Backpacking

Wetfoot and Arry, Vol. 7. Days 13 and 14: Resupply and Mosquitoes

Day 13: 16.1 Miles
We made our timehack. By several hours. Then we proceeded to be eaten alive while we waited. And now I am holed up in my tent, making myself sick, stuffing myself with Twizzlers.
Let me back up. It rained last night. What a surprise.
We got an early-morning start. Climbed up Little Boardman Mountain. You know how I feel about little mountains. As I was putting one foot in front of the other I realized my steps were no different than when I climbed Mount Fuji. ...

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10 Reasons Why You Should Sail the Croatian Coast

Sunshine, sea and sand. Relaxing, exploring and partying. Culture, sunsets and starry skies. There's no better way to experience all of these than by taking a cruise along the Croatian coast for a week.

By far, one of my all-time favorite trips has been the week I spent sailing the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia with my family and friends. Not only is Croatia an incredibly gorgeous country, but the whole experience of sailing from town to town in a ship filled with some of my best friends made the trip unforgettable.

 

Here are a few reasons why I think you should consider booking a cruise down the coast of Croatia as your next European adventure:

1. This is Not a Standard Cruise...

Let me just start off by saying: this is not a normal cruise.

When you think of a cruise, one of the first things that probably flashes to your mind is a huge luxury cruise liner with a movie theatre, multiple restaurants and a swimming pool with slides. Yes, cruises like that can be fun, but this is a totally different experience.

Whilst it does depend on the company you book with, many charter companies offer cruises on converted sailboats with enough cabins to fit between 18-40 people. The laidback atmosphere on-board is complemented by the fact that there's no dress code; walking around barefoot and in your bathing suit is perfectly acceptable. With no cinema, no live entertainment and no shopping malls on-board; you'll be forced to do things like: get to know your fellow travellers, read a book, or just appreciate the stunning views of the Croatian coastline.

My point is, even though this is not a standard cruise, it's going to be one of the best cruises of your life.

 

2. Sail During the Day, Party at Night

When looking for a Croatian cruise, try to find a company that sails during the day and allows you the luxury of exploring your destinations during the afternoons, evenings and nights. This will mean that you get breakfast and lunch on-board, but have each evening in a new location, giving you plenty of time to explore the city, have a laid-back dinner and then dance the night away at the awesome Croatian clubs and bars. Just make sure you're back on the boat in time for departure in the morning!

 

3. You Get to Explore Multiple Destinations

One of the best things about these cruises is that you can discover the essence of multiple cities within a short period of time without the stress of being on a normal cruise ship or having to drive between locations--your hotel room sails with you! To begin with, because you'll be on a small ship, you typically moor up to the pier which is often right in the middle of town, giving you the chance to return to your ship whenever you please as opposed to having to catch a tender boat back and forth between the shore and a cruise liner.

The small size of the ship also means that you can go to smaller towns which the big cruise liners can't visit. Additionally, as the only time restriction you have is to get back on the boat before it departs in the morning, you've got plenty of time in each destination to explore the city centre, visit museums and absorb the sunshine whilst learning about the culture and history of the Croatian town you are visiting.

 

4. Swim Stops in the Middle of Nowhere are Just Perfect

Sailing during the day is great! Not only will you be awake to see the gorgeous views of the Croatian coast, but most of the smaller Croatian cruise operators include daily swim breaks where the boat drops anchor for an hour or two in the sky-blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Gather your courage and jump from the railing of the ship into the sea or grab your snorkel and swim with the fish closer to the shore.

 

5. Meet Like-Minded People On-Board Your Ship

If you go on one of the cruises catering to younger people (under 35s), you're bound to meet like-minded students on-board your ship. There will be people from different countries who speak different languages, but everyone will be bound together by the same love for travel, adventure and fun.

Another option is to organize the trip with a group of friends - both big and small groups can work well on these ships! The afternoons on deck are a perfect time to learn about your new and old friends and their home cultures, swap stories about your travels and connect on Instagram or Facebook to keep in contact once the trip is over (some cruise operators offer WiFi, although you might find your dream Croatian cruise is the perfect place to disconnect for a while).

 

6. Ice Cream is a Staple Food (and the other foods are just as wonderful)

When you travel to hot countries, ice cream pretty much becomes a staple food, and it's perfectly okay to eat it at least once (if not more times) a day. In addition to the many wonderful ice cream parlours scattered around every city, there's a huge abundance of restaurants where you can grab dinner on shore. In most cruise packages, breakfast and lunch on-board the ship are included in the overall price, but what you eat for dinner is completely up to you! If you like seafood, Croatia is the place for you; the grilled calamari is particularly delicious.

 

7. There are so Many Epic Activities to Try

Once you've pulled into port in the afternoon, there are so many activities you can try. If you're into adventure, consider trying canyon walking, jet skiing, cliff jumping, white-water rafting, sea kayaking, cycling, or scuba diving. If you prefer culture and history, make sure you walk the city walls of Dubrovnik and climb to the top of the bell tower in Split.

Whilst almost all of these excursions will cost extra, it's definitely worth trying at least a few of them. Look into what special packages the cruise company offers; you may be surprised at what fun activities they provide special deals for! If you do decide to plan an adventurous excursion, make sure you talk to your cruise organiser and plan a few days in advance, as often there are logistics that would be impossible to arrange the day you arrive.

 

8. The Sunsets are Stunning

Make sure you bring your camera to Croatia; not only are the blue seas of the Adriatic perfect for photographing, but you're bound to see some stunning sunsets during your week of traveling the coast.

 

9. The Nights are Unforgettable

If you enjoy going out to dance the night away, Croatia has a varied nightlife which will definitely make for some experiences to remember. Each night you'll be in a new destination and have the opportunity to try out a different nightclub, and as long as you make it back onto the boat in time for departure in the morning, there's nothing stopping you from having a wild night surrounded by the friends you made on the ship.

If you stop for a night at Makarska, make sure you visit the Deep Nightclub where you can party in a cave just a few metres from where the sand and the sea meet. Another unique club is the Carpe Diem Beach, situated on an island accessible only by taxi boat, where you can watch the sun set over the city of Hvar before partying under the palm trees and a sky full of stars.

If you're not into clubbing or you're at a destination without a nightclub, consider going for a night stroll along a beach, watching the stars from the top deck of your boat or maybe even going to a concert or performance in town.

 

10. It's Not Actually That Expensive

Unlike the luxury cruise liners, which are usually too expensive for a student budget, if you book with the right company, sailing down the coast of Croatia doesn't actually have to be that expensive. It's almost like staying in a floating hostel; you're not paying much, so don't expect much from the sleeping arrangements.

You'll most probably be sharing a cabin with at least one other person, and will definitely be sharing bathrooms and showers. But it's not like sleeping arrangements matter too much because, let's be honest, how much time are you actually going to spend sleeping?

 

Prices vary depending on which company you sail with, which dates you go and which type of room you're looking at getting, but often it's possible to get tickets for under €550 ($600) for 7-nights including breakfast and lunch every day whilst cruising. Obviously things begin to get a little more expensive when you start adding on all of the fun extras, so make sure you look into what packages your cruise company offers with regards to adventures during the day and parties at night.

So, yes, maybe this won't be the luxury cruise you've always been imagined going on, but the laid back nature of a small-ship Croatian cruise, the places you go and the people you'll meet will all make your vacation down the coast of Croatia one that you'll never forget.

 

Some Croatian Cruises to Look Into:

- Navigator Cruises with Sail Croatia
- Young Fun Cruise with Katarina Line
- Pirate Cruise Croatia with Stoke Travel
- Cruise to the Beat (sailing and music festivals) with Busabout

 

Travel tip shared by College Tourist
www.thecollegetourist.com

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Slingfin Portal 2P Tent Review

The SlingFin Portal is a highly-livable and lightweight two-person tent with a spacious dome-shaped design that’s ideal for three-season use. But what sets the Portal apart from other tents is the ability to extend it for use in more extreme four-season winter conditions, including snow loads and high, buffeting winds, with virtually no added weight. …

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It Was the Worst – Best Idea Ever!

Last year was spent training every day for this year’s AT adventure. Part of my training was starting every day with a hot cup of coffee and reading The Trek. I not only read tales of the trail but at least a dozen and a half books, some twice to gleam any nugget of advice or recommendation on the trail. I attended a few classes at REI and hikes sponsored by other great outdoor stores. At one urban hike and talk, ...

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Dodging the Virginia Blues and More Than Halfway There

Virginia tends to be a love it or hate it state for many thru-hikers. The daunting number of miles that are ahead, the terrain, and the increasing heat and humidity are some of the challenges that hikers face in Virginia. Add in that for many hikers, Virginia is typically the time when the honeymoon period with thru-hiking tends to be ending and thru-hiking begins to become more of a new lifestyle rather than a vacation. All of this put together tends to cause some hikers to suffer from the Virginia Blues. ...

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Wetfoot and Arry. Vol 6. Days 11 and 12: Rain and Mountains

Day 11. 9.9 Miles
It rained off and on all night.  I woke up at 4:30 a.m., and decided to get a head start on the day. The forecast I have a screenshot of says. and I quote, “A chance of rain before 9 a.m. Then a chance of showers from 9 a.m. to noon. Then a chance of thunderstorms and showers after noon.” Yikes.
It was cold this morning.  I went to put on my sportsbra. ...

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The Top Food Museums of Europe

Experiencing the food of a culture affords you the opportunity to learn something that information pamphlets, architecture, and historical sites can’t always teach you.

That’s why when I travel it’s a priority to try as many local foods as possible. It gives me a deeper understanding and experience of the place and its people. Aside from that, I’m a foodie at heart and what better way to experience a new country than to savor new flavors.

During my European trip, there were a few food museums that I managed to visit. Here are some interesting museums that you should visit while trekking through Europe. While I usually share experiences that are outside of the tourist blinds, I found that visiting food museums is an easy way to explore the unique taste buds of Europe.

 

Best Food Museums of Europe

Choco Story Museum (Belgium)

Choco Story Museum is housed in a 15th century wine tavern, located in close proximity to the Market Place in Bruges. Dip into the history of the area and learn about the process of processing cocoa into chocolate at the Choco Story Museum. The museum is well known for its chocolate displays that captivate and educate its visitors. Some of the history at this museum dates back to the Aztec era and takes you on the journey right up until the present day. If you’re looking to make some chocolate at home, this is a good place to pick the brains of chocolate experts at the museum.

Of course, with it being a chocolate museum, chocolates are being made by hand and so guests are welcome to sample these delicious delights. What’s more, guests have the opportunity to watch live chocolate-making demonstrations. Before the end of the tour, be sure to pop into the small gift shop to sample from the lip-smacking pralines and perhaps purchase a few treats for yourself or family at home.

www.choco-story.be

 

Cork Butter Museum (Ireland)

Situated in the historic Shandon area of Cork City, the Cork Butter Museum is a unique institution, which celebrates the success story of Ireland in the butter trade.

Of course, the story begins where the making of butter begins – milk, which plays an integral role in the dairy culture of Ireland. The museum boasts the internationally renowned Butter Exchange in 19th century Cork along with the traditional craft of homemade butter and the modern success of the Kerrygold brand. In addition, the museum manages to feature the commercial, social and domestic side of life in Ireland.

There’s more. The museum also includes the gallery display that teaches visitors about the Irish practice, which preserves butter in bogs and the importance of milch cows and cattle raiding in medieval Ireland.

My favorite part:  exploring the ground floor that displays traditional butter making and a gallery dedicated to the culture of cattle and dairy in early Ireland. Here you’ll be able to see the high regard the Irish placed on cows in their society. You’ll discover that this practice is more than a source for butter and cheese but a measure of wealth and standing.

www.corkbutter.museum

 

Museum of Bread Culture (Germany)

The Museum of Bread Culture was founded in 1955 in Ulm, Germany. The museum features a collection of over 16, 000 objects and artworks. The collection relates to the origin, history and transformation of bread, which include paintings and sculptures. The museum is housed in the historic 16th century building called the Salt Barn.

What I found interesting at the museum is the indispensable popularity, bread had in the past and even today in human culture and civilization. It is the foundation of most meals around the world.

The culture of the bread museum is probably not something many people will consider due to its global standing. Willy Eiselen and Hermann Eiselen began a bread enterprise in 1955 which presented an exhibition dedicated to the culture around bread. It was the first of its kind and remained a private institute until 1991. Now, it is one the largest charitable foundations in the world.

Today the museum is home to 16, 000 artifacts related to the history of bread and remains open to the public. Even though it is a museum dedicated to bread, you wouldn’t find a crumb in the museum, which reflects the belief of the founders that bread is not an artifact but food that should be “freshly baked every day”.

For the avid history enthusiast, part of the museum is dedicated to 600 illustrations that describe bread in its many forms. Count in the art and equipment at the museum, and you’re exposed to the largest known collection that revolves around bread culture throughout European history.

www.museum-brotkultur.de

 

Gelato Museum (Italy)

The Gelato Museum is located in the Carpigiani headquarters at Anzola dell’Emilia in an industrial space. It has been transformed into an innovative structure with a specific focus on the study and analysis of the historic significance of gelato in Italy’s history.

Visit the Gelato Museum in Italy and explore everything there is to know about gelato, which has since become a global sensation. Learn about the innovators who drove its evolution over the centuries.

Dating back to its inception up until today, the museum displays an interactive tour that highlights the themes around gelato, these include: 1)the evolution of gelato, 2) the history of production technology, and 3) the places and ways it is consumed.

What’s more, the museum is home to various artifacts and information regarding gelato, such as: 1)20 original machines 2)multimedia presentations, 3)thousands of historical images and documents 4)tools and accessories and 5)original video interviews.

www.gelatomuseum.com

 

While the above-listed museums may have a focus on a particular type of food, I found that the information gave me a fresh perspective into how the role of these ingredients integrated into the culture and history of the each country.

For sure, travelling should include breath taking scenery and historic sites but when it comes to understanding the culture and its people, it’s essential to experience their foods. I can confidently say that exploring a country from a foodie’s perspective contributed to my understanding of a continent that is filled with beautiful diversity.

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SOBO Experiences on Katahdin and in the 100-Mile Wilderness

Miles One – 114.5
Climbing Katahdin
After a restless night at the AT Lodge, I was more excited than a kid on Christmas morning to climb Katahdin. I knew it was basically a jungle gym for adults filled with boulders, rebars, and lots of elevation. I went into the experience fairly humbled, but I still got my ass handed to me. Katahdin was a tough hike, and was made tougher when a thunderstorm rolled in as we began to descend. ...

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5 Unusual Things To Do in Venice

Venice is one of the most known Italian cities, so maybe many people may think that Venice cannot have any secret...

But this is not true!

Venice is charming not only thanks to its romance atmosphere, small calle, canals, bridges and breathtaking views on Canal Grande. It is unique above all thanks to its ancient tradition and unique history: only in one city in the world you can find Gondola like usual transportation or you can take part in an unforgettable Carnival, to relive the Middle Ages when a masks meant liberty and transgression!

If it is not your first visit in Venice and you have already explored Rialto Bridge, St. Mark Basilica and Ducale Palace, it's time to discover the Secret Venice!

 

Here below my 5 tips on unusual things do to in Venice:

1. Gondola ride…but with cicchetti tasting!

A gondola ride is something classic, a must not to be missed. But why don't take advantage of a real local Venetian and ask for a stop in a real bacaro?!?!! A bacaro is a typical restaurant where you can taste the cicchetti, different fish snacks with a glass of wine...a real "Venetian aperitivo"! Or add a secret Venice guided walking tour after your ride?

 

2. Murano glass workshop

A stop in Murano island is another must, but also in this case you can live an unique and unusual experience. Indeed it is possible to take part in a workshop to make your jewel in Murano glass, like a real Italian craftsman!

 

3. Carnival mask workshop

The Carnival of Venice is one of the most ancient and important in the world. Taking part at the Carnival of Venice could be really expensive, and you can learn more about its history taking part in a workshop. You'll breathe the atmosphere of a real mask atelier, between paper mache, colors and tempera and you'll realize your own mask showing your artistic creativity!

 

4. Helicopter tour...only for the brave

The emotions of fly over Venice, St. Mark Square, the Venetian Lagoon or Murano and Burano island are really unique! It is a different way to explore the city and to remain fascinated by the breathtaking views

 

5. The secret churches

An itinerary for art lovers cannot miss a stop in the Jewish ghetto, rich in secrets and charming churches, like Santa Maria dell’Orto Church. Other two lesser known churches rich in art masterpieces of Canova and Titian are the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and the Church of Santa Maria della Salute

 

What are you waiting for to discover the city of love and water from a different perspective with these Venice tours?

If you want to learn more check out the fun online language learning tool from Babbel (you can try the first lesson for free!).

 

EXTRA: Do not forget a good travel insurance before you go

We highly recommend to get a good travel insurance as most likely your standard health insurance won’t work abroad. We at Travel Dudes recommend the awarded Travel Insurance by WorldNomads which you can easily purchase online for the exact time needed.

 

Travel tip shared by Fashion Tour
www.fashion-tour.com

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The Error Fare: A Success Story

What is an Error Fare

An Error Fare is when an airline or travel agency booking system offers lower fares than usual due to some sort of system glitch. They occasionally leave off certain taxes, fees or surcharges which can dramatically reduce a ticket price. 

While in the grand scheme of things the occurrence is very rare, it is not surprising as many of these booking systems are now very old and would require huge investment to renew. Meaning the airlines tend to let these go through as leakage and would in most cases honor any bookings made. 

When an Error Fare pops up there tends to be an online frenzy as people from all over the world try to make dates work and book at the same time, hoping the airline doesn't find and fix the problem before they book. Usually they don't fit into people's travel plans and are not from/or to convenient airports. However, with every rule comes an exception. 

 

A Personal Example of Using an Error Fare

Last year I knew early on that I would need to be in Europe and Brazil for separate weddings within a week of each other. Living in New York this was going to be a stretch financially, based on “normal airfares”. However, along came an Error Fare to my rescue. 

One morning in March Twitter exploded with a TAP Fare starting in the US and ending in Brazil with a stop in Lisbon. It was perfect and I jumped on it ending up with two flights New York to Lisbon on September 8th and Lisbon to São Paulo the following week on September 12th. The fare cost $210 and I even could have added extra legs to it in Europe and onward in Brazil had I not panic bought as soon as I saw it. To put in perspective the same flights with TAP this year are well over $1,000.

Booking the main flights so early gave me ample time to work on my itinerary within Europe and in South America. Using a mixture of discount airlines and Air miles this turned into a pretty epic trip taking in 8 countries and using 10 different airlines. In addition TAP use the bid upgrade system allowing you to bid for an upgrade to business class. I entered the minimum of $325 for the JFK-LIS leg and it was accepted. So the trip started in style.

 

Tips for Booking Error Fares

When an Error Fare pops up and it fits travel plans, book it. The worst that can happen is the airline cancels it. So maybe hold off on hotels etc. until a period of time has passed and your ticket is confirmed. But if you are flexible and a little adventurous book it and come up with a plan. I missed an Air Philippines fare to Cebu round trip a few months back. It was under $200 and I pulled out at the last minute. While Cebu is a little out of the way, it is A) probably worth a visit and B) has cheap connections to all over Asia. 

 

Keep an eye out for any error and bargain fares and travel widely for much less.

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