Tag Archives: Picturesque

A peak inside the Gem of Zanzibar – Stone Town!

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A peak inside the Gem of Zanzibar – Stone Town!

Stone Town is not just any town – it’s a delight for the senses not to be found anywhere else in the world!

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Stone Town is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa. Also known as Mji Mkongwe (Swahili for “old town”), it is located in the old part of Zanzibar City, which is the main city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania.

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Its architecture, which mostly dates back to the 19th century, has STORIES to tell, as it reflects the diverse influences of Swahili culture – yet also giving a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements.

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The buildings are honestly a feast for the eyes, despite their deteriorating condition. That only adds charm and character to the entire painting! Stone town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 due to it’s distinct archetecture.

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The most well-known feature of Zanzibari houses are the finely decorated wooden doors.

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You won’t find these giant wooden masterpieces anywhere else in the world! Elaborately carved with astonishing detail, the heavy doors in Stone Town are quintessentially ‘Zanzibar’, and served as a valuable glimpse into the homeowner’s place of origin, profession and economic status.

For example, the Indian doors were crafted by skilled tradesmen out of imported teak. The large brass studs have their origins in India, where they were once used as a defense against charging war elephants. In Stone Town, however, they were used only as decorative pieces and symbolic markers of wealth.

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Arab doors have intricately crafted frames with Arabic inscriptions at the top. The chain, lotus and pineapple are common and culturally significant motifs.

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The heart of Stone Town consists of a maze of narrow alleys lined by houses, shops, bazaars and mosques. The streets bustle along with bicycles and motorbikes as they are too narrow for cars. Stone Town can easily be explored on foot.

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Of course, the beaches in Zanzibar are RAVISHING, but this UNESCO World Heritage Site is definitely worth a stroll at some point during your holiday in which you feel like exploring. Trust me, it’s worth it – It is utterly captivating!

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I hope this has given you a good glimpse of a little town you may never have even heard of! Stone Town has an interesting history. Everything about this place will make you feel alive – from the melting pot of African, Arab, Indian and European cultures; the vivid shades of every color imaginable; the textures; the vibrant energy of the seafront and markets; and the locals who greet you with a “jambo!” (hello) and “karibu” (welcome) everyday!

To add to your itinerary, if you have been following me for a while, almost a year ago I wrote about the most unusual and amazing place to check out on the Indian Ocean off Zanzibar (which got a lot of buzz, thank you muah!). You can check that here:

https://karenskaleidoscope.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/the-rock-a-luxurious-fairytale-in-the-indian-ocean/

And OF COURSE I’m sure the main reason for your holiday would be for the astonishing beaches, with a day or so excursion to Stone Town, so I don’t want you to forget what that beautiful pond looks like 😁 —–>

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-Karen Bahri

 

 

 

 

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Best places to catch the Most Beautiful Sunsets in the World

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Best places to catch the Most Beautiful Sunsets in the World

 

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I love sunsets! I love taking pics of sunsets! I love sunrises! I love taking pics of sunrises! Basically, I love a pretty sky. Read on for your guide to where in the world you are guaranteed to catch a colorful, beautiful, picturesque and awe-inspiring sunset.

OIA, SANTORINI, GREECE

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Well if this wasn’t a given! Santorini, known for its distinctive white and blue architecture, is one of the most beautiful places in the world! The sunset can be captured perfectly as the village of Oia is set on a rugged Cliffside giving onlookers the perfect spot to watch the sun as it reflects on the crisp white buildings and then sets into the Aegean Sea.

IPANEMA BEACH, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

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The sunset is so stunning in Ipanema because it sets behind the rocky hillsides that border the coast. One of the best places in Rio to watch the sunset is Arpoador Rock which is located between Copacabana and Ipanema. Arpoador juts out into the ocean giving you an unobstructed view to the west along Ipanema beach. You will be in awe as the sun dips into the Gulf of Mexico in a magnificent array of pink and orange!

NORTH CAPE, FINNMARK, NORWAY

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North Cape, Norway is so far north it’s nearly in the Arctic Circle! Therefore during the summer, the sun hardly ever sets. Visitors can take in the midnight sun (the sun that sets just to the horizon, but never fully sets. OMG huge on my bucketlist!!!!) Seeing this strange sunset phenomenon can be a once in a lifetime experience!

AO KAO BEACH, KOH MAK, THAILAND

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Located in Trat Province in Thailand, Koh Mak is world famous for its stunning sunsets. Koh Mak features idyllic, serene nature with no skyscrapers or cityscape to obscure the sky, making the nightly setting sun into the horizon an unforgettable experience!

BAGAN, MYANMAR

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If you’re looking to snap a few dramatic sunset photos, head to Bagan, Myanmar’s Valley of Temples. Each night as the sun drops low in the sky, it lights up the outlines of more than 2000 ancient temples, pagodas, and monasteries that have sat in the Valley for a thousand years! There are so many locations throughout Bagan to capture stunning sunset views. You may also wish to snap photos of the sacred Buddhist and Hindu temples at dusk, but for a birds-eye view book a hot air balloon ride over the Valley.

ULURU, AUSTRALIA

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Uluru, or as some call it Ayers Rock, undergoes a dramatic transformation each night when the sun sets over the Australian outback. The rock cuts a striking silhouette across the sky as the sun paints it golden, deep red, orange and other hues before it turns black under the cover of night. Hike to the top of the dunes for a stunning view of Uluru and the nearby ancient rock formations known as Kata Tjuta.

THE AZORES, PORTUGAL

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The lovely islands that make up the Azores archipelago sit off the coast of Portugal in a nearly empty stretch of the Atlantic Ocean that allows for unobstructed views of the water, sky, and brilliant sunsets! Spread across 374 miles, this autonomous region of Portugal offers endless opportunities for soaking up the last rays of the sun.

MILOVAIG, ISLE OF SKYE, UK

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The Isle of Skye is an island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. While the entire island offers a stunning view of the sun setting, one of the best spots to catch it is the pier at Milovaig, which offers onlookers a multi-colored, breathtaking scene.

DIAMOND HEAD, HONOLULU, HAWAII

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Nearly anywhere on Oahu is a great place to catch a sunset, but climb up Diamond Head, which is a volcano and state monument, and you’ll be able to catch the gorgeous setting sun over legendary Waikiki beach.

TAJ MAHAL, AGRA, INDIA

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I love my India! It is incredible. Everything about the Taj Mahal is beautiful – everything. It has become an international destination to visit at dusk, because of the beautiful sunsets that occur behind it and the stunning colors that reflect around the building. hashtag colorful india #colorfulindia #colourtheworld #sunsets

 

-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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Stilt Fishing – a unique attraction on the shores of Sri Lanka!

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Stilt Fishing – a unique attraction on the shores of Sri Lanka!

Stilt fishing is a method of fishing unique to the island of Sri Lanka. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole and driven into the sand a few meters offshore. From this high position, the fishermen casts their lines and wait until a fish comes along to be caught. One may assume this to be an ancient practice with an engaging history, but stilt fishing is actually a recent tradition.

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The practice is believed to have started some 70 years ago during World War II; when food shortages and overcrowded fishing spots prompted some clever men to try fishing on the water. At first they started fishing from wrecks of capsized ships and downed aircraft, then some began elevating their stilts in coral reefs. The skills were then passed on to at least two generations of fishermen living along a 30 km stretch of southern shore between the towns of Unawatuna and Weligama.

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The practice is unlikely to last much longer other than as a tourist attraction as the catch is pretty much always meager. The 2004 tsunami that devastated much of the Indian Ocean coastline forever altered the Sri Lankan shoreline and reduced access to fish using this method. Fishing also stops entirely during the annual monsoons. The best time is when the currents are flowing in the right direction; which is mostly between October and December during sunset. And the sunsets are as beautiful as ever, which makes for amazing photographs!

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Today, few fisherman are willing to pass their stilts to their sons, instead renting them to “actors” who pose as fishermen for photographers and tourists. Definately one of the many attractions to check out on the spectacular island of Sri Lanka!

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-Karen Bahri

Burano, Italy – walking through a Kaleidoscope of Colours!

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Burano, Italy – walking through a Kaleidoscope of Colours!
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Colorful Burano, Italy!

I know you all may be noticing a pattern on my last few posts, as well as some of my instagam photos so far this year. It’s all kind of collaging (or kaleiding hehe) into a huge “cute European village” type vibe. But hey! I’ve been discovering these places and they are toooo cuuuutttee not to share with my Kaleidoscopers, so why not, hey!

This time, I am taking you all to a little Island off the northern coast of Italy!

Grab some vino & leggo to BURANOOOOO!!! 

Burano is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, in northern Italy. Similar to Venice, it’s like an archipelago of four islands linked by bridges. The island is known for its chic lace work and brightly colored fisherman’s cottages!

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The island is situated 4 miles from Venice. You can take a “vaporetti”, which is a Venetian motorboat, and be there in about 40 minutes which adds to the thrill of visiting this vibrantly colorful, yet calm and happy place!

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The current population of Burano is about 2,800. There are many other small islands surrounding Burano as well, but out of them Burano has a high population density at more than 13,000 per square kilometer!That is more than twenty times the density of neighboring island, Mazzorbo. It’s also almost entirely covered by residential buildings, with very few small green areas.

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Burano’s small, brightly painted houses are popular among the artists circle. The colors of the houses follow a specific system originating from the golden age of its development. Therefore, if someone wishes to paint their home, they have to send a request to the government, who will respond by making notice of the certain colors permitted for that lot.

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Visiting this island is like stepping back in time. On the island’s meandering narrow streets, you will see laundry strung up between buildings, bicycles &  boats parked up, as well as many ladies sitting in the sun, chatting with their neighbors, while creating delicate Burano lace. Lace is part of the island’s history dating way back to around the 16th century.

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Don’t be fooled by the size of this charming little island! There is actually quiet a bit to do! The colorful houses and buildings make for a very picturesque, enjoyable stroll on these breathtaking streets and lots of brilliant photo taking! You can also  browse through one of the many lace shops, which some may be a bit on the pricier side, but definitely worth every penny.

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It’s key to note that while arriving in Burano, you will find yourself heading down a narrow street full of shops selling lace, including pretty umbrellas and fans. This after passing by one of the few green areas on the island, of course! These shops are highly attractive and very few people can manage to escape from this little street without being lured into one of the gorgeous shops full of colorful scarves, dresses and other such accessories and souvenirs.

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You can also pay a visit to the Museo del Merletto (Museum of Lacemaking). There are many lively shops, cafes, bars and even a cinema as well! As you wander across the many little bridges, you will notice the somewhat ominously leaning bell-tower of The Church of San Martino.

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The pictures alone speak for themselves – Burano is a charming, breathtaking  and enchanting island full of a kaleidoscope of colors for photography nuts and well worth the effort!

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-Karen Bahri