Travel

Game of Thrones Shooting Locations in Girona, Spain

Watch out, this post contains spoilers.

Girona is a city just forty minutes from Barcelona. It’s home to beautiful architecture, delicious food, stunning scenery, and coolest of all: shooting sites for Game of Thrones (GOT). Girona is super accessible by either train, bus, or car share, and if you’re a fan of the show, we definitely recommend visiting Girona during your time in Barcelona. 

Season 6 of Game of Thrones was filmed more in Spain than past seasons, and Girona was used for some parts of the King’s Landing and Old Town. Many scenes showing Braavos were also shot in Girona. 

 

The Monastery of Girona

The Monastery of Girona, also known as Sant Pere de Galligants, was used as the Citadel in Oldtown that Samwell Tarley goes to to train as a Maester. He also brings Gilly and Sam along with him in this scene. 

The monastery itself dates back to 992 AD and was built by monks just outside Girona’s original city wall. Since 1857, it has served as the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia. 

 

Plaza del Jurats

These days, Plaza del Jurats is used for local concerts and theatre in the city, making this square even more perfect as the shooting location for the play that Arya watches which depicts the lives and deaths of her family members. 

 

The stabbing of Arya Stark

Before Arya watches the play, she is sent to Plaza del Jurats to kill Lady Crane. Instead, she warns her about the Waif. As a result, the Waif stabs Arya in the stomach as she tries to escape by jumping off a bridge. The bridge in question is located between the Monastery and Plaza del Jurats, meaning that fans can see all three of these locations within walking distance of each other. 

 

Streets in Girona

The majority of Arya Stark’s scene were in fact filmed on the streets of Girona. One scene, when Arya is temporarily blind and a beggar was filmed on the steps of Carrer del Bisbe Cartañà. This is also where Arya’s training with the Waif was shot.

Another scene filmed within the streets of the city is the one where Arya jumps and falls into the food market to escape the Waif. This scene was filmed on the steps of the Sant Marti Sacosta church. Ayra then rolls down Pujada Sant Domenec, the street that leads from the church into downtown Girona. Continuing her escape through various alleyways, she passes through the city’s Carrer Sant Lorenc, a dark alley with archways and walls made of stone. 

 

Girona’s Arab Baths

In her escape from the Waif, Arya eventually ends up in the Banys Arabs, Girona’s Arab Baths. Built in the late 12th century, these baths were in public use for at least two centuries. Since then, they have been privately owned and later restored by the government of Catalonia in the 1920’s. 

 

Girona Cathedral 

La Catedral de Santa Maria, Girona’s Cathedral, is an important landmark that was repeatedly used during season 6 as the Sept of Baelor. One important scene filmed at the cathedral is Margaery’s atonement, shot on the steps just outside.

At the end of the season, the building is destroyed by Cersei Lannister in a fiery green blaze. Although this scene was shot using CGI, the building is still recognisable as the Cathedral of Girona.

 

As a city, Girona is full of mediaeval architecture and landmarks- great for any dedicated and hard-core Game of Thrones fan.

We also recommend visiting the defensive wall around Girona for fantastic views of the city which include the cathedral, the monastery, and the surrounding mountains. 

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Hiking Innsbruck: The Nordkette

The trip was called an „Adventure Trip“. But what would you call an adventure?

An adventure to one, isn't really an adventure for someone else. Was our trip an adventure? It's up to you to decide!

Our two days in Innsbruck were definitely a lot of fun!

The conference came to an end and Innsbruck Tourism organized a few different activities, which also inluded hiking in Innsbruck. Sure, I had to choose the Adventure Trip. After a long Saturday night, which was the last night with the rest of the fun group together, I just had 1,5 hours sleep! Thank You!

 

Day one got us all the way up into the sourrounding mountains of Innsbruck. Luckily we didn't had to walk all the way up, as there is a cable car connection right from the Innsbruck city centre. Which came even handier was, that Innsbruck Tourism provides their guests with walking shoes... For Free! That is what I call a service!

You'll find a shoe depot right at the entrance of the Seilbahn.

The right shoes chosen, we arrived at the top minutes later. There was no chance to fell asleep! It had snowed during the night and the fresh air kept me and the others awake.

Off we went! Right up! After a couple of steps I wished I would have slept a bit more. Was it the lack of sleep or the high attitude or that I haven't done much sports lately?

My breathing was slow and I had to fight with each step.

In these moments it's good to have a photo camera with you. This gives you the chance to snap a few pictures and to rest. ;-)

 

But in the end, you have to get through it and you know that it's pretty much just a mind thing. That's where the lack of sleep helps you again. Just concentrate on your next step and keep on walking. Easy as that.

The paths were exciting and the surrounding scenery was stunning!

Up the hill... down the hill... up the hill... sliding down the fields of loose rocks... up again... Reaching the top... What an amazing view!

What an amazing day!

Into the valley again, where we had a yummy lunch in the sun. I could have stayed there much longer! But as the hut was on the wrong side of the mountain, we still had to walk up that hill again. And it was a loooong upwards hike. But even tougher was, that we've decided to walk all the way down into the valley. Remember, we first took the Seilbahn all the way up. So we still had quite a way in front of us and just downhill. We made it of course, but my knees thanked me for it, the following 2 days.

The following day we did some wildwater rafting on the river Inn and in the afternoon we did some canyoning. Wow! Each would be a highlight itself and we had the pleasure to do it in one single day!

...to be continued...

 

Do you like hiking in the mountains? Where have you been & which hike would you recommend?

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Tips to Experience the Côte d’Azur on a Budget

The Cote d’Azur, notably Cannes, is the ideal place to immerse yourself in the French Riviera's glamor. This is how to do it on a limited budget!

Lamborghinis and Ferraris adorn the streets, beautiful people sunbathing on the beach and casinos pick up their best customers by helicopter from their yacht (yes this actually happens).

All this may seem unreachable for those who do not have a million budget, but there are many ways to share the festivities on the Cote d'Azur without ruining themselves.

 

Here are Our Insider Tips for Visiting Cote d’Azur on a Budget

1. Rent an Apartment

There are thousands of holiday apartments on the Cote d'Azur that are empty for much of the year, and you can make some really great bargains in Cannes - a four-person apartment in the Pointe Croissette area can go as little as £200 a week.

However, prices rise sharply in May when the major film festival takes place as in August, which is a popular tourist month.

September and Spring are the best times of the year for those who want to make a bargain and the weather usually also be good enough for beach visits. I suggest checking out Cannes Estate for a beautiful newly renovated apartment for a bargain price!

 

2. Eat Like the French

Your biggest expense on the river will undoubtedly be your food. Prices are high both at restaurants and in local shops. The solution is the Carrefour Supermarket in Antibes and Nice where you can make really good bargains and pack up with food to cook yourself.

Eat locally: freshly baked bread and cheese is an unbeatable combination that does not cost the shirt.

 

3. Check for Restaurant Deals

There are some phenomenal restaurants along the coast, but they usually come with phenomenal prices too.

Check out the carte du jour (today's menu) which may contain some great deals, especially at lunchtime. If you are looking for something really affordable, check out the PhilCat kiosk in Cannes which serves huge lunch salads for a couple of euros or queue for Pizza and Co in Antibes.

The family-run La Sousta in Cannes also offers tasty and reasonably priced dinners for just over SEK 100 per head course.

If you really want to get away with something, try the 350-kronor menu at the trendy Mantel restaurant - here you will be served with an incredible three-course menu for the price of one of their main courses.

 

4. Take a Budget Flight

The easiest and cheapest way to get to the Cote d'Azur is by plane to Nice.

From Sweden you can fly with the low cost airline directly from Stockholm Arlanda and Göteborg Landvetter. Accommodation in southern Sweden flies smoothly with Norwegian from Kastrup. The price of an air ticket to Nice is on average a thousand dollars return and slightly higher in the summer months.

 

5. Take the Bus

For the transfer to and from the airport in Nice, the best option is the local bus, a trip that costs only 15 kronor (alternatively you can buy ten tickets for 100 kronor and save money on future trips).

Bus number 200 takes you all the way to Cannes (timetable is available here), but be prepared for the journey to be long. Bus number 8, with open ceilings, is not only cheap (15 SEK per trip) but also gives you a great view of the city.

 

6. Experience the Local Culture on a Budget

The Matisse Museum in Nice has a collection of artwork by local artist Henri Matisse, and best of all: entry is free.

Another must be the hill in Antibes with a guy on the top, from here you get the best view of the superyachts in Antibes harbor and in Fréjus there is a Roman amphitheater to admire. Finally, no trip to the French Riviera would be complete without a visit to beautiful Monaco. All the aforementioned cities are easily reached, and not least cheap, by train. A return trip from Cannes to Monaco costs around 180 kronor.

 

7. Set the Screen on the Beach

Large parts of the coast consist of private beaches where a sun lounger can cost up to 300 kronor a day. But there are also public beaches that are free to visit and where the sunbeds on average cost 40 kronor.

Bijou Plage, a general beach at the Pointe Croissette in Cannes, is a sandy beach with excellent opportunities for snorkeling. In the area around Cap d'Antibes there are a lot of cliffs where you can sunbathe for free.

Exclusive Plage Garoupe on the east side of Cap also has a small public beach and many rocks to snuggle around. The beaches are often frequented during the weekends, so plan your visit during a weekday. But if the temperature is below 24 degrees, you probably will have the beach for yourself - local residents usually stay away during the "cold" days.

Feel free to share a bottle of rose on the beach and enjoy the sunset, an excellent alternative to an expensive wine at the restaurant.

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Top Tourist Places to Visit in Coorg

Coorg, also known as the Scotland of India, is the most charming hill station in Karnataka.

Coorg is well known for its breathtakingly exotic scenery and lush greenery. Coorg is the largest producer of Coffee in India and also one of the top destinations of Karnataka Tourism. 

Coorg or Kodagu is an unforgettable holiday destination due to its misty hills, lush forest, tea and coffee plantations, orange groves, undulating streets and breathtaking views.

Raja’s Seat, Abbey Falls, Iruppu Falls, Omkareshwara Temple, Bylakuppe, Talacauvery and Dubare are the top tourist places to visit in Coorg.

Talacauvery, Brahmagiri Sanctuary and Nagarhole National Park are other popular Coorg attractions. Coorg is also famous for trekking activities with peaks like Thandiyandamol, Brahmagiri and Pushpagiri.

 

Must-Visit Tourist Attractions in Coorg

Raja’s Seat

Raja’s Seat is a popular sunset point in Madikeri. It is a small pavilion built on a high elevation with a commanding view of the cliffs and valleys.

This lovely spot was a favorite place of recreation for the Kings of Coorg. Today it is one of the famous Coorg tourist places and is visited by tourists throughout the year.

 

Madikeri Fort

Madikeri Fort is a historical landmark and one of the most famous tourist attractions of Coorg.

The fort is situated in the center of Madikeri town and still preserves its old charm. The fort was first built by Mudduraja in the last quarter of the 17th century CE.

There is mud palace inside the fort and it has a unique sculpture of a tortoise with the initials of King Vijayarajendra engraved on it.

 

Dubare Elephant Camp

Dubare Elephant Camp is an elephant training center situated on the banks of the river Cauvery and is one of the most famous places to visit in Coorg. Dubare Camp is a project undertaken by forest department and jungle lodges & resorts.

The Elephants used for Mysore Dussehra are trained at this camp. Rafting at Dubare is one of the popular things to do in Coorg. Visitors can also participate in various activities involving Elephants which include elephant bath, feeding and safari.

 

Golden Temple — Bylakuppe

Golden Temple or Namdroling Monastery is a beautiful Buddhist Monastery situated at Bylakuppe.The complex is huge and it houses 40 feet high gilded images of Guru Padmasambhava, Buddha Sakyamuni and Amitayus.

It is one of the best places to experience Coorg Tourism.

 

Cauvery Nisargadhama

Cauvery Nisargadhama is a man-made island formed by the River Cauvery and it spreads over a sprawling 35-acre land.

Machans (tree top shelters) and pargola (wall less shelters), pedal boating, elephant riding and a deer park are the major attractions here. The island is accessible through a hanging rope bridge.

 

Talacauvery

Talacauvery is a beautiful place and the origin of the Cauvery River situated on the slopes of the Brahmagiri mountain range.

There is a small square tank called Cauvery Kundike or Brahma Kundike, which is considered to be the birth place of River Cauvery and is one of the top pilgrimage places to visit in Coorg.

This place also has a small temple dedicated to Goddess Cauvery and also consists of shrines dedicated to Lord Agastheeshwara and Lord Vinayaka.

 

Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park is one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India and also one of the top tourist attractions in Coorg.

The park has rich flora and covered with small streams, hills, valleys, and waterfalls.

The important animals in Nagarhole National Park are tiger, leopard, wild dog, sloth bear, the hyena, spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, four-horned antelope, gaur, wild boar and elephant.

 

Irupu Falls

Iruppu Falls is a magnificent waterfalls situated in the Brahmagiri Hills of Coorg. Also known as Lakshmana Tirtha Falls, it is one of the best waterfalls in Karnataka and also one of the well-known Coorg tourist places.

Cascading down from a height of 170 feet through several stages, the falls are situated amidst thick forest of western Ghats and offers great views of the nature.

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Get Elevated: Places to Skydive in the US

Are you afraid of heights? Petrified of planes? Phobic to plummeting to Earth’s surface at close to 120 miles per hour?

Well, there’s no better exposure therapy to get over those fears than to go skydiving on your next vacation!

With the recent surge of interest in skydiving, hundreds of professional skydiving companies have sprouted up across the nation.

Pretty much every major tourist city has its own special skydiving company. The obvious question you’re probably now asking is: which one is the best?

Fear not, in this article we’ll share four of the best-reviewed American skydiving locations for an unforgettable free fall.

 

Four Unbelievable Skydiving Locations in the US

Mokuleia, Hawaii

What better way to take in Hawaii than by plummeting toward the island of Oahu?

Headquartered in the city of Mokuleia, Skydive Hawaii is one of the top-reviewed skydiving companies in the world.

Skydive Hawaii offers three tandem skydiving adventures to choose from: 12,000 feet, 14,000 feet, and an insane 20,000 feet drop.

As you’re free falling and parachuting, you’ll get to see some awesome views of Oahu’s North Shore and Pearl Harbor. Since Hawaii is such a hot tourist draw, be sure you book your skydiving adventure well in advance.

 

Snohomish, Washington

No list of the best US skydiving spots would be complete without Washington State’s Skydive Snohomish.

If you’ve heard of this company before, that’s probably because it was one of the few American companies on the Travel Channel’s top 9 list of the best places skydiving locations on earth.

Located in Harvey Field, about a 40-minute drive from Seattle, Skydive Snohomish boasts impressive views of nearby snowy peaks in the Cascades Mountain Range.

For those who don’t mind frigid temps, definitely look into booking a skydiving trip with the pros at Skydive Snohomish.

 

Moab, Utah

Another American skydiving company on that famous Travel Channel list was Skydive Moab in Utah’s Arches National Park.

Anyone who enjoys the sandstone scenery of Western USA will love a drop in Moab. As you take your 25-minute flight, you’ll get to see all the highlights of Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and the ever-popular Slickrock Mountain.

Skydive Moab has been in business for three entire generations, so you can be sure you’re in good hands here.

 

Key West, Florida

Everyone who loves a good party eventually finds their way to Ernest Hemingway’s old hangout.

What better way to live it up in this crazy Key West than by booking a skydiving flight with Skydive Key West? On your 15-minute flight, you’ll get to see some of Key West’s exotic fauna as well as the iconic Seven Mile Bridge.

After your flight time is up, get ready to free fall 120 mph with your instructor for 40 seconds before opening your parachute. Note, Skydive Key West doesn’t offer solo skydiving.

 

Honestly, is there anything more badass than a skydiving selfie? Probably not. So, if your social profiles need a fresh update, then it’s time for you to get those highly coveted skydiving bragging rights.

Any of the above destinations is certain to give you an awesome backdrop for your skydiving photos.

Simply choose the location that suits your preferences, book your flight, and get ready for the ride of your life!

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Great Places to Visit in France

France is the most popular destination for tourists in the world, annually receiving some 82 million visitors from around the globe. 

It attracts a wide variety of tourists. Some come for the art, the culture, the history of the country, or to marvel at its numerous world-famous landmarks.

Others are attracted by its picturesque countryside and impressive architecture. Still, others visit France for the famed quality of its cuisine and its wine.

Whether you are visiting France for these, or any of a host of other reasons, there is always something for every visitor. With hundreds of flights from the UK to France every day, there has never been a better time to visit.

 

Here are Five of the Best Places to Visit in France:

Marseille

Marseille is one of the largest cities in France, second only to Paris, and is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Located on the country’s south-east coast, it remains a major seaport in the Mediterranean.

Though very much a working city, Marseille is an ideal spot for anyone wishing to soak up a little European history.

From Roman ruins to medieval buildings, and a pair of old forts that dominate the busy harbor, there is much to occupy any visitor. With your travel through time completed, you can take a walk along the harbor itself, and discover its myriad of bars, shops and waterfront cafes. 

 

Lyon

Lyon is a city steeped in history. With a continuous history of habitation stretching back to Roman times, it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1998.

The city is home to numerous parks and plazas, including the 2200 hectare Grand Parc de Miribel-Jonage which is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to take a stroll.

As well its historical association with architecture and the arts, Lyon is famed for its vibrant modern cultural scene. A popular destination for gourmets, the city is renowned for the quality of its cuisine, and the high standards of its bars, restaurants, and cafes.

 

Strasbourg

Cheap flights to Strasbourg take you right to the border between Germany and France, and the historical capital of the former Alsace region.

A unique blend of the historical and the modern, the city demonstrates its organic blending of German and French architecture in which may be found museums and galleries stood shoulder-to-shoulder with cafes, shops, and patisseries.

Ancient buildings like its Gothic cathedral share city space with important modern institutions like the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights.

 

Bordeaux

Another major city port, Bordeaux is a spectacular and bustling city, filled with attractions for the visitor. The city centre includes more than 300 historical landmarks from the famous 19th Ponte de Pierre stone bridge that spans the majestic Garonne River, to the sixth-century Basilica of Saint-Seurin, and many beautiful plazas.

Of course, Bordeaux is famous for its wine, and visits to the surrounding vineyards are a popular day-trip for many tourists, as they pass by impressive chateaux and picturesque villages en route to the wine-making region.

 

Paris

Being responsible for over half of the country’s annual influx of tourists, France’s capital is well-deserving of its reputation as the jewel in the country’s crown.

With cheap flights daily to the city, you will soon find yourself among some of the most notorious landmarks in the world: the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Tuileries Gardens, the Place de la Bastille, the Opera House and, of course, the Eiffel Tower.

Art lovers will delight in the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay and the artist’s quarter of Montmartre, including the impressive Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, which dominates the largest hill and highest point in the city.

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Must Visit Places in Hampi

Hampi is a small village located on the banks of Tungabhadra River in the South Indian state of Karnataka.

A renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi village stands within the ruins of Vijayanagara city, the former capital of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. Also known as Pampa-Kshetra or Kishkindha-Kshetra, the name Hampi is derived from Pampa, the old name of Tungabhadra River. It is one of the top places to visit in Karnataka and also one of the best heritage sites in India.

Book accommodation in Hampi.

Hampi is a most important place in terms of architecture and its history. Hampi was an extremely important part of Vijayanagara Empire and also one of the richest and largest cities in the world during 15th and 16th centuries. The ruins of the palaces and temples in Hampi stand testimony to the wealth and grandeur of the Vijayanagara Kings. The ruins of Hampi are spread over an area of more than 26 Sq.km and are divided into two broad areas; the Hampi Bazaar area and the Royal center.

 

5 must visit places in Hampi

Hampi Bazaar

Hampi Bazaar, also known as Virupaksha Bazaar, is located in front of the historic Virupaksha Temple in Hampi.

About a kilometer long, the bazaar starts from the temple entrance and ends at the foothill of the Matanga Hill. Hampi Bazaar is one of the top Hampi tourist places. It has a series of old pavilions on both sides and was the place where merchants used to sell precious stones, jewellery, silk clothes, etc. during Vijayanagara Empire. Yeduru Basavanna, a huge Nandi is located at the eastern end of the street.

There is also a photo gallery near the bull that displays the photos of Hampi taken by Alexander Greenlaw in 1856 CE.

 

Vittala Temple

Vittala Temple is an ancient monument located on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra River in the historical town of Hampi.

Also known as Vijaya Vittala Temple, it is the most famous and popular tourist attraction in Hampi. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is well-known for its beautiful architecture and unmatched craftsmanship. The entire temple complex houses several small temples, enclosures, pavilions and halls. One of the main attractions of the temple are its marvelously created pillared halls that reflect true wonders of architecture along with a gigantic stone chariot. This is one of the three famous stone chariots in India, the other two being in Konark and Mahabalipuram and is enshrined Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.

 

Royal Enclosure

The Royal Enclosure in Hampi is a huge fortified area that was once the seat of power of the Vijaynagara rulers.

Spread over an area of 59,000 square meters, the Royal Enclosure contains the ruins of several palace bases, water tanks, temples, ornate platform and canals and many other structures. Some of the important structures of the Royal Enclosure are the King’s Audience Hall or Durbar Hall, stepped tank, an underground chamber and the Mahanavami Dibba to the commonly called Dasara Dibba.

Now, it is basically a wide open ground consisting of a number of small shelters.

 

Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex

Hemakuta Temple Complex is a cluster of ancient temples situated on the Hemakuta hill just beside Virupaksha Temple in Hampi.

This golden hillock is one of the most charming hillocks in Hampi and is dotted by over fifty ruined structures which include temples, mandapas, galleries and gateways of various sizes. More than 35 temples, built in the 9th to 14th Century AD, are located on this Hill and are dedicated to Lord Shiva. It offers excellent view of Hampi Bazaar and Virupaksha temple.

Hemakuta Hill is one of the top places of sightseeing in Hampi and also one of the best one day trips from Bangalore.

 

Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple, also known as Pampapathi Temple, is an ancient temple located at the western end of Hampi Bazaar in Hampi. Renowned as one of the oldest functioning temples in India, Sri Virupaksha Temple is a 7th-century temple dedicated to Lord Virupaksha, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple is the part of the Group of Monuments at Hampi, designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is one of the top places of pilgrimage in Karnataka and also one of the top places to visit in Hampi. The annual chariot festival in February and marriage festivities of Virupaksha and Pampa in December are the major festival at this temple. 

At present, the main temple consists of a sanctum, three ante chambers, a pillared hall and an open pillared hall. A pillared cloister, entrance gateways, courtyards, smaller shrines and other structures surround the temple.

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Things to Do in Jurong, Singapore

Jurong is one of the finest and power-packed regions of Singapore city. 

Plan your travel well by looking for options that will save you money and time. Buses are the more preferred option for traveling to and around Singapore. You can take tickets from  redbus and avoid all worries of traveling. 

 

Here are some suggestions for how to spend a day or two in Jurong:

Be a Ghostbuster

This one isn’t for the faint of heart.

Jalan Bahar is said to be haunted as it used to be a cemetery before. So if you are into the paranormal and want to check for yourself if the rumours hold true, why not pay a visit to the place?

 

Shop Till You Drop

A speciality of Singapore is that you will never tire of shopping in Jurong. From streets lined with the best in fashion, accessories, electronics and more, to the recreation of Hong Kong’s streets in malls such as Jurong Point Mall, shopping here is an entirely different experience. 

You can also visit JCube also known as Bugist Street. JCube was doing quite well before other malls opened in the vicinity. The entire mall has been revamped quite recently with an entire level dedicated to youngsters who are looking for some of the best products at dirt cheap prices. This has given the mall a happening vibe. 

Other things that you can indulge in at JCube is ice skating. It is one of the only two places available in Singapore. This mall carries everything that a mall in a suburb would need.

Equipped with fast food outlets to restaurants and even an economical theatre on the top level.  If you are in the mood of shopping you have definitely come to the right place. You can also go for souvenir shopping at the souvenir shops here which are known to sell significant Singaporean products at reasonable prices. Make sure to visit this place when in Singapore. 

 

Jumping in the Trampoline Park

Time to be a child again! Unwind, de-stress and burn off those extra calories at the same time as you jump about silly at the AMPED Trampoline Park here. This place is best enjoyed with a group of friends as you can challenge each other to sillier tasks.

 

Take a Stroll in the Jurong Eco Garden

Known as the green lung of the Clean Tech Park, a place of respite for the working community within the business park, residential community in the vicinity and the natural wildlife that make the unique ecology of the site.

Situated at the center of the clean tech park, Jurong Eco Garden diverges itself into different themes that intersperse with building parcels. 

 

How About a Picnic at the Chinese and Japanese Gardens?

Built in 1975 and designed by Professor Yuen-chen Yu, a well-known architect from Taiwan, the Chinese Garden is modeled along the northern Chinese Imperial style of architecture and landscaping.

On your way out, remember to cross the connecting bridge to the Japanese garden to see some Zen gardens before heading home.

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Romania’s Attractions You Must Visit

Whenever fellow travelers asked me where I’m from, to which I replied Romania, the usual responses were :-

‘Oh, land of vampires! I’ve never been but want to go see Dracula’s Castle!’,

or ‘I’ve never been but I heard it’s beautiful! Any suggestions on what to visit?’.  

Soon enough I realized that HRH Prince Charles does a better job at promoting his beloved Transylvania (where he owns 2 guesthouses!) than local authorities do.  So it’s up to us, locals, to do our part and tell people about our country’s beauty and some of its best attractions – and the list is quite long!

Sitting at the crossroads between Western culture, Balkan spirit and Oriental influences, Romania is a melting pot of cultures, customs and influences from neighboring countries. 

Going for a walk in Romanian cities can take you from modern skyscrapers to medieval or Belle Époque times, while young crowds gather in trendy coffee shops and bars. 

Outside of major cities you’ll see unspoiled landscapes with rolling hills dotted with traditional villages where locals live is as they did 50 years ago.  And going deeper into the country you’ll be met by the dramatic Carpathian Mountains home to a rich wildlife and the largest brown bear population in Europe. Did I mention the plot-twisting history we had? The large number of castles and citadels will speak for that!

Really, for those of you who’ve never been to Romania – there’s a big surprise in store for you! And for those returning – you already have a taste of Romania and therefore should know there’s so much more to discover! 

 

Here are 5 of Romania’s most interesting sights you should consider visiting:

Corvin Castle – a Gothic-Renaissance Jewel

If it weren’t for the Dracula myth boosting Bran Castle’s popularity, Corvin (Hunyadi) Castle would surely be the #1 medieval attraction in Romania!  This gorgeous Gothic-Renaissance jewel is no less than 600 years old and is one of the best-preserved castles in Europe.  No wonder Huffington Post named it as ‘one of the ten most fairy tale-like constructions of this kind in the world’.

This medieval fortress was used as a residence by feudal lords and belonged to the famous Corvin dynasty that ruled Hungary and parts of Transylvania.  There are many legends surrounding the castle’s symbol – a raven with a golden ring in his beak – which you can find out more about if you visit the castle. 

Located in Central Romania in Hunedoara, Corvin Castle can be visited all year-round on day trips from Timisoara, Sibiu or Cluj-Napoca.

 

The Danube Delta – Nature’s Miracle Garden

One of Romania’s top natural attractions, the Danube Delta is Europe’s newest patch of land, a natural biosphere formed by the Danube River before it flows into the Black Sea.  This area is 3 times bigger than Greater London and over 3,500 animal species and 1,700 plant species live through its canals, river beds and patches of lands.  Think of it as a huge outdoor living natural museum that you can visit from a boat!

Besides the rich wildlife, tourists (especially photographers) will be impressed by the natural landscapes infused with sunrise light (the Delta faces the East) and the fish-based cuisine of the locals who, by the way, preserve their authentic charm and fishermen way of life. The Danube Delta is a unique natural attraction in Europe – and the world – but travelers should be mindful of its importance as a natural habitat and visit responsibly.

If you want to visit the Danube Delta then you should aim for April – October, spend at least 2-3 days and consider hiring a locally-licensed guide because navigating its canals and knowing the best spots for wildlife watching require lots of on-the-ground knowledge.

 

The City of Sibiu - Living Cultural History

Ah, Sibiu – where should I begin? 2007 European Capital of Culture, ranked 8th by Forbes as Europe’s most idyllic cities and 6th most charming by Huffington Post, the city of Sibiu is truly one of Romania’s best getaway destinations for locals or foreign tourists alike!

Also known by its German name Hermanstadt, the city is representative for Transylvania’s multiculturalism and displays many signs of its Saxon heritage. It has a rich and varied cultural agenda with international renowned events for theater, jazz and other arts, and a booming food scene drawing on modern reinterpretations of Transylvania’s rural gastronomy. Much like Brasov, Romania’s other ‘darling’ city, Sibiu’s medieval air can be felt everywhere – whether in large open squares where people enjoy a drink or meal with friends (Upper Town) or in the narrow cobbled-stone streets where sturdy houses have small details to offer (Lower Town).  Did I mention how friendly and welcoming the locals are?  They’re very proud of their city and heritage – just ask them about it!

And since we’re entering the festive winter season, you should know that Sibiu’s Christmas Market is, undoubtedly, Romania’s best!  The Main Square is taken over by small huts where you can find everything from cured ham or cheese, handmade decorations or gift, local pies and sweets and, of course, plenty of mulled wine and… mulled țuica, the traditional Romanian spirit! One glass of this and you’re good to go for 1h in any type of freezing weather, trust me!

 

Transfagarasan Road - Simply Majestic

You may have heard of this one – named by Top Gear as the world’s best driving road, Transfagarasan Road crosses the majestic Fagaras Mountain range of the Carpathians and is one of Romania’s best known attractions.  At its highest point of 2,042m it offers views that are nothing short of breathtaking – just take another look at that picture! Between the ridges of Fagaras Mountains and with Transylvania’s plain in the distance, you will definitely stop for a long while to take in the views and the fresh mountain air!

Located in the center of the country it can be accessed from the North coming from Sibiu or Brasov or from the South coming from Bucharest or Craiova.  Transfagarasan Road is open for driving only during June – October as it’s covered in snow during the rest of the year – which means it’s also a great place for skiing, especially backcountry and off-piste riding!

 

Turda Salt Mine - Healthy and Fun

With a history of over 2,000 years and opened for tourists since the early 1990s, Turda Salt Mine near Cluj-Napoca is a very popular tourist attraction in Romania for two reasons:

First, its underground galleries and large, high-ceiling caverns hosts an amusement park complete with a theater, ferris wheel, ping-pong tables or minigolf courses. There’s even an underground lake where you can practice your rowing skills (or impress your partner!) if you rent a boat! The best part is the artificial lighting installations – everything was designed to highlight the salt mine’s natural beauty and man-made galleries and give visitors a magical experience.

The second reason – well known among Romanians but less so by foreign tourists – is that inhaling salty air is good for your lounges and treating respiratory diseases – something even the Romans knew!  Romanian doctors regularly prescribe salty air therapies and Turda Salt Mine, along with other salt mines such as Praid or Ocnele Mari, is a preferred destination for this.  What do you have to do to get these health benefits? Nothing – just spend 2-4 hours in the mine: do a tour to learn about its salt exploitation history and the interesting tools used, play some games or bring a book with you. Beware though – no food or drinks (other than still water) are allowed inside the mine as they will interfere with the air!

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Interesting Sights on Australia’s Sunshine Coast

Australia’s eastern Sunshine Coast stretches from the major city of Brisbane up to the Great Sandy National Park.

Whether you’re planning a family-friendly vacation, a romantic getaway, or an adrenaline-fueled adventure, you’re bound to find something to do in this tourist-friendly area of the Great Down Under.

 

Here are some of the most interesting things to see on your journey through the fabulous Sunshine Coast:

Schedule a Few Days on Fraser Island

Measuring an impressive 76 miles long, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. Guests to this World Heritage Site will find over 180,000 hectares of pristine land to explore.

The most popular area of the island is Lake MacKenzie, which has some of the clearest waters and whitest sands in all of Australia.

History buffs should definitely explore the WWI SS Maheno shipwreck just north of Eli Creek for some spectacular selfies. A few other interesting things to see here include the Indian Head outlook, Lake Wabby, and the Champagne Pools.

If you don’t have much time to spare on Fraser Island, consider renting a 4WD to quickly get around the island’s top tourist draws.

 

Stroll around Noosa National Park

The 4,000-hectare Noosa National Park is the number one tourist draw in Australia’s Sunshine Coast per TripAdvisor reviewers. First-time visitors should head straight for the 15-kilometer hiking trail in the Noosa Headland to get better acquainted with the area and take in some of the most spectacular views of Australia’s coastline.

As you walk around Noosa National Park, you’re bound to see a wide variety of indigenous Australian flora and fauna. Sometimes visitors get glimpses of whales and dolphins at the Dolphin Point lookout. Definitely visit Noosa National Park’s information center to get help organizing your trip around this hot tourist attraction.

 

Hike to the Top of the Glass House Mountains

Serious hikers visiting the Sunshine Coast must plan a trip to the Glass House Mountains National Park. There are two main mountains open to visitors here: Mount Tibrogargan and Mount Ngungun.

In case you were wondering, these names come from ancient myths of the indigenous Gubbi Gubbi people. Although you’ll get the best views of the coastline from the two mountains summits, there are a few less intense hiking trails here for less experienced hikers. If hiking isn’t your style, you could opt to ride a mountain bike, go rock climbing, or even ride a horse through this national park.

Be sure to keep a lookout for the park’s famous grey kangaroos as you walk around this region.

 

Take the Kids to the Australia Zoo

Families have nothing to worry about traveling to the Sunshine Coast. There are dozens of exceptional attractions here designed to keep kids entertained for hours on end.

One “must-see” attraction for families in the town of Beerwah is the Australia Zoo. Made world-famous thanks to the influence of Steve and Terri Irwin, this 110-acre zoo has over 100 species of animals to see.

You’ll find that the staff here works hard to make this zoo-going experience as interactive and educational as possible. So, if you’ve ever wanted to feed a few wombats, pet a rhino, or stroke a lizard, then you’d better book your trip to the Australia Zoo right now.

 

Sample Tasty Treats at the Ginger Factory

Yet another family-friendly attraction in the Sunshine Coast is the Ginger Factory in Yandina. There’s plenty here to delight the eyes, noses, and tummies of visitors young and old.

Let your kids take a ride on the factory’s cute choo choo train as you take a ginger tasting tour. Children can also go on a boat voyage and take part in numerous gingerbread puppet shows. Don’t leave this wonderful factory without taking a peek at the delectable goodies available at this factory’s huge gift shop.

 

As you can see, there are tons of things to see on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Of course, nature lovers won’t have any difficulties finding exceptional surfing, biking, and hiking opportunities on this celebrated coast. However, there are also plenty of quirky attractions on the Sunshine Coast to enchant the entire family.

We didn’t even mention the wide array of fine dining and shopping opportunities you’re bound to notice on your trip through this region. Whatever you decide to do here, just be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

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