Tag Archives: Tourism

Burano pt#2 – Colorful Canals!

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Burano pt#2 – Colorful Canals!

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-Karen Bahri

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Burano, Veneto, Italia pt.1 – Street Beats

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Burano, Veneto, Italia  pt.1 – Street Beats

February 22, 2017 I wrote a post on a tiny little island which is situated not too far from Venice, Italy. Check it out here:

https://karenskaleidoscope.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/burano-italy-walking-through-a-kaleidoscope-of-colours/

A week ago – I was there! I actually almost forgot about it until this winter when my friend was doing this great, big Euro tour and she actually went to the island (assuming my article inspired her, I am sure it did 😁) She told me how magical this little place in the world is and how she would love to retire there – I completely agree with her!

You can check out my article above in regards to some facts and info about Burano. Since I probably took around 6748 pics, I’m going to try my best to categorize them as best as I can. I’ll start off with street pics and whatever randomness I can’t think of a category for.

The funniest part of Burano, is there is another neighboring island, known for its handcrafted glassware, called Murano. So when I was asking directions, etc, the locals would be like BOOOOrano? or (however you say “or” in Italiano. Note to those traveling to Italy, learn some Italian first. OMG!) MOOOOOOrano lol.

Burano is simply stunning and you honestly – HONESTLY will NOT find another place like this IN THE WORLD!!! The colors!! and just the character. You will find laundry hanging from ropes outside peoples windows, lovely flower pots outside windows, etc so Italian style!!! You will see bikes, and just households daily “things” but to us it’s so rustic, intricate and has so much character. When I first arrived, I caught myself at every corner shrieking because every corner was SOOO CUTE. I walked along quiet corners to hear TV’s blasting from inside homes. I was actually curious to know if people actually lived on this island or if it was just for show. Some little 20 year old kid at a shop told me yes, people live there. He lived there. So I asked to him, since he is only 20 and most 20 year olds I know like to go out, party, go crazy and live life lol.. he responded something, but like most people I ran into in Italy, their English wasn’t the best so I couldn’t understand him. So that’s still a mystery! I think he misunderstood me though and told me neighboring islands good for partying. Since that wasn’t what I asked and I wasn’t really bothered anymore lol I just nodded and said “that’s great!” 😝

Unfortunately I had to catch the boat back, because it takes about an hour or so to get back to Venice, so I couldn’t catch the sunset, which I hear is worth a view – but I WILL be returning within the next few years, and will catch it!

Burano was hands down my favorite part of my travels from the past two weeks!!!!

Enough words – let’s let the photos do the talking. Since I took around 39426 pics, I’m creating groups based on categories. Here are the ones categorized as “random/backstreets” – I will follow up with the others.

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view from the boat as we arrived onto Burano

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I learned how to use a selfie stick during this day as well! My life is complete LOL

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~Karen Bahri

Three Must See Hidden Gems in Turkey

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Three Must See Hidden Gems in Turkey

Turkey is a country I am so not done with! Although (through my experience) Turkish airlines will most likely have you experience delays of 3-5 hours, but oddly enough, still get you to Istanbul Ataturk Airport at said time (which is 10 hours from New York) I kid you not – lol!

Next time you decide to visit this stunningly beautiful and culturally rich country, you definitely should take the path less travelled and check out these 3 hidden gems within the country:

BUTTERFLY VALLEY

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The coastline of Turkey is usually bustling with tourists and luxury resorts. On the contrary, the Butterfly Valley (or Kelebekler Vadisi in Turkish) is serene, untouched and completely secluded.

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Located in the south of Turkey on the west coast, the valley is only accessible via water taxi or boat. So picturesque, you will find majestic waterfalls, a wide beautiful beach with turquoise water so clear and calm it looks like a painting, treehouses, magical sunsets and forests that appear straight out of a fairytale all tucked away in the valley, waiting to be discovered by its explorers.

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It’s no surprise that the valley, rich in flora and fauna, takes its name from the large number of butterfly species found here.

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Butterflies of many varieties in a wide range of colors can be observed in the valley between June and September.

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ISHAK PASHA PALACE

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Located in the isolated region of Dogubeyazit, this palace is a striking example of rare historical Turkish palaces. It is one of the most distinguished and magnificent examples of the 18th century Ottoman architecture and is very valuable in terms of art history. According to the top of the door inscription at the Harem Section, it was constructed in 1784, according to the Islamic calendar.

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The palace, set on a hill, is grandeur in many ways than one; it has several rooms and courtyards just waiting for a glance. Ä°shak Pasha Palace stands at a desolate valley today and the fact that it was the subject of various legends and stories add to its magnificent atmosphere some colour and mystery. It’s haunting beauty will definately allure you, and the view from the palace is a striking bonus!

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Entrance from the outer to inner courtyard

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Inner courtyard

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DERINKUYU UNDERGROUND CITY

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The deepest underground city in Cappadocia, this ancient city was built during the Byzantine era between 780-1180 AD, when it was heavily used as protection from Muslim Arabs during the Arab–Byzantine wars. The city was connected with other underground cities through miles of tunnels. At a depth of more than 250 feet with a capacity of up to 20,000 people, this multi-leveled city, with over 600 entrances, contained everything an entire population would need to survive a history riddled with invasions. The tunnels were rediscovered in 1963, after a resident of the area found a mysterious room behind a wall in his home.

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~Karen Bahri

The World’s Must See, most Breathtaking Sunsets

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The World’s Must See, most Breathtaking Sunsets

A sunset is magical almost anywhere you view one, but there are a few worthy of a trek to see in person, that the camera lens will never, ever be able to justify.

Fun Fact: The incredible thing about sunsets is that no sunset is ever the same twice. Even the same sunset on the same day at the same time can bring a completely different experience depending on where you’re at. Sunsets are one of life’s consistencies; they happen every day. Yet they’re always a surprise. Perhaps that’s why they’re so magical. So magical that they can inspire travelers to see them in various locations around the world. Some are even worthy of trekking for days to find the perfect viewing spot!

HAWAII
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Travelers know that Hawaii is blessed with the most magnificent sunsets in the world! Naturally, the beach is a classic place to see good sunsets. But you can also have sunsets delivered right to your room if you stay in the right resort.

PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO

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Puerto Vallarta is notorious for their beautiful, vibrant sunsets. Almost all of the resorts there have ocean-facing rooms, perfect for enjoying the sunset from your room’s balcony.

MASAI MARA, KENYA

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Masai Mara National Reserve is an area of preserved savannah wilderness in southwestern Kenya. The landscape has grassy plains and rolling hills, and is crossed by the Mara and Talek rivers, great for safaris! Masai Mara is well-known for having the best photographic light in the world, not stopping the incredible colours which vary greatly from hot pink to vivid yellow to a dark burnt orange.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA

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Perth enjoys some of the world’s most spectacular sunsets! The novelty of watching the sun sink into the Indian Ocean is not to be underestimated! Park yourself down at one of the city’s beaches (Cottesloe is a great choice!) and prepare yourself for the show.

ISLE OF SKYE, UK

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Perhaps the most dramatic place to watch the sun set in the UK, the Isle of Skye combines perfectly a sense of mystery with the beauty that is synonymous with sunsets all around the world.

WADI RUM, JORDAN

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Jordan is the land of wonders and unforgettable adventures – a glorious country with a timeless book that unfolds magical stories of history, people and nature. One of the most breathtaking occurances in Jordan is the sunset.

SEMINYAK, BALI

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Bali is not only known for its culture, stunning landscape and temples but also snorkelling, beaches and of course sunsets. It’s a little piece of heaven in an already heavenly space! La Plancha beach shack is a fun, colorful spot where many enjoy watching the colours splash around the sky!

TAJ MAHAL, INDIA

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The beauty of one of India’s most iconic landmarks is even more heighten with the soft glow of the sunset. A magical sight to behold surrounding the magic of the Taj Mahal.

SANTORINI, GREECE

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This volcanic island is known to us for its stunning sunsets, dramatic views and white villages. It feels like you are in heaven and naturally would like to stay here forever.

CLIFFS OF MOHER, IRELAND

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Cliffs Of Moher are probably one of the most visited spots in Ireland. This unique natural beauty is a must to see any time of the day but is worth to hang there and wait for the sunset – Weather permitting of course. 🙂

BORACAY, PHILIPPINES

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Borocay is one of the most popular islands on the Philippines. It’s a given that as beautiful as the beaches are here in the day, the evening sky is nothing but insane! The sky literally looks like it’s fire! So many colors span across the sky.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

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Cape Town sunset is on the top of MANY lists simply because it is claimed many have not witnessed anything so beautiful. Every summer evening the sky puts a show that needs no filter or edits! It is hard to believe how colourful the sky can become in this part of the world.

 

Every sunrise and every sunset is so spectacular and incredible you will never forget any of them. There is something magical about sunsets, and we can’t get tired of seeing them. Every sunset is different and the moment of the evening sun turning the sky to a colourful painting is definitely worth looking forward to!

~Karen Bahri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experience an Unforgettable Sunrise on a Hot Air Balloon ride in Melbourne!

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Experience an Unforgettable Sunrise on a Hot Air Balloon ride in Melbourne!

Image gliding through the open sky during sunrise on a hot air balloon over an incredibly gorgeous city. Sound appealing? Melbourne, Australia is where you need to go to for this truly world-class, unforgettable experience!

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There are few major cities around the world where you can traverse by hot air balloon; and there’s no better way to see the world’s most livable city.

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Sail the breeze besides sparkling skyscrapers and follow the Yarra River as it unwinds through parks and gardens.

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For an hour, it’s just you and the sky. This is what freedom feels like! You have nowhere else in the world to be but here! Just as Melbourne is waking up, you could already be crossing something off your bucket list!

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The ride offers a complete 365 degree view of the city at it’s glamorous, which is perfect for sightseeing landmarks such as Eureka Tower, MCG and Port Philip Bay.

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Eureka Tower

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Port Philip Bay

The baskets include cushioning around the inside for comfort as well as rope handles when in the landing position.

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The ballons provide a safe, comfortable experience which meets the standards of CASA. Usually up to 5 balloons are flown at any one time over Melbourne.

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Each basket can hold a 10 passengers but children under the age of 7 years old are unable to fly due to safety regulations.

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So if you are looking for a once in a lifetime adventure that gives you a peek at city life from a totally different angle, then ballooning over Melbourne is a must! If such risks are just not your thing and you prefer being safe and sound on the ground, it still is something to go check out for some nice photography for the gram!

 

-Karen Bahri

ValparaĂ­so – ChilĂ©’s city of artists!

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ValparaĂ­so – ChilĂ©’s city of artists!

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A short two hours, but worlds away, from Santiago lies a secret ChilĂ© would like to keep to itself. No frills here – it’s dirty, dusty and there’s not much to do; which might be why many are so drawn to this little port town.

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ValparaĂ­so, which means ‘Paradise Valley’ in Spanish, is a vibrant port city on Chilé’s coast.

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The city is known for its steep funiculars and colorful clifftop homes. It’s gritty but authentic, and can be described as a city with an edgy air of ‘anything goes.’

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Although Santiago is more widely known,Valparaíso is more popular to some visitors due to its historic faded beauty of its chaotic cerros (hills), some of the best street art in Latin America, a maze of steep, sinuous streets, alleys and its escaleras (stairways) which are piled high with crumbling mansions.

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Poets, painters and philosophers have long been drawn to ChilĂ©’s most unusual city.

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An artist named Pablo Neruda, who became completely inspired by this hard-working port town, said it best when he said: ‘ValparaĂ­so, how absurd you are
you haven’t combed your hair, you’ve never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you.’

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Poetry and art decorate the walls, from large scale murals to little hidden-away pieces. Graffiti plays a large part in making sections of the city very colorful and enticing – it’s as if there is a free art gallery that adds a new exhibit to its collection every day!

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You can spend a few sunny days and many lost hours wondering and exploring the small cobbled streets and winding roads.

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The best time to visit would be the start of spring, which, since they are in the southern hemisphere starts in October. In Valparaiso, the first few days of October are celebrated with the Mil Tambores festival, and traditional dancers, markets, free concert and street parties take over the city!

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Take note though – on the last day of the festivities, it all goes a little bit crazy (picture Carnival-style) Nakedness, painted bodies, debauchery by the beach, lots of booze and crowds! Its basically Carnival Latino style!

Lastly, if you are like me, and always looking for a beach – a day-trip to Viña del Mar is definitely something you can do!

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Popular with the wealthier Santiaguinos, Viña del Mar has a bit of a resort feel as well as some of the best nightlife in town. Coming here will make you feel like you are actually on a relaxing holiday away from the chaos!

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-Karen Bahri

Boulder Beach

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Boulder Beach

Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town, which is right outside Cape Town, is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Ancient granite boulders protect from the wind (it gets a tad blowy in the middle of the day!) large waves, and soft sand make for the ideal swimming spot for adults and children alike.

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Because it falls under the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, the beach is always clean and safe. It’s rarely crowded, which comes at the cost of a small conservation fee. This small fee is definitely worth it for the luxury of a clean, stunning beach! You don’t want to be disappointed on a beach day in this South African paradise!

Looks alone will definitely draw crowds to this beach, and yes, Cape Town definitely has no shortage of stunning beaches, but Boulders Beach in False Bay has an extra special treat for beach bums – PENGUINS!

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Yes! There is a colony of African Penguins in all their smartly dressed tuxedos, waddling gloriously on the white sand. In fact, they are the only penguins found on the ENTIRE continent and currently, there are only 26,000 breeding pairs left in the whole world!

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Unfortunately the African Penguin has been classified as an endangered species – due to over-fishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and irresponsible tourism activities. The Boulders Beach colony has also felt the effect, as numbers have been dwindling over the last couple of years.

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Unfortunately as well, they are also widely known as the “jackass” penguin for its donkey-like bray. I don’t know how you could have the nerve to call these cute little tuxedoed out creatures such a name! They only grow up to 4.9-7.7 lbs!!

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Another fun feature is they have pink (!) glands above their eyes, which are used for thermoregulation. The hotter the penguin gets, the more blood is sent to these glands so it may be cooled by the surrounding air, thus making the glands more pink!

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Something to keep in mind if you decide to go for a visit – do not try to feed or get too close to the penguins. Boulders Beach is one of the few sites where this vulnerable bird can be observed at close range, but they are wandering freely in a protected natural environment.

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While they may look cute, they’re still wild animals with razor sharp beaks. If you decide to approach them , they will think you are trying to harm them, so they will attack! Don’t risk it!

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Personally, I am not a huge animal fan at all lol (you are probably like “I do not understand why this girl is writing about animals, she hates them!” – haha) that being said, yes, to your surprise, I do think some animals are cute – FROM AFAR, but please don’t touch or come anywhere close to me!!! So these rules I appreciate 🙂 HA!

-Karen Bahri

 

When plans of a joyful Fun Park turns Eerie…

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I wish I discovered this around Halloween time – Although, any time of the year is a great time for a ghost story 🙂

Picture this : An empty castle, unfinished rides and an eerie fountain that still runs…

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There is an amusement park” nestled in a remote region of the Philippines. Initially created to bring over some Disneyland magic into the Philippines when it was built in 2001. But – it was never finished…

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Named Fantasy World and located on a hill overlooking the countryside of a town called Batangas, which is a four-hour drive from Manilla.

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It was once owned by a Japanese businessman who was forced to abandon construction when he ran into financial troubles. Its grounds are now maintained by a homeowner’s association.

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The park contains what would have been a beautiful medieval style castle; now empty with the walls somewhat peeling off. There is also a large central fountain and rides, currently of various faded colors, standing still surrounding the park.

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One of the highlights of the park is actually creaky, creepy treehouse with a spiral staircase wrapped with vines.

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There were big dreams for this park! Maybe one day it will come alive again – until then, it’s great for the spook-lovers; and interesting enough, the park IS open to visitors for a small fee. The lawns are kept perfectly manicured and lush in a somewhat ghostly fashion.

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-Karen Bahri

 

The most festive Christmas trees around the world!

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The most festive Christmas trees around the world!

From classic, to quirky and the absolute most festive, these are the most spectacular, sparkly, most Christmas-y Christmas trees worth traveling the world to see!

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Head over to The Victoria & Albert Museum in London and check out the Singing Tree. Visitors can contribute words to construct the audio-visual installation, which also features an ensemble of digital and human voices.

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Wembley Park, London

While you are still in the UK, head to London’s Wembley Park’s Slideatron attraction for an interactive tree experience. This Tetris-inspired tree has a pulsing light show every hour with a slide in its core.

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Disney Christmas Tree,St.Pancras Station, London

This eye-catcher is stuffed with fluffy toys 45 feet high!

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Murano Christmas Tree, Venice, Italy

Every year, the Natale di Vetro, or Christmas in Glass hosts an elegant Christmas tree entirely made of Murano glass.

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Jbeil Christmas Tree, Byblos, Lebanon

With a 40.4% Christian population, Lebanon has certainly made it to the big league of the most beautiful Christmas trees of all times.

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Osaka, Japan

Just earning it’s title in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most lights on an artificial tree! Osaka’s tree boasts 550, 000 bulbs.

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Vatican City, Rome, Italy

The Pope’s Christmas spruce standing tall next to the life-size Nativity Scene in  is simple, yet stunning!

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Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Floating on a barge in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, the Brazilian Christmas tree makes a spectacular appearance on a background of a dazzling show of fireworks.

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Sao Paulo, Brazil

Head to Ibirapuera Park to view this spectacular 35 meter gem!

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Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This spectacular hologram tree that floats, rotates, and changes color above the Rijksmuseum’s public atrium.

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Vilnius, Lithuania

The stunning Christmas tree in Vilnius, Lithuania’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town is draped with more than 70,000 layers of colorful lights.
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Chatsworth House, England

Chatsworth really gets into the Christmas spirit! The Chatsworth House is the place to be if you love the Nutcracker, and the beautiful tree is the icing on the cake!

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Cairns, Queensland, Australia

With Summer falling in December in Australia, the city of Cairns illuminates a large fig tree instead of the more traditional pine, spruce or fir.
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Dortmund, Germany

The traditional Christmas market in Dortmund, Germany houses one of the world’s tallest holiday trees. This tree is made up of more than 1,000 smaller fir trees topped off with a 13-foot-tall angel.

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Galeries Lafayette, Paris

Many guests come just for the Galeries Lafayette’s highly anticipated shop window displays, but the soaring, whimsical tree under the department store’s famous dome is also a must see.

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Tokyo, Japan

A glittering wire-and-light tree shines across from Tokyo’s picturesque Rainbow Bridge, on Tokyo Bay.
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Sendai, Japan

ALL the trees in Sendai, Japan get decorated for the holidays, setting the whole city aglow.
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St. Petersburg, Russia

The lace-like design of the decorations on the Palace Square Christmas tree in St. Petersburg look especially dreamy when it’s snowing.

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Turin, Italy

Lights and metal – not pine needles – form the sophisticated and colorful tree erected in Turin, Italy’s Piazza Castello.
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Rockafeller Center, New York 

Last, but certainly not least – My city’s pride and joy!

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This list should definitely get you in the festive holiday mood as well as motivate you to book a last minute trip! Happy Holidays!

-Karen Bahri

Alacati, Izmir, Turkey – add this to your bucket list!

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Alacati, Izmir, Turkey – add this to your bucket list!

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Alaçatı is a unique Mediterranean town on Turkey’s ÇeƟme Peninsula, on the Aegean Sea. It’s known for its beaches, old stone houses, narrow cobblestone streets, vineyards and windmills.

 

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Alacati made its name in the world of windsurfing and kitesurfing, with its crystal clear water and consistently steady wind for over 150 years now. The Professional Windsurfing Association (PWA) Windsurfing World Cup is held here every year in August.

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What stands out the most about Alacati is that it is largely undiscovered outside Turkey, yet, many Turks, including several national celebrities, spend their holidays to escape the more touristy scene in Bodrum.

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Quiet and sleep a beach town it lays by day, but Alacati buzzes at night!

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The pictures do all the talking. Definitely something to consider adding to your 2018 travel itinerary!

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The best time to plan a trip is from the end of April through May or from September through October, when temperatures are still high (reaching over 20C), and prices are at their best value.

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-Karen Bahri