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Posted on Sep 12, 2013 in Europe, Guest Posts, United Kingdom |

How To Spend 24 Hours in Kensington, London

Are you making a flying visit to London? Why not soak up the culture in Kensington, one of the most exciting districts in London. Kensington is one of London’s most affluent districts, but this doesn’t mean you have to be a millionaire to visit. Situated in the glamorous West End, this cultural district has something to offer everyone. Not only that, but it is one of the most beautiful areas in the capital. Here’s how to spend the perfect day in Kensington’s leafy streets… Kensington by Day Morning… There are several museums in Kensington that are the perfect place to visit in the morning, whilst you’re waiting for the British weather to (hopefully) brighten up. And each covers a slightly different sector, so you can choose the one that takes your fancy. I personally went for the Royal Victoria and Albert Museum which I would recommend to any of you who have an interest in history and love looking at glamorous remnants from the Victorian era. Plus, it’s free – that’s incentive enough. Although, it’s worth mentioning that the Science Museum and Natural History Museum are also situated near Kensington. So really, you could do all three if you wanted to; but this may be a little bit too much history for one morning though. I just stuck with the one. Afternoon… Splash Out on Some Michelin-Star Dining Of course, not all tourists will be able to indulge in such an experience, but what better place is there to have a spot of lunch than a Michelin-Star restaurant? I certainly didn’t regret it – this place definitely leaves you wanting more! Still, it’s not as pricey as you would think. If you head on over to Launceston Place, you can opt for their set lunch-time menu which comes to £25 for three courses. Not bad at all ‘eh? Watch out though, they do add a 12.5% service charge to your bill.   Kensington Gardens Kensington Gardens is a royal park which covers 100 hectares of land, so it’s a great way to work off your lunch! And with a...

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Posted on Sep 12, 2013 in Europe, Guest Posts, Travel Destinations |

Kinross House – The most beautiful and regular piece of Architecture in Scotland

This was Daniel Defoe’s description of Kinross House, the home built by the remarkable politician “on the make” Sir William Bruce. So grand were his plans that there were even thoughts it was intended as a royal residence. The architect never saw the building fully completed as he soon fell from favour of the new Scottish king. The parts of the interior and grounds that were completed to the original designs were grand enough to attract regular admirers of this fine Scottish estate. Sir William Bruce had designs on building a major role for himself in the brave new world of late seventeenth century Scottish court life. He started his role in royal circles by remodelling Holyrood House and this lead him to acquiring some positions of power in the new Scottish political world. He had helped Charles II to reach the English throne in 1660 which gave him his baronetcy but proved trouble for him in the future. New found wealth prompted Bruce to buy large Kinross Estate and start to create a lasting piece of Scottish architecture. The building was never going to be cheap – extensive drainage works was required to even commence building the house. No one really knows why Bruce fell from favour but his closeness to Charles’ administration would not have proved popular when James II came to power in 1685. There are also questions as to whether his wealth came from sources not entirely legitimate even at a time when abuse of government power was the norm. Initially however, James appointed Bruce as Privy Councillor so he probably thought the money would keep flowing and he would be safe to commence the build of Kinross House in 1685. His success only lasted a year before his fall from grace became complete with the removal of his lucrative government posts. The cost of £10,000 to build the house did not seem to dissuade Bruce with the politician desperately trying to regain favour. Was he hoping that his house would tempt the King to look favourably upon him by creating something beautiful and regal?...

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Posted on Sep 12, 2013 in Guest Posts, Travel Destinations |

Ravishing tour destinations in Vietnam

Vietnam, a country located on the eastern Indochina Peninsula has mostly hilly and dense forest areas. It is a thin land of natural beauty which traces down at the eastern edge of South-East Asia with an extraordinary natural beauty.  Planning for a holiday at Vietnam is quite good idea as it has beautiful deserted beaches, magical rock formations, steamy waterways and dramatic mountain ranges. A place known as Saigon crackles 24 hours a day and Capital city of Vietnam- Hanoi is full of distinct charm where old buildings overlook avenues buzzed with motorbikes. Visiting Vietnam will lead you to discover Technicolor locations, incredible scenery and charming locals. Some of the best ravishing touring destinations are as follows: Halong Bay: Vietnam’s number one tourist destination is Halong Bay. It is the most visited tourist destination which consists of 3000 islands where beautiful natural areas are viewed. Literally Halong Bay means “Descending Dragon Bay” where tourists come to explore beautiful places. Halong Bay is declared as World’s Heritage Site by UNESCO.   Hanoi City: Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam is second most visited tourist destination. The French colonial heritage building is most important tourist attraction. Another place of attraction is the French Quarter, where small streets are surrounded by old French Quarter buildings. The oldest university of Vietnam- Van Mieu University and Hoan Kiem Lake is a good tourist destination. Hoan Kiem Lake is most beautiful lake located at the middle of the town having Pagoda in the middle. Hoa Lu: Hoa Lu, a tourist destination place, was an ancient royal complex of which main attraction is a Pagoda. Hoa Lu is dedicated to King Dinh and King Le, the Vietnamese hero who lived in 10th century. Perfume River: Perfume River, crossing the city of Hue spreads perfume-like fragrance around the river when autumn fell into river. This perfume-like aroma is a natural attraction as it spreads perfume-like aroma around its surroundings. Thien Mu Pagoda is situated right next to the pier. Dalat: Dalat, a hill station in central highlands with a mountain plateau scattered with small villages throughout its area....

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Posted on Aug 26, 2013 in Guest Posts, Travel Destinations |

Experience The Real Majorca: Why There’s Much More To This Island Than Sandy Beaches

If you’re planning a resort holiday, Majorca might be one of the first places that springs to mind. But what if you’re after something a little different? After all, lounging in the sun all day isn’t for everyone. From ancient cathedrals to medieval walled towns, there’s more to this island than sandy beaches. Places To See Majorca has a rich and varied history. A trip to the island should involve taking the time to appreciate it. The first inhabitants settled between 1300 and 1000BC, and centuries of history have left their mark. A historical sight not to miss is the Sanctuary de Sant Salvador Felanitx, an old hermitage lying 509m above sea level. It is flanked by two impressive monuments, a 14m stone cross and 35m column topped with a statue of Christ. Of interest are the main church and side chapels. Still a place of pilgrimage, the trip is worth it for the panoramic views if nothing else. If you’re hankering after some ancient history, a trip to the Ses Paisses, Arta should satisfy. These ruined Bronze Age settlements are around 3,000 years old and a reminder of the original island settlers. The massive entrance way formed by stone slabs is particularly impressive. For a taste of historical Majorcan luxury, head to the Raixa Estate, Bunyola. An impressive stately mansion, the house has been owned by several noble families. Parts of the garden even date back to the 13th century. Raixa was remodelled in the Italian villa style in the 18th century and consists of several homes arranged around a central farm building. Activities If you’re fed up with sun bathing and want to get active, Majorca has plenty to offer. Unsurprisingly the island offers an array of sailing trips, which promise stunning views of the coast and turquoise waters. Tudor Dawn Charters offer yacht charter, day sailing activities and a selection of day cruises in the Bay of Pollensa. Trips can be customised to suit your requirements. Gear for water sports and snorkelling can be provided. And you got the choice between sailing or a quiet relaxing...

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Posted on Aug 22, 2013 in Guest Posts, Tips and Tricks |

Considering Medical Tourism? Here’s What You Should Know

Medical tourism is on the rise as more and more Americans are finding that they can get the medical procedures they need at a fraction of the cost charged by U.S. hospitals. A non-elective surgery, like a hip replacement, can be had abroad for around $13,000 — compared to the $100,000 or more that the procedure might cost in an American hospital. Many patients who’ve taken advantage of lower medical costs abroad find that the quality is comparable to that found in good American hospitals. Rising health care costs at home have driven more and more Americans abroad in search of care. In fact, by some estimates, as many as 500,000 Americans travel abroad each year to have surgical procedures ranging from Botox and dentistry to heart surgery, joint replacement and spinal repair. If you’re considering medical tourism, here’s what you should know. You May Lack Support If Something Goes Wrong If you receive surgery or other medical care in a hospital abroad and something goes wrong, it can be hard to hold that hospital accountable. The boom in medical tourism is very new, and no one is quite sure yet who you might sue if a hospital botches your procedure. What is certain is that hospitals abroad aren’t subject to the same regulations and oversight as hospitals in the U.S. What’s more, if you need postoperative care after you return home, you may not be able to get it. The burden of making your medical journey successful will fall squarely on you, and it can be hard to get the data you need to make an educated decision about whether or not to receive care at a foreign hospital. Remember, these hospitals aren’t being monitored by the state and federal agencies that protect health care consumers domestically. They may refuse to answer your questions about success rates, mortality rates, or a particular doctor’s credentials and surgical statistics. Or, they may give you false information. If you do choose to receive care at a hospital abroad, choose one that’s accredited by the Joint Commission International. This is the global...

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Posted on Aug 22, 2013 in Europe, Guest Posts, Travel Destinations |

Europe by Road: The 5 Best European Driving Vacation Routes

When Canadians travel in Europe, they often think in terms of trains and package tours. Those are both great ways to see the Old Country, but taking a road trip along the scenic byways of Europe is also a fantastic way to get off the beaten track. With car rentals available and affordable throughout Europe, there’s no reason not to try these routes on your next trip overseas. The Basque Coastline Travellers to Spain often focus on the southern areas, imagining dusty castillos and sun-drenched courtyards framed with orange trees. But the northern areas, especially in Pais Vasco, the Basque Country, offer a look at Spain that may surprise and delight road trippers. Starting at the French border, at the Pyrennes, and heading westward along the coast of the Bay of Biscay, stop in local fishing villages or wait until San Sebastian, only 20 km from France, to sample some of the region’s best seafood. San Sebastian’s Beach of La Concha is a smooth crescent of white sand well worth strolling along. Continue westward until you reach Bilbao, a large commercial hub and the home of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, which you won’t want to miss. From there, decide whether to continue west along the top of the Iberian Peninsula to Cantabria or whether to head south to La Rioja or southeast to Navarre, two of the country’s best wine regions. Geneva, Switzerland, to San Marino Meander around lakes and over mountain passes as you exit Geneva, the original home of the League of Nations, and cross the French border. Still in the Alps, you’ll drive by the famed skiing mecca of Chamonix on your way to the Italian border via the Mont Blanc tunnel. Once in Italy, choose whether to visit fashion-forward Milan or cultural hotspot Turin — or both — before angling southeast to Parma. Spend some time here sampling the cheese and world-famous Parma ham and taking in the spectacular architecture. After Parma, Bologna is the next big city on your way to San Marino. But many drivers may prefer to skip the cities in favour...

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Posted on Aug 14, 2013 in Guest Posts, Travel |

Budget Eating in Sydney: Best Restaurants and Cafes

Cost of dining in Australia Australia is not really known for cheap eating, in fact many people would say the opposite; that it is an expensive place to eat especially compared to somewhere like the United States.  Then there is Sydney which is considered an expensive place to eat, even by Australian standards. Just because many people think that, it doesn’t mean that there are no cheaper restaurants, it just means that they did not know where to look. Although for the main part, Sydney is an expensive place to eat out, there are places that are cheaper than most and although they still may not be prices as low as what you are used to; they are far cheaper than most other Sydney eateries. Fond Favorites Once you know exactly where to go, eating can become cheaper in Sydney and so here are a few favorite hangouts for value for money. If you don’t mind a long queue for breakfast The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria is worth the wait or try a breakfast at Copo Café & Diner in Drummoyne for a South American style. For those with a sweet tooth for cream cake and pastries, the Black Star Pastry, Newtown is a must or try Gelato Messina, Darlinghurst for some great gelato creations. Vegetarians will like Bread & Circus, Alexandria for breakfast, salads or sandwiches or Nourishing Quarter, Redfern for a Thai slant on veggie. The Via Napoli, Lane Cove or Pizza Mario are a must for pizzas, whilst if dumpling parcels filled with hot broth and pork are you thing, then you must try Din Tai Fung in Chinatown. Variety Even though you may want to eat fairly cheaply in Sydney you do not have to compromise on variety as there are many budget dining places to be found, serving a variety of different menus. Obviously though, as the whole of Sydney seems to be going through a phase where it cannot get enough Vietnamese food, the cheaper establishments also reflect that. Vietnamese Food For those who would like to eat Vietnamese food, here are some...

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