Review of the Online Transfer Booking Service Kiwitaxi

If you are travelling for the first time, do not know the language of a country visited or have children with you, you might face a lot of problems when getting from the airport to your destination. Travelling by public transport is not a very good option as it might be confusing and tiring. Alternatively, it would make sense to order a taxi or private transfer.

What transport to choose?

When travelling, I usually prefer to take a taxi. However, sometimes it is not the best way to get around. In the large airports, it is almost impossible to find a taxi rank, without getting lost. In some countries, taxi can be paid only in a local currency, so a tourist will have to find a currency exchange point first.

To avoid these problems, I decided to try another travel option - online transfer booking service Kiwitaxi. As Kiwitaxi website states, transfers are available in 82 countries and 467 airports around the world, and it is possible to choose a vehicle from an Economy class car to a large bus up to 19 passengers.

User-friendly site

As an experienced traveler, I appreciate easy and convenient sites, which do not require filling in too many forms and can save my time. Kiwitaxi is absolutely user-friendly. You only need to choose the desired route and the class of the car and specify the pickup date and place. After making a prepayment, you will receive a confirmation email with the details of your trip and the contacts of your driver.

Competitive prices

Kiwitaxi pricing policy seems quite attractive to me. As far as I can tell, transfers prices are comparable to those of local taxis (except rare cases). Besides, the price includes not only a car ride, but also personal meeting at the airport, assistance with your luggage, and a polite English-speaking driver (that is a rare thing in Asia). And keep in mind, that taking a taxi on the spot might be risky as you never know what the driver will be.

Why is Kiwitaxi worth booking?

- price for a trip is fixed - no hidden payments;

- partial or full payment online;

- a driver will meet you with a name sign;

- help with baggage

- an English-speaking driver and an English-speaking support manager;

- a wide range of vehicles: Economy, Comfort, Minivan, VIP, and different minibusses for 7 to 19 passengers;

- extra options (child seats, Wi-Fi, return transfer).

Tourists’ feedback

Before trying a new service I never neglect reading the customers’ feedback. In case of Kiwitaxi, it is mostly positive: tourists would use the service again. There are some negative comments, too, but it seems, the company is always ready for a dialogue or compensation. What surprised me is a plenty of international comments – in Russian, English, German etc., which means that the company is gaining popularity all over the world.

My feedback

The service is good. The site is simple to use, and the transfer prices are roughly equal to taxi prices. The positive feedback on the site speaks in favor of the company’s reliability. The response from the company is quick and the staff is very polite (as far as I could judge from online chatting with Kiwitaxi).

In my opinion, Kiwitaxi transfer booking system would suit inexperienced travelers the most, or those would like to avoid using public transport. This is the best transport option for mothers with children or aged people. Don’t risk taking a taxi on site- there will unlikely be child seats, and the trip price can be set by the driver. It’s much more convenient to pay for your trip in advance online and in a preferable currency, and be met at the airport by the professional driver.
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Art Lovers: Here are 2 the Most-Stunning Summer Destinations

Summer vacation is here and with it the pressure to make the perfect travel plans. Instead of taking the same old trip you take every summer, though, why not consider something a little more thrilling?
If you’ve ever dreamed of jet setting across the globe to see the wonders of another culture, there’s no time like the present to make that dream a reality. Here are two of the most awe-inspiring locations you could travel to this summer that will not only create memories to last a lifetime, but will also leave you breathless in the process.

Cape Town, South Africa

One of the best things about this unique destination is that Cape Town has something for travelers from all walks of life conveniently located in one exotic locale. Cape Town is known for its picturesque beach-front communities that line its shores, but the pièce de résistance lies in Boulders Beach. This one-of-a-kind beach is home to over three-thousand irresistibly-playful black and white penguins who are all-to ready to show off their tricks in the crystal-clear waters nearby.

Not much of a beach-comber? Cape Town also has some of the most exhilarating hiking opportunities in the world that are sure to challenge even the most experienced climber. After ascending to the top of Table Mountain, don’t forget to take a minute to stop and smell the roses on a relaxing cable car ride back down the mountain during sunset. For the traveling artisan, Cape Town is home to a thriving community of local artists who expertly channel their lush heritage and culture into truly one-of-a-kind masterpieces. The addition of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art in 2017 will surely cement Cape Town’s standing as one of the most uniquely compelling art scenes in the world.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

A sparkling jewel amid a vast ocean of arid desert, Dubai has become one of the most luxurious tourist destinations in the entire world. ‘The City of Gold’ more than lives up to its nickname as is made evident by the unabashed culture of abundance it has become known for. Home to some of the most jaw-dropping exclusive resorts on the globe, the world’s largest shopping mall, and, most notably, the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, Dubai offers one unique experience after the other that will keep even the pickiest of world-traveler appeased.

This great city boasts more than three-hundred days of sunshine per year and has over one-thousand kilometers of coastline for travelers to enjoy. For the more artful traveler, Dubai has plenty to offer in that arena as well. As the modern art and design capital of the Middle East, Dubai is host to a bustling, incredibly modern and diverse art scene. From the sleek art galleries within the Financial District to the alternative art installations opening throughout Alserkal Avenue, Dubai has something for anyone with an eye for art. With all of these wonderfully extravagant sights to behold it’s no wonder nearly fifteen million individuals chose to spend their vacation in Dubai in 2016 alone.

Sure to inspire any traveler, these destinations could very well become the trip of a lifetime. Both uniquely diverse, Cape Town and Dubai have truly earned their spot on the list of great destinations across the globe. There’s really no excuse not to take the plunge and dive into your next adventure – we dare you!

Photo by Clint Mason via Flickr Creative Commons
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Top 5 Authentic Art and Cultural Experiences in Asia

Asia – the largest continent on the planet – is a treasure trove of unique art and cultural experiences. Any luxury Asia tour will give you an opportunity to get close to an array of such encounters that are native and irreplaceable. These arts and cultures have played major role in the evolution of the traditions of each country. Here is a list of five that you can dive into for singular and heart-warming discoveries of ethnicities during your luxury Asia tour.

1) The heart of Laos

Laos is a Southeast Asian country small in size but surprisingly large in the diversity of art and cultural experiences that it has to offer. Over the years, Laos has grown to be a major tourist destination in Asia. Its offerings include music, architecture, tradition, monuments, religion and much more. The luxury Asia tour in Laos offers not only unique cultural experiences but also presents to you the ways in which the country has been influenced by the age-old practices.

The cities like Vientiane, which is also the capital city, Luang Prabang, and Champasak display the cultural heritage of Laos in a most distinctive way. Religion is a dominating aspect here, and the Buddha an instrumental figure in the culture of the country, of which you’ll find enough evidence throughout your luxury Asia tour across Laos.

Music, as in any part of the world, is an integral part of life in Laos. The traditional music of Laos is less complex, with Khene, a flute-like instrument, as the major musical instrument. The Lamvong is the most popular dance form in Laos.

2) The uniqueness of Sri Lanka

The uniqueness of Sri Lanka stems from its very landscape. Also going by the charming name of the Emerald Isle, it is a beautiful island not just rich in its wilderness, but also in art and culture. Any tourist embarking on a luxury Asia tour will find a plethora of festivals, music, monuments, food, music, dance, architecture, and more in Sri Lanka. Blessed with a rich history and multiethnic population, Sri Lanka showcases several architectural gems, both ancient and modern.

Tourists visiting this island during their luxury Asia tour will also find themselves intrigued by the beautiful folk music such as the Baila and dances like the elaborate Kandyan dance. The world-renowned Kandy Esala Perahera is a colourful annual pageantry with processions, dances, drummers, elephants and elaborate rituals, which by itself can give a wonderful glimpse of Sri Lankan art forms, and therefore must definitely be included on a luxury Asia tour.

Places like Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Dambulla also give you deep insights into the culture of Sri Lanka and will greatly please history and architecture aficionados.

3) The diversity of India

India, without any doubt, has spectacular art and culture. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India is a land that boasts of a stupefying mélange of art forms, architectural spectacles and cultural nuggets that please all senses. Each state has its own festival, cuisine, language and cultural heritage. The people of India pride themselves in being diverse and will proudly acquaint you with their art forms during your luxury Asia tour. The culture of each society is transferred from one generation to another without any break.

The traditions are followed with the same intensity and care by the current generations as they were in ancient times. Festivals such as Onam, Diwali, Holi, Pongal, Navratri and Id are magnificent not only in their celebrations of life, but also in the deeply rooted cultural connections. India has always celebrated art and is home to some of the greatest performing arts such as Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam and many more.

Carnatic music and Hindustani music form the soul of Indian music, and the folk music is equally astounding in its variety and depth. The literature from ancient to modern carries a universe of knowledge and linguistic art.

4) Amazing Thailand

Thailand sets to amaze you at every footstep that you take during your luxury Asia tour here. Thai sculptures, which since ancient times have been influenced by India, are a major cultural attraction. Buddhism and the Ramakien (again tracing its roots to the Ramayana of India) hold the most prominent place in Thai culture, and are followed by Thai people transcending generations.

The traditional Thai drama form, Khon, is reflective of the intricacy and beauty of Thai arts. The shadow play is also a beautiful form of puppetry that is a great mode of storytelling, and the puppets themselves are works of art in their intricate and detailed design, as well as the play of light and color.

A major part of Thai architecture is the wats, or Buddhist temples, which are a fine display of differing styles over centuries. Thai people are gracious and respectful of age as well as customs. Their cuisine has become popular around the world, but the traditional way of eating on floor mats in a circle is the best way for an authentic taste.

5) Soul of Bhutan

The art and culture of Bhutan are deeply rooted in Buddhism. Even after centuries, the country and the people follow the same rituals, with very little foreign influence. During your luxury Asia tour in Bhutan you’ll be introduced to monasteries, stupas, prayer flags and prayer wheels, which show the importance of religion in the culture of Bhutan.

The calmness and tranquillity of the people are as much a tribute to their deep-rooted faith as they are to the spectacular landscape. The Bhutanese love to stick to their traditional ways of dressing and celebrations of festivals. Attending a Bhutanese Tshechu or the annual religious festival, is the best way to experience its culture, as the festival can go on for several days with elaborate mask dances, he unfurling of the appliqué thongdrel, community markets, and prayers.

It is indeed a special cultural experience. Traditional Bhutanese music is lilting and gentle, as is the dance, and the mountainous setting to these adds to the charm and beauty.

Discover these authentic experiences on your private luxury Asia tour.
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Foods Every Visitor to Australia Must Try

Australia may be the land down under, but it does feature top of the list of countries with a thriving food culture. Sure, some may be quick to say: but there are only a handful of native Australian dishes. While this may be irrefutably true, the Australian people do an amazing job at adapting and customising foods from all over the world, thus giving these foods an Australian identity. What may be a common burger in one part of the world acquires an Australian identity in this country. Here are some of the local foods in Australia that you simply must try when you visit the country, which is one of the most wonderful places in the world:

1. Pavlova

It is difficult to think of Australian cuisine and not immediately think of the Pavlova. This dessert is not only a particular favourite of the Australian people but also one that originated from this very country. Of course, there is the millennium old dispute between Australia and New Zealand over who really came up with this dessert. As the story goes, the dessert was invented in the 1920’s, when renowned Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova paid several visits to both countries. An Australian chef, Herbert Sachse, of the Hotel Esplanade in Perth, then came up with the recipe for a dessert that would be as light as this ballerina. In New Zealand, the natives claim that versions of this dessert were already being made long before Pavlova’s visit. Whichever the case, the Pavlova is one food that calls Australasia home. A Pavlova is a sweet dessert made of meringue base, lots of whipped cream, fresh fruit and then topped with passion fruit.

2. Meat Pie

You cannot claim to be Australian until you have had several meat pies. They are so popular in the country that you would be hard put to find a party where they do not make it to the food list. It is custom to eat your pie with ketchup and do it straight from the bag. Every bite of the meat and the gravy enclosed in the pastry case is certainly a heavenly delight. Meat pies were popularised in Australia during the colonial era when they used to be sold by vendors on carts on many streets. They may not be originally Australian, but they hold a special place in the hearts of the Australian people. If you do not feel up to indulging in all the meat, then you could choose the saner mashed potato pie- it is just as good.

3. Vegemite

This is the one food that unarguably originated from Australia, which is one of the most wonderful places in the world. It is a unique spread that many foreigners do not particularly enjoy, mostly because they are quick to spread generous amounts of the spread to their bread. To get the most of this savoury spread, you need to apply it sparingly on your bread- keep in mind that it is neither jam nor butter. The spread has a rather interesting history. In 1922, a businessman by the name of Fred Walker asked a chemist to come up with a spread made from used brewer’s yeast. The young chemist, Cyril Callister, came up with the product that was named Vegemite, after a hat. Vegemite is rich in Vitamin B, and that explains why it is exceedingly loved in Australia. Of course, catchy advertisements also contributed to the popularity of the spread. Today, there are many other combinations that have come up, such as vegemite and avocado toast, vegemite- cheese sandwiches and many others.

4. Chiko Roll

This humble roll is one that is stuffed with cabbage, onion, carrot, beef and several other ingredients. It very much resembles the Chinese spring roll, and many have validly concluded that the smaller Chinese roll is the inspiration behind the Chiko roll. Contrary to what its name would have you believe, the roll does not contain any chicken. The Chiko can be eaten anywhere- it is an on-the-go food for Australians.

5. Pumpkin Scones

Given Australia’s Anglo- Saxon history, pumpkins and scones are popular there. However, instead of making the otherwise world- famous pumpkin pie, Australia made its own pumpkin scones. They are very popular in the country, and you certainly must try them when you are there. They were especially popularised by the wife of a former Queensland, from which time they became a celebrated Australian food.

6. Grilled Kangaroo

Kangaroos are synonymous with Australia, and it, therefore, comes as no surprise that they form part of the country’s cuisine. They are preferred to other types of meats because they contain low fat, and of course, because they are so abundant in some parts of the country. Grilled, Kangaroo meat is a heavenly delight. No doubt there are some who will find the thought of eating kangaroo meat repulsive, but if you like trying new things, then kangaroo meat will not disappoint you. Prepared the Australian way, it can be cooked with any number of spices- from pepper to garlic to rosemary, and then served with fruits such as red currant and plums.

7. Lamb Leg Roast

This is a family meal, often prepared for Sunday lunch. It is usually served with plenty of baked potatoes, and it is very satisfying indeed. The tender delicacy is prepared with garlic, rosemary and olive oil in just the right proportions to create a mouthwatering meal. The food may also not be originally Australian, but Australians boast of being the only ones who can really prepare it the right way.

8. Barbequed Snags

Barbequing is truly Australian tradition and a favourite activity for most people. Little wonder barbequing snags is so popular in the country. The snags could be beef or pork, or the more recent ones that are flavoured with spices and herbs from all over the world.

9. Hamburger

One thing that sets Australian hamburgers apart from the ordinary ones is the inclusion of beetroots in the burgers. In fact, Australian hamburgers are arguably the biggest in the world. They contain so many ingredients, such as lettuce, cheese, onion, tomato, bacon, a fried egg, grilled pineapple, generous amounts of beetroots and tomato sauce to top it all. Nothing spells big and tasty better. Additionally, the burgers do not contain any pickle or mayonnaise. So in case you thought that Australia does not have its own hamburgers, you now know that nothing could be further from the truth.


It goes without saying that Australia has one of the world’s most vibrant cultures. Although most Australians are willing to contend that most of these foods do not originate from the country, they are also quick to add that they are the masters of adaption. Australian food is unique and special in its own way- you only have to try it in order to get convinced.

Author Bio:

Evans Lily is the founder of SkyWeFly, where she and her associates blog about photographs, stories and travel tips that will help you make a great journey. She hopes to bring her passion to more people via SkyWeFly.

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Digging the Fun at Universal Studios Singapore

When travelling, it is always a special treat to come across an amusement park that is both educational and entertaining. But for movie buffs, heading out to the Universal Studios Singapore Amusement Park is an extra special treat because it is like travelling through some of the most loved films of all time.

With seven themed areas within the park, all connected to well-known Universal Studios films, you can experience rides and attractions that bring you right into the movie experience. Here are just a few examples of what a film lover can expect when visiting this delightful amusement park.

Hollywood and New York

You would swear you were walking through these almost mythical locations when you head out to either of these two themed parks within the park. The kids will delight in the Sesame Street show with all their favorite characters, and the whole family will love the fireworks display over Lake Hollywood each night. Along a very real feeling New York street, you are serenaded by the tunes of the Rockafellas or old Bert and Ernie singing about their “favorite things”. East coast or west, it is all fun and tuneful at these two themed areas.

Travel Back in Time

You get a choice of walking amongst the pyramids of Ancient Egypt or among the roaming dinosaurs of Lost World when you decide to time travel here. Explore ancient tombs and uncover the curses that went with them when you ride through the Revenge of the Mummy.

Then head out to the Lost World for a trip to Jurassic Park as you soar above it in the Canopy Flyer. Head down thrilling rapids in a furious and fascinating water ride and then dry off as you watch heart-stopping stunts at the WaterWorld live show.

Visiting Your Favorite Cartoons

Everyone has their favorite cartoon character and so meeting them and playing in their playground can be loads of great fun. That is the kind of adventure you will have when you set your sights on heading out to the land of Far Far Away where Shrek and everyone’s favorite talking donkey hold court every day.

Whether you are laughing your heads off at Donkey’s hilarious musical show or having an adventure of your life riding a roller coaster called Puss ‘n Boots Giant Journey, you know you will be having a great time. Don’t forget to head out to Madagascar and jump on the river boat ride inspired by one of our favorite family films. Along the way why not stop and enjoy the beautiful carousal filled with whimsical creatures and all the denizens of King Julien’s court.

As you can see, no matter which of the seven magical zones you choose to explore, there is always something ready for you to enjoy. For movie buffs of all ages this is one amusement park that really knows how to entertain. From Muppet monsters to big green heroes, they are all here waiting for you when you head out to Singapore’s most free-wheeling destination, Universal Studios Singapore. Movie magic awaits us all!

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5 Family Friendly Attractions in Colorado

The old and the new, the rustic and the sophisticated, the wild and the refined—all of these experiences exist practically side by side in Colorado, amid what is arguably the most breathtaking mountain scenery in America. This and the many fun attractions in the area make Colorado the perfect family friendly destination. Just book one of the many Colorado Vacation Rentals and you are ready to go.

So let's see some of my absolute favorite Colorado attractions, that you can enjoy whether you are 5 or 95.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

On the lower slopes of Cheyenne Mountain, at 6,800 feet above sea level, this medium-size zoological park is my top choice for a family outing. The zoo’s 800+ animals, many in 'natural' environments, include wolves, lions, leopards, red pandas, elephants, hippos, monkeys, giraffes, reptiles, snakes, and lots of birds.

Rocky cliffs have been created for the mountain goats; there’s a pebbled beach for penguins and a new animal contact area for children.

The zoo is home to more than 30 endangered species, including the Siberian tiger, Amur leopard, and black-footed ferret. The zoo’s giraffe herd is the largest and most prolific captive herd in the world; there have been about 200 live births since the 1950s. Visitors can actually feed the animals themselves, which can be quite fun.

Cave of the Winds

Discovered by two boys on a church outing in the 1880s, this impressive underground cavern has offered public tours for well over a century.

The cave provides a good opportunity to see the beauty of the underworld. The 45-minute Discovery Tour takes visitors along a well-lit 3/4-mile passageway through 20 subterranean chambers, complete with classic stalagmites, stalactites, crystal flowers, and limestone canopies.

In the Adventure Room, modern lighting techniques return visitors to an era when spelunking was done by candle and lantern.

The one hour Lantern Tour follows unpaved and unlighted passageways and corridors. This tour is rather strenuous, with some stopping required in areas with low ceilings; it might muddy your shoes, but not your clothes. Kids, especially like the outdoor laser shows, with stereophonic sound presented nightly during the summer at 9pm.

Crested Butte

A delightful little gem of a town, Crested Butte is a year-round destination resort, with wonderful skiing in winter, and hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor recreational activities in warmer weather.

In fact, Crested Butte has the best mountain biking in the state and boasts some of the most colorful displays of wildflowers you’ll see anywhere.

Don’t miss the four-week long Crested Butte Music Festival and the Wildflower Festival where you’ll swear you climbed onto a Monet canvas of mad, extravagant colors. 

Riding an 1880s Narrow Gauge Steam Train

The Durango & Silverton heritage railroad follows the Animas River from Durango up through the San Juan Mountains to historic Silverton.

The scenery is stupendous over both lines, and each fulfills every train buff’s greatest dream of smoke in your eyes and cinders in your hair.

The route was originally opened back in 1882 to transport silver and gold ore mined from the San Juan Mountains. Nowadays, however, it is a tourist and heritage line hauling passengers through a series of gorgeous views.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

A thrilling adventure park built on top of the mountain, Glenwood Caverns in Glenwood Springs can be so much fun!

From the top of the Iron Mountain, take an adrenaline infused ride in the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster, the highest in North America. Then explore the caves, and swing in the Giant Canyon Swing over Glenwood Springs.

Take in the breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountain scenery from the Iron Mountain Tramway. And go on an exciting ride on the newly re-engineered Soaring Eagle Zip Ride.

Find your adventure and just have fun!

Photo by One Day Closer under Flickr Creative Commons

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How to Stay Safe When Travelling in Africa

Africa has an allure not quite like any other place. With its vast wilderness and timeless culture, it's easy to see why so many travellers visit this bewitching continent. But travelling in Africa doesn't come without its challenges. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe as you travel through this exotic land.

Local lowdown

If you're in the city, be careful of being out on your own late at night, particularly in unlit areas. Get friendly with your hotel staff, and get them to tell you which areas are safe or otherwise. Maybe they'll give you some advice about dress code, too. Try to get the perspective of a local.

To drive or not to drive

If your do decide to drive, be aware that roads in rural areas are more akin to tracks with potholes aplenty. Also, park in areas that are well lit and populated. Keep the doors locked and don't leave valuables inside. Steer clear of deserted areas and, if possible, don't drive at night.

On safari

Africa and safari go together like horse and cart. As always, though, safety must come first. It probably goes without saying (although you'd be surprised how many people ignore this advice, sometimes with fatal consequences), stay in your vehicle and keep a healthy distance from any wild animals. Going on safari isn't like going to the zoo, so don't be tempted to get out to take the perfect snap. You could end up someones next meal. It has happened.

Some of the most beautiful safaris include the world famous Masai Mara in Kenya, the Serengeti in Tanzania, and Botswana is a naturist's paradise with such national parks as Chobe, Savuti and Moremi.

If you're brave enough to walk through the African bush, be aware there are poisonous snakes out there. Thankfully they tend to stay out the way and get off the scene when humans are about. Even so, watch where you're treading. Boots, socks and long trousers are a must for this kind of adventure. Don't be tempted to swim in rivers where there are hippos and crocodiles. It's best to avoid swimming in stagnant water too.

Medical precautions

Make sure your vaccines are up to date as insect borne diseases such as malaria could prove a problem. Make sure you have a good supply of insect repellent and use sleeping nets in your room. For peace of mind it is advisable to purchase evacuation insurance, just in case anything goes wrong and you need to be repatriated.

Don't be tempted by cute looking monkeys, dogs and cats and so on. They may just be carrying a nasty disease.

Plenty of charge and battery power

You will encounter many wonderful photo opportunities on your travels, and scenes that you will want to capture forever. Make sure you have extra batteries and plenty of charge on your cameras and phones. Of course, don't get so close to the wildlife for that perfect shot when it isn't safe to do so. Consult your guide.

Don't be put off by these precautions. Africa has much to offer the careful traveller with its magnificent wildlife, national parks and friendly people, and will undoubtedly leave you with a many fond and happy memories for years to come.
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13 Tourist Attractions Along the Thames

The River Thames is the iconic stretch of water that flows through London, defining the UK’s largest and greatest city. The long, glorious history of the capital is largely owed to the Thames with many of the must see attractions situated on its banks. The River Thames stretches from Gloucestershire to Essex, but it is the section of The Thames that meanders through London that has gained its global fame. The Thames' banks are home to many famous London attractions from historic royal palaces to modern marvels of architecture. Come rain or shine, there are plenty of things to keep you amused while you’re by the River.

Kew Gardens (The Royal Botanic Gardens)/ Oliver’s Island

Since the 18th century the extensive Kew gardens have been at the forefront of botany in UK. At Kew you can witness over 40,000 different species of plants at their finest. The Royal Botanic Gardens is a World Heritage Site and former royal residence extending over 300 acres and is home to thousands of rare and beautiful species. As well as being an important centre for research and conservation (owning 1/8th of all the different plant species) it also plays host to a variety of seasonal events. You do have to pay to enter but the scale and beauty of the gardens definitely prove its worth.
Whilst at Kew Gardens you can take a stroll to Oliver’s Island. The island derives its name from a story that Oliver Cromwell once took refuge on it, but its validity is often questioned. A myth arose that Cromwell had set up a headquarters at the Bull’s Head Inn in Strand on the Green. The story was elaborated with the myth that a secret tunnel connected the island to the inn, however no tunnel has ever been found.

Peace Pagoda

The Peace Pagoda is located within Battersea Park (a large Victorian park opened in 1858), situated along the River Thames between Albert and Chelsea Bridge. At a time when the cold war and the fear of nuclear attack was escalating, the offer of a Peace Pagoda seemed appropriate. It was offered to the people of London by the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Order as part of the 1984 Greater London Council Peace Year.

The pagoda was built by monks, nuns and followers of Nipponzan Myōhōji under the orders of The Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii, founder of the Nipponzan Myohoji organisation. The double-roofed structure that stands 33.5 m high is constructed from concrete and wood, with a gilded bronze sculpture of Buddha on each side. It’s one of roughly 80 Pagodas around the world and only the second situated in the UK, following the first completed in Milton Keynes in 1980.

Big Ben

Located in the heart of Westminster, the world’s most famous clock tower is amongst the most iconic landmarks in London. Being attached to the Houses of Parliament has seen it become a familiar and much loved sight, along with it chiming on the hour and every 15 minutes thereafter. Big Ben refers to the bell which was created in 1859 with the structure itself being named Elizabeth Tower. Two different theories exist on the origin of the name Big Ben. The first is that is was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, the first commissioner of works, a large man known as "Big Ben". The second theory is that it was named after a heavyweight boxing champion, Benjamin Caunt who was also known as "Big Ben". Weighing in at 13.7 tonnes at the time of its casting, Big Ben was the largest bell in UK along with its clock face being the second largest in the country.

Houses of Parliament

The Palace of Westminster, more commonly known as the Houses of Parliament was built in 1042 for use as a royal residence under Edward the Confessor. Westminster Hall (the oldest building on the parliamentary estate) was built between 1087 and 1100 and is one of the largest medieval halls in Europe. During the 14th century the Hall housed the courts of law as well as shops and stalls selling legal equipment. Following a fire in 1512, Henry VIII abandoned the Palace and it has since been home to the two seats of Parliament, the Commons and the Lords. A competition to redevelop the whole site was won by Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin who designed the now iconic building that has become such a familiar landmark.

London Eye/Aquarium

The London Eye is located in the heart of the capital, perched on the edge of the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Standing at 135m high, it’s the world's tallest observation wheel and a true feat of engineering and design. The Eye itself allows you to experience a breath-taking 360-degree view of London and the majority of its famous landmarks, causing it to be voted as the number one visitor experience for the past decade in the capital.

A full rotation in one of the glass capsules takes approximately 30 minutes, giving you a completely different perspective of London. An experience on the London Eye will lift you high enough to see for up to 40 kilometres whilst keeping you close enough to see the spectacular details of the city unfolding beneath you. As it is the UK’s most popular visitor attraction it’s definitely wise to book if you are interested in getting a ride. Located at the base of the eye is the London Sea Life Aquarium, which is definitely worth a visit especially if the weather doesn’t hold out.

Oxo Tower

Originally a power station, later a reprocessing plant owned by the Oxo Company, the bold tower was marked for demolition in the 1980s, however the site was redeveloped in the 1990s as a multifunctional venue but maintained its architectural heritage. Oxo had wanted to adorn the tower with illuminated signs advertising the name of their product. When this proposal was rejected, the tower was built with a set of three vertically-aligned windows on each side which just so happened to be in the shapes of a circle, a cross and a circle. Today the illuminated OXO makes the tower visible for miles around. Visitors can take a riverside walk up to the tower's refurbished doors to explore the shops, galleries, restaurants, cafes and studios that fill its once empty rooms. You can experience the Tower as part of a leisurely riverside stroll; taking in Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre along with the many pubs and sights that adorn the banks of the Thames.

Millennium Bridge

This sleek, £18.2million 325m steel footbridge spans the River Thames linking St Paul's Cathedral in the City and the Tate Modern gallery on the bankside. The Millennium Bridge first opened in June 2000 becoming London's first new Thames crossing in more than 100 years. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people turned up to make the initial crossing, however it closed two days later. Its early years were plagued by problems, primarily excessive swaying which became a feature of every crossing contributing to the nickname ‘Wobbly Bridge’. Although the bridge is also more flatteringly referred to as the 'Blade of Light'. Having identified the source of the problem as people walking the 'wrong way' the bridge was finally re-opened in February 2002. The stunning architectural feature provides a great access route across the Thames, linking up many of London's riverside attractions.

St Pauls

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, after the Great Fire of London in 1666, St Paul's is the official cathedral of London, making it the spiritual home of the UK. The funerals of Lord Nelson and Sir Winston Churchill were conducted inside the cathedral along with the elaborate wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. The cathedral miraculously survived the Blitz in World War Two with the surrounding area being almost completely flattened, making it an inspirational symbol of British strength. Among the many things to do visitors can try out the acoustic quirks of the Whispering Gallery or venture up the three curving galleries that lead to the dome - one of the largest in the world and one of the best viewing points in the City.

The Gherkin

30 St Mary Axe is a tall round office building in London known affectionately as The Gherkin thanks to its unique bullet-shape tower. The Gherkin was designed by Sir Norman Foster and opened in 2004. Standing at 180m tall, 30 St Mary Axe stands out as one of the City of London's most stunning and critically acclaimed architectural features, towering over nearby constructions with its phenomenal glass exterior and ground-breaking eco-friendly methods saw it voted the most admired new building in the world (2005). It's hard to miss if you're wandering around the City but it's worth a visit just to stand at the base of one of London’s most iconic buildings, even though you can’t actually go in.

The Shard

The Shard became the tallest building in the European Union and the 45th tallest building in the world when it opened in 2012. Designed by Renzo Piano the multifunctional Shard building, visible from wherever you are in London, combines offices, multiple floors of restaurants, the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel, residential apartments that could be yours for just 30 to 50 million pounds along with the highest viewing gallery in Western Europe. Covered in 11,000 panes of glass, the vertical cities public viewing galleries on floors 68 to 72, offer unparalleled views across the entire city and up to 40 miles beyond it. If you’re interested in getting onto the viewing platforms it’s wise to book your tickets before you go.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is one of London's most iconic sights. When it was constructed in 1894, Tower Bridge was the most sophisticated bridge of its time. Nowadays you can see inside the rooms where the original steam engines were housed raise the bridge. The exhibition consists of displays, films and hands on exhibits displaying the history of the bridge and how it operates. From there you can then go on the walkways at the top of the bridge, providing fantastic views of London's other great landmarks such as St Paul's Cathedral, The London eye and The Shard. The bridge itself was famously wanted by the Americans who allegedly mistakenly bought London Bridge thinking they were buying the more imposing Tower Bridge next door.

Tower of London

Despite the Tower of London's grim reputation as a place of torture and death, it is actually an excellent place to learn about its use as a prison, palace, arsenal, mint, menagerie and place of execution (including two of Henry VIII's six wives, both beheaded on the scaffolds of Tower Green), since its construction following the Norman Conquest of 1066. You can view the priceless Crown Jewels, hear bloody tales and stand where heads have rolled, this coupled with its stunning riverside backdrop make it a must see attraction. With close to 1,000 years of royal history hidden within its walls, a trip to the Tower of London is like traveling back in time.


Limestone Marina 

A great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of London is to visit some of London’s iconic docks. The docks aren’t thought of as much of a tourist attraction in London being situated away from all the glitz and glamour of the major sightseeing destinations. However, on a nice warm day taking a stroll down the Thames to a local Marina is a great way to spend a bit of time relaxing and spotting some new sights by going slightly off the beaten track. Whilst you’re out by the docks you can always use this as an opportunity to jump on a tube and take a look at Cutty Sark and the O2 Arena.
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Home Décor and Handmade Stuff to Buy in Sicily

Traveling to Sicily is never complete without purchasing some memento to bring back home as a reminder of the trip.

There are many souvenir shops in the island that sell objects that can be given as gifts or used as a home décor. In Palermo, the Mercato delle Pulci in Piazza Peranni is a general flea market located behind the bishop’s palace off Corso Vittorio Emmanuele. 

For those who are interested in antiques, artistic objects, old design furniture, and bric-a-brac, you will surely find this place a treasure trove. You might be able to stumble upon an antique handmade marionette in one of the vintage shops. 

One can also find beautifully crafted ceramics such as spoons, plates, vases and even watches in Caltagirone, Santo Stefano di Camastra and Sciacca. There is a wide range of objects that cater for both modern and classic style enthusiasts. Drop by Ceramiche Azzaro & Romano Srl for custom-designed ceramic items to fit special requirements. You can order furniture items, decorative and kitchenware objects. Likewise, Erice boasts beautiful pottery that can add Mediterranean flavor to a home’s décor.

Since Italy is known for its leather goods, buying excellent quality handmade bags and shoes is a must. This is also possible in Sicily and there is an abundance of shops everywhere.

Officine Achab produces extraordinary items for dressing up one’s home. Archigiana Accessori in Palermo features unique designs perfect for those who love original handmade crafts that can also be customized upon request. 

Also, handcrafted jewelry is a popular item, made of lava stone and other particular materials. If you are interested in a different kind of uniqueness, a visit to Basura Eco Jewellery will surely make you fall in love with the pieces. All objects are made from scrap materials turned into useful and beautiful objects. 

Sicilian artistry and culture is reflected in the objects and art lovers will definitely love Sicilian paintings and glass art as well.
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4 Things You Should Do in Lanzarote

Desperate for some sunshine? Book your flights to Lanzarote for guaranteed good weather, volcanic landscapes and plenty of cocktail-fuelled down time. With white-washed villages, coloured shutters and impressive sculptures, this easternmost island in the Canaries is a firm favourite with tourists, and us!

Timanfaya National Park

This national park looks like something you’d expect to find in a movie. It’s dusty, bleak and covered in volcanic ridges and rocks. It is what’s left behind after the Montanas del Fuego- a group of more than 100 volcanos-were last active in 1730s. It’s spectacular scenery is one of Lanzarote’s number one attractions.

The Guinate Tropical Park and Penguin Paradise

Penguin Paradise is located in a landscape sunken in close proximity to Mount Corona and Famara Cliffs. An array of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish come to find shelter at The Guinate Tropical Park and Penguin Paradise all year round. Ranging from parrots to flamingos, the main avian attraction at the park is the penguins.

The park is home to beautifully laid-out gardens which stand out by the splendid cactus walk. This is the perfect place to pop down a picnic blanket with your loved ones, enjoy dining alfresco style and enjoy the sun’s rays.

Rancho Texas Park

Dig out your cowboy hat for a day out at Lanzarote’s biggest theme park, Rancho Texas Park. The whole place is themed around the Wild West, and activities like pony rides, canoeing, and panning for gold are some of the big highlights. You can see tigers, snakes and giant tortoises in the Animal Magic zoo. The fun continues at night with a barbecue, line dancing, and cowboy show.

Cueva De Los Verdes

Visiting Cueva de Los Verdes is truly a spectacular and unique experience. One of the longest volcanic tunnels in the world, the Cueva de Los Verdes has been delighting visitors since it was opened to the public in 1964.

The Cuevas de Los Verdes were part of a 6-kilometre long lava tube which formed about 4000 years ago when Montana La Corona erupted. It forms one of the longest volcanic galleries in the world. The beauty of the caves is amazing and is definitely a site worth visiting.

So, whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday by the beach or a tourism-fuelled mini break, Lanzarote is the place for you. With sunny weather guaranteed, this popular island makes the perfect summer holiday.
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