Tag Archives: world

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

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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

18 of the World’s Strangest town names

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18 of the World’s Strangest town names

Whenever I travel to England, my flight typically goes over Ireland (I’m the type to always have the map on to see where I am traveling over) and I always notice this one town name that makes me laugh – Kilkenny, Ireland. LOL! What a name! I recently met someone from Ireland and asked him if he’s ever been to Kilkenny. He told me it’s actually a very beautiful place! I couldn’t agree more.

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Here is a list of more odd city/town names around the world:

1. Rest and Be Thankful, Argyll and Butte, Scotland

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2. Moron, Mongolia

Fine. it’s actually “Mörön”

3. Silly, Belgium

The name of this town derives from its stream called the Sille (French) or Zulle (Dutch) and has no relation to the English world (But tell that to an American!)

4. Hot Coffee, Mississippi

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5. Egg, Austria

6. Eek, Alaska

7. Gogogogo, Madagascar

8. Disappointment Islands, French Polynesia

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Sparsely populated group of coral islands which are arid, and not especially conductive to human habitation.

9. Drama, Greece

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Dramatically stunning!

10. Monster, Netherlands

11. Christmas Pie, Surrey, England

12. Come By Chance, Canada

13. Chicken, Alaska

Chicken, Alaska is a community founded on gold mining and is one of the few surviving gold rush towns in Alaska.

14. Gofuku, Japan

15. Crapstone, UK

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16. China, Japan

Not to be confused with China, China 😛

17. Butthole Road, Doncaster, England

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Do you know anyone from there?!

and finally…

18. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales

Yes. A small village in Wales calls itself by a name with more letters than residents…

 

~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

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

Thailand’s Pattaya Floating Market!

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Thailand’s Pattaya Floating Market!

Thailand is a place high on my list of destinations I want to travel to! From the beaches to the bustling city life, the rich culture and tasty food all appeal greatly to me. Can’t forget the hot weather either!!!

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I recently discovered some information on the Pattaya Floating Market – yes, that’s correct! A bazaar over water! If Pattaya wasn’t beautiful enough, and if you wanted a little break from lounging on the beach this is definitely worth the experience!

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Pattaya Floating Market the biggest floating market in the world covering an area of 100,000sqm. The Floating Market is separated into four sections – each representing and selling items from the four major parts of Thailand (north, northeast, central and south). Expect to find many eateries, fruit stalls, souvenir shops and some art galleries.

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There is also a cultural show every afternoon, with such performances such as a classical dance, martial art demonstrations, as well as water boxing, where the fighters perform on a horizontal pole above the canal. Painters do show their artificial work, like umbrella and portrait painting. For those needing a little pampering, you can even get a traditional Thai massages, head or foot massage, facial, etc.

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The 350 million baht market has over 114 shops and water vendors selling authentic Thai food, desserts and specialties from all over the kingdom. Truly eye-catching are the small floating kitchens. With a lot of skill these vendors navigate, cook, serve drinks, offer snacks and make small meals all at once!

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For the ultimate floating market experience, hire a man-powered boat to get around and discover the richness of the surrounding Thai architecture and riverside life. Typically, the boat is big enough for four people and can be hired for a small fee for around 30 minutes. This definitely sounds like a fun once in a lifetime experience while traveling in Thailand! Everywhere you visit has it’s markets and bazaars filled with souvenirs, arts & crafts, shows and food, but a floating market you don’t run across very often!

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Entry fee is Baht 200 and the market is open 08:00 to 20:00 daily, with shops open 09:00 to 19:00. The market is not to far out of town and visitors can reach the market by buss, taxi or baht bus (song thaew).

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-Karen Bahri

Cabs around the World!

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Cabs around the World!

We all know how world famous the yellow cabs of NYC are! I don’t think people outside of New York know now about the lime green cabs that have popped up the past couple years – they are green to indicate they travel to the boroughs.

I discovered the reggaeton song “El Taxi” once when I went to Meheeko and it easily became my favorite reggaeton song. That’s justva random comment cuz it goes with the theme haha! And I’m not posting the video here because yeah and also, my Latina friend told me the lyrics have a double meaning so yeah yeah lol.

Anyways! I thought it would be fun to check out what the el taxi’s around other parts of the world look like! So here you go:

VIENNESE FIAKER

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Vienna is famous for its horse-drawn taxicabs, called Fiakers. Dating back to 1693, they are usually operated by family run companies and are part of the city’s rich heritage! Although today these traditional horse-drawn carriages are mainly used for weddings and ceremonies, a fiaker ride makes for a memorable, authentic experience for the visitor to the elegant Austrian capital!

INDIAN AUTO RICKSHAW

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India’s auto rickshaw provides visitors with the cheapest and most authentic traveling experience throughout the chaotic streets. It’s definately worth the experience to travel in one, as you will never experience anything else like it!

UK’S ICONIC BLACK CAB

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London’s black cabs are reputed as one of the world’s best taxis! It could be due to the fact that the origin of taxi can be traced back to 1605, which was when the first ever public hackney coach service for hire began operating in London.

THAILAND’S THREE WHEEL TUK TUK

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Taxis in Thailand come in various shapes and colors, but you can’t leave the country without experiencing the thrill of a tuk-tuk ride! Extremely popular in Bangkok and other Thai cities where traffic congestion is a serious problem, these exciting, three-wheeled vehicles, also called auto rickshaws, are a quick, fun way of getting around!

VICTORIA, CANADA’S H2O TAXI

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Victoria’s water taxis are so cute you’ll want to circle the harbor continuously! Launched by Victoria Harbour Ferry, the H2O Taxi service runs daily from March to October.

PHILLIPINES TRICYCLES

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Locally known as tricycles (traysikel in Filipino), auto rickshaws in the Philippines come in various shapes and styles. The most common design is a motorbike with a right sidecar. Nevertheless, you can always find a well-equipped Toyota taxicab in all major cities throughout the country!

CHINA’S SANLUNCHE

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Various types of taxis and auto rickshaws are used to transport passengers around China. A distinctive vehicle, however, is the sanlunche, a three-wheeled pedicab or cycle rickshaw introduced in 1950s to replace the pulled rickshaw.

MEXICO CITY’S BIKITAXI

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The bicitaxi (electric bike taxi) is a wonderful, eco-friendly alternative for transportation throughout Mexico City’s bustling downtown.

PARIS BIKE TAXI

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There are currently 4 companies offering bicycle taxi service in and around Paris. Although slow (about 13 km/hour), these chauffeur-driven electric bike taxis are an efficient and sustainable mean of transport. The French capital is also home to a couple of companies offering upscale motorcycle taxi services.

HONG KONG’S RED TAXI

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There are 3 types of taxis in Hong Kong, each painted a diverse color and serving different parts of the territory. The most common, however, is the red taxi, which can be found all over Hong Kong Island.

SPETSES ISLAND’S HORSE-DRAWN BUGGY

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On an island where cars are officially banned, horse-drawn buggies are the most pleasant and romantic way to travel around. Unfortunately, these beautiful one-horse carriages are only available in high season.

CAMBODIAN REMORQUE

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Consisting of a two-wheeled trailer pulled by a motorcycle, the Cambodian tuk-tuk, also known as a remorque, is still the most common form of urban transport. Tourists here can hire them together with the drivers, who also qualify as tourist guides.

DUBAI’S TRADITIONAL ABRA BOATS

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From the traditional to the modern, Dubai’s water taxis come in a variety of forms. One of the most charming, however, remains the old-fashioned wooden boat called abra. These traditional vessels have been used to transport people across the Dubai Creek ever since the 1700s.

LISBON’S TUK TUK

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In the last few years Lisbon has been invaded by Asian-inspired tuk tuk taxis. Nevertheless, these motorized, three-wheel vehicles painted in vibrant colors are a great alternative for tourist looking to explore the narrow, hilly streets of the city’s old neighborhoods.

SRI LANKA’S THREE-WHEELER

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Auto rickshaws, or three-wheelers, are a convenient way to move around a city in Sri Lanka. While some of them come with distance meters, the fare is usually negotiated with the driver. Either way, they’re fairly cheaper than typical taxis.

ISCHIA CLASSIC PIGGY

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The Italian island of Ischia is famous for its fun, traditional micro-taxis, derived from the legendary Piaggio Ape. Designed by the same engineer who created the Vespa, these quirky vehicles have provided a convenient means of transportation in post-World War II Italy and are still in use nowadays.

CUBA’S COCOTAXI

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Cuba’s traditional Cocotaxi is an auto rickshaw type of vehicle with three wheels and seats for two passengers. Popular in Havana, these cool cabs stand out for their peculiar coconut shape and bright yellow hue.

VENICE’S GONDOLAS

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With waterways instead of streets, it’s no surprise that people in Venice use gondolas and water taxis to get around the city. Locally known as taxiacquei or motoscafi, these speed boats are the fastest but also the priciest way to move around! If you’re on budget, you can always opt for a Traghetto (gondola ferry) to cruise down the canals.

 

THE MALTESE DGHAJSA

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Dghajsa, the traditional Maltese water taxi, was used to transport passengers within the Grand Harbour during the 19th century. Although they no longer serve the same purpose, it is still possible to enjoy a ride these days.

 

 

-Karen Bahri

Sharjah Light Festival

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Sharjah Light Festival

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The Sharjah Light Festival (SCTDA) is a nightly art exhibit with local and international artists that takes place in public places. The festival, which is the first event of its kind in the region, runs for nine nights in the month of February using the latest graphics and lighting techniques and 3-D technology.

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Just some background info – Sharjah is the third largest and most populous city in the UAE and has land on both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Sharjah City borders Dubai to the south and Ajman to the north, and the three form a conurbation.

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The SCTDA is a culmination of art, culture, science and the renaissance movement initiated by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

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Over the years, the Sharjah Light Festival has succeeded in attracting thousands of visitors. Last year’s edition drew more than 560,000 visitors from the UAE and abroad while social media channels recorded 2.8 million interactions, according to Google Analytics.

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The festival covers 14 different locations across the emirate, including architectural landmarks, mosques and historic buildings, which are brought to life with dazzling light displays and musical performances to create innovative three-dimensional designs on mosques, key landmarks and heritage buildings.

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The Sharjah Light Festival is definitely something to check out in the UAE! It’s such an astonishingly colorful festival, as you can see from the many photos I have added to this blog post! I couldn’t help myself! What a spectacularly magical event! It’s worth the excursion if you are traveling to Dubai.

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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