Bhende, the 21-year-old owner of the three-floor luxury dining yacht. She has designed the entire interiors for the yacht, and been involved with it since its inception!

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Imagine how incredibly serene watching sunset over the sea would be from the upper deck! From the wooden floors sparkling to perfection to the ambience and lighting, AB Celestial, especially after sunset, becomes Celestial!

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-Karen Bahri

Time to add this Rainbow colored Indonesian village to your Bucket List!

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Time to add this Rainbow colored Indonesian village to your Bucket List!

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Just when you thought the world was becoming dull and lifeless, you discover a rainbow colored village in Indonesia!

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There has been a colourful makeover in the town of Kampung Pelangi, which literally translates to “Rainbow Village”, in Randusari, Indonesia. It’s bringing in tourists in flocks – and it’s all for a great cause!

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The town, originally called Kampung Wonosari, is home to 223 houses which have all recently been painted a minimum of three bright colors and decked out with fun, artistic murals which are so much fun to pose against and post up all over your instagram page! It’s an artists paradise!

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All this color has been provided thanks to funding from the government, who were hoping to banish it’s slum status as well as boost the tourism to the area. It’s certainly working, Instagram is filled with pictures of travellers in front of the colourful buildings and giant murals with their fun and creative poses!

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This project has greatly increased the economy in the village and has turned it from a slum to a thriving tourist destination you should definately add to your bucket list!

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-Karen Bahri

The Land of Legends

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The Land of Legends

Imagine staying at a beautiful hotel that had the works – spa, shopping, fitness center, pool, restaurants, wifi, ect. Imagine all that with a theme park included!!!

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The Land of the Legends Theme Park is a unique concept that effortlessly blends all the aspects of a vacation into one!

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The hotel itself is custom designed with whimsical touches of fantasy to reflect the tales that have inspired the experience at the parks. Featuring a 5D Cinema throughout, which offers guests a really unique, multi-sensory experience!

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The park includes thrilling as well as more relaxed rides as well. From waterslides to rollercoasters. There’s even a dolphin show! They even have a mini Ocean called the “Wave Shock”. Prepare to get your splash on! There’s definately something for everyone!

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Semi-Olympic indoor pool and Kids Pool are also available. Custom-designed guest rooms and suites offer dual-screen LED TVs and Play Stations as well!

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The hotel’s spa provides holistic therapies and massages, Turkish Bath and fitness facilities. Aqua park offers a complimentary access to adrenaline-pumping rides and relaxed explorations including 55 water slides. There are also concerts held here, as well as premium shopping and spectacular views atop the Legends Tower! You can also swim with the dolphins or go snorkling.

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There is also a 24-hour front desk, valet parking service and gift shop as well at the property.

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Land of the Legend will cater to every traveler, presenting a spectacularly curated serious of luxury, lifestyle and entertainment! Child friendly, so bring your kids or bring out your inner child! Definitely worth looking into if traveling to Antalya and you’re looking for something out of the box, exciting and full of adventure!!

-Karen Bahri

Travel back to 1910 England at the Black Country Living Museum!

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Travel back to 1910 England at the Black Country Living Museum!

I just returned from the UK and all I have to say about that was it was cold! Didn’t get to really do much unfortunately but I did get a chance to go to the Black Country Living Museum! It was actually a surprise and I didn’t know where I was being taken, and once we got there, I was explained in full detail of what exactly it was, because for an American, the name doesn’t really sound like what it actually is about! Haha!

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The Black Country Living Museum is an open-air museum of rebuilt historic buildings in Dudley in the West Midlands of England. It is located in the center of the Black Country conurbation, 10 miles west of Birmingham  (England’s 2nd largest city). The museum occupies 105,000 square meters (26 acres) of former industrial land partly reclaimed from a former railway goods yard, disused lime kilns and former coal pits.

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The Museum opened to the public in 1978, and has since added over 50 shops, houses and other industrial buildings from around the Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton (collectively known as the Black Country); mainly in a specially built village. Most buildings were relocated from their original sites to form a base from where demonstrators portray life spanning 300 years of history, with a focus on 1850-1950.

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The museum is close to the site where Thomas Dudley first mastered the technique of smelting iron with coal instead of wood charcoal and making iron enough for industrial use. Claimed to be “the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution”, the Black Country is famous for its wide range of midsteel-based products from nails to the anchor and anchor chain for the Titanic. I actually saw them make a nail!

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The site’s coal mining heritage is shown by an underground drift and colliery surface buildings. I was asked several times if I wanted to go inside the tunnel as you can but you have to wear the hardhat and it’s dark and creepy. I’m not so fussed about the dark and creepy part but more so about wearing the hat and getting hat hair! Lol! INSTEADDD..I really enjoyed peaking inside all of the home and seeing whst typical homes looked like back in the day!

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Another cool section of the museum was the theme park, or “fun fair” as they say in the UK! With old school rides, slides, swings and candy. Btw they call Cotton Candy “Candy Floss” lol.

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Oh yes, there was a tiny corner barn too, filled with pigs and chicken. 🐖🦃20170412_141145 20170412_141156

In addition to the barnyard crew, there were a couple garages filled with antique cars! What a treat!

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One thing I forgot to mention is the accent in this area is very different and distinct! Definately hard to understand for us “yanks” lol but fun to hear and it took me back to watching those disney christmas films from old school England (you know, Scrooge McDuck!!! Duhhhh!!) Here are a few more pics for you to enjoy! This museum is definitely worth the visit if you enjoy history and traditional village settings! I definately say check it out if you are ever up around the west midlands!

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-Karen Bahri