Maasai Mara National Reserve

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One of my travel plans is to taking a safari in Kenya to see the amazing wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara National Reserve. Nowhere on the planet earth will you get a chance to see over a million wild animals migrating. This only happens in Maasai Mara National Reserves. The reserve is found in the remote, southwest part of Kenya, snuggled up to the Tanzanian border and, indeed, an extension of the even bigger Serengeti plains in Tanzania. Maasai Mara’s climate is relatively predictable, with enough rain, and with vegetation that makes it possible for the amazing annual Wildebeest migration of up to 1.5 million animals from the dry plains of Tanzania to happen.

wildebeest migration a force of nature

Wildebeest Migration

At any time of the year, the Mara has abundant wildlife. Whether you’re watching the migration, or lions hunting, herd of elephants grazing, or hyenas squabbling with vultures over the carcass of a buffalo, you are in for a treat. Traveling through the reserve in August or even September, while the wildebeest are in possession is what makes visitors come to the Mara. With its plentiful vegetation and wildlife, the reserve first appear resilient to the effect of large numbers of tourists. The reserve is the most visited in East Africa.

Maasai Mara one of the splendours of our world

Maasai Mara National Reserve

When deciding where to stay in the Mara region, you need not to worry because all the conservatories and group ranches outside the reserve have great accommodation with excellent wildlife viewing. If you want to enjoy the best view of wildebeest migration, at some point you’re going to want to head to the Mara River to try to witness this one of the 7 wonders in the world.

I cannot wait to get the trip organised but having loads of fun researching. Anyone every been? Any advice on what to do, where to go, what not to do – all gratefully received.

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Travel to Artistic Florence

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Seeing the renaissance art has to start from Florence. I was trying from a long time to visit this unique city with modern and ancient living together. After watching “Da Vinci’s Demons” I was fascinated by the freedom the city had in times of kingdoms. One of the famous sculptures in the city is the famous male nude figure “David.  It has been a city with artistic freedom during the times when art and experiments was banned by the Roman Catholic Church. Leonardo made Florence his home and worked on various things at the same time.  He was genius well ahead of his times. The inventions that he did would have been great scientific inventions even today. He would have been called a scientist and not an artist if he lived today.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Flore

I began my day by visiting Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Flore. The structure is imposing and beautiful at the same time. Magnificent is the word that came into my mind. I was seeing it with my mouth wide open when I was asked by the guide to come inside. The inside was out of a fairy tale. I was awed by the designs and the art forms. The two-hour tour seemed very short. So I took another ticket and went for another two hours. The second time seemed even shorter. I was supposed to see the famous David but I decide against it and called the day.

Santa Maria del Flore the interior view

“Welcome to America, I love this country!” (in my best Borat voice)

Okay, so I admit. I’m a bit of a snob in ways you’ve picked up on in my previous blogs and I always have low expectations of visiting ANYWHERE in the United States.

Let’s be honest though, New York City is hard to beat, even spending many years in London I still love the energy of this international hub and in many ratings it beats out our beloved London.

NYC-New-York-City-A-World-to-Travel-Valentines-Day-ideas-best-cities-to-wake-up-in-on-February-14th-800x600So you may be thinking at this point that my trip was to New York City, WRONG! I always try to come through New York and if you are coming from anywhere in Europe your likely going to breeze through there.

This trip, I went inland.  And I was scared, very scared.  Listen, all big cities are easy to navigate, culturally friendly, and despite the scary open cary gun nuts in the US I somehow feel safe in huge cities…..but get me out into the rural areas on roads that I’ve only seen in movies, my heart starts beating fast.

My aunt married an American and they live somewhere close to Route 66.  All I knew was this was in the middle and a great song by Depeche Mode.  It turns out that this was a pretty cool route with some history!

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“Route 66 (aka US 66) was a historic highway in the United States extending from Chicago to Los Angeles. It crossed much of the American Midwest, Great Plains, and Southwest. Although US Highway 66 no longer exists, you can still “get your kicks” on the path it took through the United States on other highways and roads.”

This trip taught me more than one blog can express. I hope to do many follow ups about what I learned from the real American culture that is as charming as it is in most movies.  If you find yourself in the US and wanting to see things by car, you should definitely explore the historic Route 66 for yourself and  see if you change your perceptions of rural America just as I did.

Manchones Reef a great place for relaxing

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Snorkeling and scuba diving in Manchones reef

Snorkeling and diving are very popular in Mexico and Manchones reef a 12 kilometer long natural marvel is perfect for the sports. Exotic fish species and flora with amazing colors make it a natural marvel. The diverse marine life forms you will find in the azure blue waters are unique to Manchones reef. Cruz bay is a must visit for the bronze sculpture that is the emblem for visitors. The bronze statue is inside the water, and supposedly is a symbol for people who lost their lives at sea.

Snorkeling and Diving at Manchones reef

The place ranks among the top 35 snorkeling places in the world. The wonderful sport will really make you relaxed and ready for the plunge. Manchones Reef is a true natural spectacle where tourists can enjoy the wonders of the marine world has to offer. Snorkeling is the way to see the world under ware. The life under the sea is unexplored and particularly snorkeling lets us see the unseen. A snorkel is a simple device which helps you breathe while you observe marine animals and plants under the sea. It is a great way to leave worries behind and take a plunge. The practice becomes even more rewarding when you know how to do it. Many people face difficulty in the first tour. Just relax and follow the guide and you will enjoy what you do and see. If you are on your first tour make sure to be doing the basics right to enhance your enjoyment.

The Manchones Reef is found 10 minutes by watercraft from Isla Mujeres, offering a perfect get away for individuals who like snorkeling and diving. The site provides a unique place to feel the nature and also enjoy the adrenalin rush of adventure

The reef has depths of 15 meters to 2 kilometers and is full of coral reefs that are home to endless marine species. The tour operators will help you find the perfect diving place. Take the plunge and you will see the vivid colors and activity.

The Mayan Culture

Manchones Reef is only one of the marvels offered at Isla Mujeres, a zone of extraordinary regular riches and culture in the Mexican Caribbean. On this island the excellence of the ocean, the rain forest and society legacy left by the Mayan progress is all present. Isla Mujeres is a genuine heaven with a large number of charms that make it a place to visit in Mexico.

Nature rules in Isla Mujeres. With remarkable shore and mountains the Isle offers all for the cultural exchange. Isla Mujeres is situated before the islands of Cancun 7.5 kilometers in length and 500 meters wide.

Adventure and Stay and History

For travelers who come to Isla Mujeres, there are many options for adventure and stay. Guests can look out for rented accommodations, hotels or owner’s rentals. There are various exotic restaurants to choose where you have your food. Both Mexican and non-Mexican food is available. Also there are bars that are having theme based parties you will enjoy the most

Isla Mujeres most inhabitants are fishermen living a basic yet blissful life in the tropics. As per history, this island was a Mayan territory, in the period somewhere around 564 and 1516 AD. In those years Isla Mujeres was a haven devoted to the goddess Ixchel, goddess of wealth, health and contentment.

The island was found by Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba in 1517. He discovered the island with the mother goddess being worshipped by women only. The manner of the discovery gave the name to the island. You can come here with all of your family. There are many options available for adventure. Come and enjoy your holidays.

The Fabulous Las vegas

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Las Vegas

So I found myself in Vegas on my birthday this year. Lucky me! I had my reservations about Vegas.. I am not a gambler I am a calculated risk taker! My main knowledge came from films such as The Hangover and Fear and Loathing.. so needless to say I imagined a dirty few days of debauchery and frankly I wasn’t sure if I would be a fan. But I figured her, try everything once right?

So I arrived at my hotel which had a giant pirate ship outside filled with scantily clad women clearly failed wannabe film drama school actresses  gyrating and swashbuckling to a bad soundtrack and a firework display on the hour only in Vegas!

I had informed my hotel it was my birthday a neat trick I learned can get you all manner of upgrades and freebies. It actually was my birthday this time though! And low and behold, in my room was a complimentary bottle of bubbly- nice! Happily I unpacked and looked at the view. From my window I could see Egypt )the Pyramid of the Luxor, Paris (The Eiffel Tower of the Paris hotel)  and Venice ( the gondolas of the Venetian).. wow I thought its like an adults Disney world. Tacky, yes but fun! So I consumed the rest of my bubbles whilst in a giant bathtub filled with soapy bubbles and drifted off to sleep.

Casinos - Las Vegas

Deciding to avoid the gambling I ventured out into the sunshine the next morning. Whomever said Vegas is a dark and dingy place clearly never explored during the day. It was beautiful. Though strange to think my itinerary basically consisted of visiting other people’s hotels! From the roller coaster at New York , to the Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay and of course the infamous fountains of the Bellagio.

My feet were aching from walking the strip so I decided when in vegas and ventured to the slot machines. Now one thing I must tell you it’s no Oceans Eleven in Vegas forget George Clooney, women dressed in pearls and fancy card tables. Expect rooms with garish carpets filled with over weight Americans glued to the flashing lights of one arm bandit machines. I decided to give one a go and frankly I was perplexed you had to register your credit card to exchange for tokens – what happened to getting rid of your quarters! The endless buttons, levers and headache inducing music and lights led me to admit defeat and after a few goes I decided to leave the gambling to the beached whales in baseball caps.

Bar at Las Vegas

So I retired to my hotel but on the way back I decided to see if I could pick up another bottle of that delicious bubbly I had the night before. So off I went to the local supermarket I found the so-called ‘free champagne’ in the bargain section at $6 a bottle!! Well tasted ok so I bought one and took it back to my room. Once I popped the cork and took a sip I realised it was sugary, syrupy and frankly gross! How getting something for ‘free’ and then realizing its real value can change your experience of something. But it was a good analogy for Vegas it was sickly and did leave you feeling a bit cheap but with the right attitude of embracing it for what it is well it wasn’t all that bad after all!

 

 

A Visit to Sydney

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I have been thinking of visiting Australia, and suddenly got a business trip. The stay was in Sydney. The meetings were over in 3 days, and the deal sealed. Suddenly the traveller inside me woke up. I decided to stay for the weekend, and explore the surroundings. Phone switched off I went forward for an enlightening experience which I am going to share.

A Trip to the Blue Mountains (Day 1 – Saturday)

Blue Mountais near Sydney, Australia

The Blue Mountains

 

After being in the city for 3 days I decided to escape it. What followed was a trip to the Blue Mountains. I hired some hiking gear, and went climbing. Walking through the Everglades was enchanting.  I saw the deepest blue color from atop a place I had climbed to. It was amazing, with outstanding view of the valley. Later I also visited the famous three sisters. You can read the entire article here, regarding the three sisters mountaisn. However did not stay long due to the crowd. I retreated into the mountains for the rest of the day, exploring ridges and unknown waterfalls.

Bondi Beach (Day 2 – Sunday)

Bondi Beach, Sydney Australia

Bondi Beach

 

All the hiking the previous day took its toll on my body. So Sunday was meant for basking in the sun at the famous Bondi beach. I took refuge near the grassy mountain and had breakfast. Stripping into my bikini I enjoyed the sun. Another shade of blue, the crystal clear sea water took me in. I enjoyed the afternoon at the beach sunbathing. It was relaxing.

After enjoying my weekend in Sydney it was time to get back to work. The night flight to UK and I was home after the adventure.

Scandinavia Here I Come

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The last time I was aspiring as to where I would end up on my next travelers, I was thinking Greenland. And you know, Greenland rocks and all, but I keep reading about these Norwegians and Swedes!

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They top the category of just about every index that is out, and hey, they appreciate things like this travel girl.  (Winning!)

My only problem is what season to go to! Do I plan a winter trip and land in Oslo and head just outside the city some of the most amazing skiing that exists? Do I head west to see the #earthporn shorts that seem to rule Reddit! What’s a girl to do?

Summer’s there look like something out of a fairy land. It’s never too hot, never too cold, the grass never burns out, flowers are blooming, and these people just ride their bikes in polite silence that sometimes makes me want to free dance right in the middle of the street to see the stares.

Wait. No I don’t. Not my style, but if it was….damn right I would.

The coolest part about Norway and Sweden is how close they are.  My cousin lived on the border  and literally crossed it every day to go to work so I remember seeing and feeling a little bit of each culture.

It’s a very tough call to decide and according to Trip Advisor I mean lean to the magical fjords of Norway. After all Frozen was inspired from there!

Back with new trip aspirations for the holidays

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Hey there everyone. Well I’m back after my trip to Istanbul and I am definitely starting to look for new opportunities and places to go during the holidays. I’ve been thinking.. what places have I not been to yet? What areas of the world and what cultures can I really surprise myself in. All said and done also what places can I go that I’ll have a good time and won’t cost me an arm and a leg! I’ve been thinking about some of the most recent trips posted on Conde Nast’s site. It is for the cold weather destinations and I think for a person like myself I need a little bit of comfort if I’m going somewhere cold. I’m not particularly into the skiing and all of that but I think there’s a lot of charm in this time of year and I plan to take full advantage of it.

best cold weather destinations for a trip

Okay two places I really felt like going lately would be somewhere such as Greenland (which is on the list) or possibly one of the other Scandinavian countries. It’s really cold there this time of year but it would be cheap and quite charming around Christmas. Another option I had in mind was somewhere in Japan that gets quite cold.. you have a lot of options there although it would be a little more expensive for flight and board as it’s not as affected by winter months. Chances are I’ll stick with Europe this time around and have a closer to home Christmas trip. Next trip? Who knows maybe Kashmir! 

Istanbul Trip

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So I decided to take a quick trip to Istanbul for a small vacation, I only ended up staying for about 4 days but it was worth every moment and I had the opportunity to get a great deal on a plane ticket which helped me in my decision to go. It’s also the off season right now so it wasn’t as ridiculously busy there. I decided to go to Istanbul and soak up as much history and night life that I could, the best part about it is there is so much to do in Istanbul from shopping to bars and all of the historical sites that I wish I could have stayed another week.

hagia sofia inside in istanbul

I went to the hagia sophia and the blue mosque which was near where I was staying in a guest house. The palace was great as well and had some of the best views of the city. Also I ended up checking out the modern art gallery which highlighted some amazing art from Turkish artists. It was really an eye opener to see the type of political and artistic climate of Turkey both now and in previous decades. All in all I would love to go back and explore other parts of the country, it’s a country rich with history.

Staycation

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Dorset Jurrasic path

Stunning Dorset

As you may have noticed I’m a very lucky girl, who’s been able to combine work and travel to a very high level this year. But, after my last jaunt to Copenhagen Mr Visa had stern words and suggested I stay put for a bit, and I was honestly going to listen (with just the smallest pout, honest).

However, just as I was settling back into the norms of city life, my good friend Amy came to my rescue. She had an apartment booked down the coast in Dorset for a few days, complete with WiFi, and her other half had just got pulled in for some work, did I want to join her? Well, Mr Visa my bags are packed and I don’t need you, I can even work from there!

luxurious holiday aprtment West Bay

Turns out this was a lux apartment overlooking the wonderful harbour at West Bay ( best known for its starring role in Broadchurch). Now, you know I’m one for comforts mixed with experiences, but sometimes the drive to get out and see the world means we overlook our backdoor. Here, we had all the comforts of (an upmarket version) home, mixed with some stunning coastal walking paths, that could rival the ones I recently saw in America, add to that the freshest fish and chips I have eaten for year. Sure, some of the towns look like they haven’t changed since the 50’s (including the residents), but a visit to Lyme Regis, including lunch at the fabulous Hix Oyster House, will win over the most seasoned traveller – and the best part, not a drop of rain the while trip. I’m not losing my thirst to see the world, but sometimes it’s good to remember you live amongst it!