Why Jaisalmer is One of The Most Romantic Places in India

Jaisalmer, the place of the kings and rulers has been attracting tourists and visitors from across countries for the magnificent forts and palaces, lakes and temples.

Jaisalmer is one of the most beautiful and golden cities in Rajasthan.

Choosing the right travel itinerary helps you explore the vivid culture and enjoy one of the most romantic places in India.


These Fascinating Features in Jaisalmer Have Made it One of the Most Romantic Places:

1. Art and Culture

The art and culture of the city is depicted in all the fort and palace carvings and designs.

The creativity inspired by the ancient art is visible within the fine work of art used in the stone carving, silk textiles, silver jewellery, carpets, kundan, wooden puppets and other articles.

The Hatodi and the Baroli regions stand witness to the undefeated school of art prevailing since the Rajputana era.


2. Palaces, Forts and other Tourist Attractions

The rulers of the various clans in Jaisalmer have built their forts and palaces that act as a tourist attraction even to this day. Some of the monuments that add glory to the history of the state include:

Forts – Jaisalmer fort, Pokhran fort

Palaces – Tanot Mata Temple, Jaisalmer War Museum, Patwaon-Ki-Haveli

Sanctuaries – Desert National Sanctuary


3. Festivals and Fairs

The festivals and fairs organized in the various parts in Jaisalmer are worth visiting.

The colors of Jaisalmer are truly experienced in the vibrant fairs of the city. A few festivals that are celebrated are the Desert festival, Karva- Chauth festival, Diwali, Dusshera, Shiv Ratri and Holi etc.

The fairs that steal the show in Jaisalmer are – Camel fair, Beneshwar Fair, Nagaur Fair, Gogaji Fair, etc. 


4. Gourmet’s Delight

The Jaisalmeri food and snacks are a delight to one’s appetite.

Milk and butter milk are offered to every guest as welcome drink. Gatte ki sabzi and kachori are the few traditional dishes of Jaisalmer that are served in every kitchen.

The spicy chutneys that include mint, turmeric, garlic and coriander are also a solace to the tourists. But the dal bati and churma are often taken back by the tourists to their places as a remembrance of the taste of Jaisalmer.  


5. Folklore of Jaisalmer

The vibrant folklore of Jaisalmer just cannot be missed.

The much acknowledged puppetry narrating the traditional tales attracts the tourists very much. Further, visitors also tap to the beat of the Kathputli Dance, Ghoomer dance, Drum dance, Chakri dance and the Kalbeliya dance when performed by the local artists.


Truly, Jaisalmer is one of the most romantic places on Earth, welcoming vacationers and adventure seekers from all over the world.


Popular Attractions in Magical Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is one of the most beautiful hill states situated in India.

Dense alpine forests, frosty snow clad peaks, deep gorges, verdant valleys, meandering rivers, enchanting mountain lakes, ancient temples and magnificent monasteries make Himachal,one of the top places to visit in India and also one of the best summer destinations in India.

Shimla, Manali, Lahul, Kullu, Dharmashala, Dalhousie, Kasauli and Mcleod Ganj are some wonderful places to visit in Himachal.


Enchanting Places to Visit in Himachal Pradesh


Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh and also one of the most enchanting hill stations in India. Lying at an altitude of 7238 feet, Shimla is popularly referred to as the ‘Queen of Hills’ and also one of the best tourist places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.

This lovely hill station was developed by the British as their summer capital. The Kalka - Shimla toy train is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.



Manali is a stunning hill station nestled in the northern Himalayas near Kullu Valley.

Located at an altitude of 2050 m, Manali is known for its snowcapped mountains, scenic beauty, history and culture. Often referred to as the ‘Valley of the Gods’, Manali is among the popular places to visit in Himachal and also one of the top summer getaways in India.

Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, Hidimba Temple, Bhrigu Lake, Vashist Temple, Manu temple, Naggar Castle and Manikaran are the top tourist places to visit in Manali.



Kullu is a beautiful valley situated between the majestic Himalayas and river Beas in Himachal.

Known as the 'Valley of Gods', Kullu is one of the largest valleys in Himachal and also a popular place to experience Himachal Tourism. It is one of the best spots for adventure sports and offers some activities like trekking, river rafting, mountaineering, paragliding and hiking.

Manikaran, Malana, Bijli Mahadev, Kasol, Kheer Ganga, Katrain, Kangra and Great Himalayan National Park are the major tourist places to visit in Kullu.



Dharamsala is a smart hill station in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Situated at an altitude of 1,475 m, Dharamsala is the gateway to the Kangra valley.

It is known as Little Lhasa or Dhasa, because of its large population of Tibetans and Buddhist Monasteries. It is one of the popular summer getaways in North India and also one of the popular tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Dharamshala consists of two distinct parts – Lower Dharamsala and Upper Dharamshala.



Dalhousie is a scenic hill station located in the Dhauladhar mountain range of Himachal Pradesh.

Surrounded by snow peaked mountains, Dalhousie is one of the top places to visit as part of Himachal tourism packages. Dalhousie is known for its pleasant climate and charming beauty surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains.

Ganji Pahari, Dainkund Peak, Khajjiar, Bara Pathar temple, St. Patrick Church, Satdhara Falls, Kalatop Sanctuary and Panchpula, are the top places to visit in Dalhousie. Garam Sadak, Jhandri ghat, Moti tibba and Sach pass are the ideal trekking places in Dalhousie.


Spiti Valley

Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalayan Mountains in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. Spiti Valley is the cultural center for Buddhists. Spiti is home to some of the highest villages, oldest monasteries and the most stunning landscapes.

Kye Monastery and Tabo Monastery, some of the oldest monasteries in the world are situated in Spiti Valley. Kye Monastery is the oldest training center for monks, founded by Dromton, a famous disciple of teacher Atisha in the 11th century AD.



Kasauli is a picturesque hill station in Himachal. It is well known for its pristine and unspoiled natural beauty.

The name Kasauli came from Kausalya, a mountain stream which flows between Kasauli and Jabli. Kasauli is quite the cheapest hill station compared to popular Himachal hill stations like Shimla & Manali.

Christ Church, Monkey Point, Lower and Upper Mall, Sanawar, Sabathu Fort are some of the major places of sightseeing in Kasauli. Kasauli weather is pleasant from April to June and from September to November.


Best Ultralight Backpacking Chairs In 2018

All of the chairs in the listing are collapsible by way of the layout, this is natural if you plan to carry them at the path.

This makes them one of a kind from folding chairs which you usually have for normal tenting. This additionally implies that the chairs need assembly, but that is usually carried out in seconds.

In all sorts right here you've got shock-corded poles that make the frame so you can not lose any a part of them and you may also cause them to geared up even within the darkness.


My list of the quality backpacking chairs

The chairs below are ordered via weight from heavier to lighter.

1. LEKI Sub 1 Chair

The LEKI Sub 1 is an aluminum construction with bonuses. the ones consist of a removable cup holder and an elegant bring bag that doubles as a garage pouch due to the fact you may attach it to the frame as shown within the image.

The most crucial numbers are as follows. the load is 2.07 lb (940 g) and the capacity is 320 lb (145 kg). The seat is 11.eight inches (30 cm) above the floor. The packed size is extremely good, 13 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches (33 x 14 x 14 cm).

Buy it on Amazon.


2. ALPHA CAMP light-weight portable tenting Chair

This ALPHA CAMP chair is one among several chairs here in the listing with the same weight, so it appears that the opposition in this weight range is huge and among the brands are looking to get underneath 1 kg of weight.

So it weighs 2 lb (907 g) and it absolutely packs properly to only 14.2 x 4.7 x 4.7 inches (36 x 12 x 12 cm). The seat height is 16 inches (forty one cm). The ability is also terrific, it helps the customers of as much as 350 lb (159 kg), so plenty of motives to have it in the list. but see additionally its fee, it is handiest around $35 and you may not locate many gadgets of this type which could in shape this price.

Buy it on Amazon.


3. Moon Lence Compact Chair

This chair comes with a price tag this is without a fit as of the instant of writing this newsletter. So in case you are on a finances that is the chair to recall. They sell it on Amazon below the call Moon Lence Compact Ultralight transportable Folding tenting Backpacking Chairs and that is due to the fact they have got  chairs which they promote on the identical region.

This low-back chair is with the load of two lb (907 g) and its capability is 242 lb (a hundred and ten kg). yet any other characteristic where it shines is its exquisite packed size, it is best 14 x 5 x three.five inches (36 x 13 x nine cm). So the chair is backpack transportable and very flexible.

Buy it on Amazon.


4. Sportneer portable lightweight Folding tenting Chair

This Sportneer chair has been in the marketplace for several years already and it's miles very famous, with masses of customers’ reviews on Amazon. It's miles here because of its weight which is exquisite 2 lb (907 g). The ability is also exceptional 350 lb (159 kg).

The packed length is such that you may attach it to the backpack or carry on a bicycle, the deliver bag is most effective 14 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches (36 x 14 x 14 cm). However what set it apart is its charge which, in the intervening time of writing this newsletter, is below $30. if you buy  of them they're under $50. Please comply with the hyperlink for updates.

Buy it on Amazon.


5. Trekology YIZI cross portable tenting Chair with adjustable top

This YIZI move chair gives a whole lot of information already by way of its name. so you realize that you have some thing particular right here – the adjustable height. this is carried out with the aid of a mechanism in all four legs. you can enlarge them and have 3 exclusive heights.

This chair is here inside the listing due to its weight, so that you have 2 lb (907 g) when it's miles in its deliver bag. for this reason, that is certainly a transportable chair as its call suggests. In reality, it's miles mild enough to be carried at the trail.

That is a very dependable and popular chair with round 400 clients’ reports on Amazon on my own, and it's miles very quite rated by means of the customers. However this is additionally an extremely low priced object, with the fee which is difficult to healthy. Please follow the link for extra.

Buy it on Amazon.


Salzburg During Christmas

Salzburg, the fourth-largest city in Austria is probably best renowned for being the birthplace of Mozart, the setting for ‘The Sound of Music’, and for its intrinsic links to the Christmas season.


A Mini-Guide to Salzburg During Christmas

Why Visit Salzburg During Christmas?

With such a uniquely diverse set of attractions, in an astonishingly beautiful snow-capped mountain setting, and as the birthplace of the carol ‘Silent Night’, how could I not book my first European Christmas market trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Practically on the German border, Salzburg offers plenty to keep visitors busy for a few days, and particularly in autumn/winter when it’s “alive with the sound of music” (Christmas carols) and the smells of baked apples, roasted chestnuts and gluhwein (mulled wine.) In fact, it’s so geared towards Christmas that a trip during November/December might leave you wondering what Salzburg does once the festive season is over!


How to Get There

A 20 minute taxi or half hour bus ride from the Airport will get you into Salzburg’s Alstadt (Old Town). I found the trolley buses, connected to overhead tracks, really simple to use. You can get on and off without ever coming into contact with the driver, which did beg the question as to how they would ever know you’d paid for your fare! I’d purchased a 72-hour Salzburg Card (see below for details) at my hotel and this included practically all public transport in the city.


The Alstadt

The Alstadt itself oozes history from its Baroque and medieval architecture, most of its buildings largely unchanged over time, endowing its unique charm. Looking up, your eyes meet with countless spires, often with snowy mountainous backdrops, adding an awesome sense of scale and beauty.


Salzburg’s Christmas Markets

A fairly compact city, you’d be unlikely to miss Salzburg’s Christmas markets. A leisurely amble through the Alstadt’s meandering alleys and passageways to its open squares led me to a few, some much smaller than others.

Not vastly different to each other in their wares, all seemed to impart everything that the average Christmas marketeer would expect from such a trip: wooden huts brimming over with Christmas decorations galore, and abundantly aromatic smells of every type of festive food and drink that has ever had some kind of link to the season! Plus, hats, gloves and scarves, jewellery, toys and all manner of trinkets and handicrafts. Add in brass music concerts and choral singing and you’re near to Christmas perfection!

The most famous of Salzburg’s markets is the Christkindlmarkt on Domplatz and Residenzplatz. Roots stretching back to medieval times, it developed into one of Europe’s most famous Adventmarkets in the 17th Century. I found the best time to visit was around dusk when it became a true feast for the eyes: stalls, Christmas trees and lights a-twinkle, contributing that extra special sparkly glow. Somewhat intoxicating after a hot punch!


Schloss Hellbrunn

But my festive desire wasn’t sated and a twenty minute bus ride out to Schloss Hellbrunn brought me to my favourite Christmas market of the entire trip. Something about the way the stalls were laid out in the grounds of this early Baroque palace, using the Palace itself as an advent backdrop, was kind of magical.

Don’t forget to look out for the gazebo made famous by The Sound of Music film in the grounds of the Palace. After a half-hour search, I eventually stumbled upon it by chance - it’s not obviously signposted anywhere!


Krampus Run

Krampus was one Salzburger Christmas tradition I was woefully unprepared for. A horned half-goat, half-demon who supposedly punishes children who misbehave, stemming from European folklore. Ascending Linzergasse on my first evening I accidentally stumbled upon the ‘Krampus Run’: groups of Krampus-dressed figures parading and rampaging down the street, bells ringing and drums banging.

The sight was pretty petrifying  - made worse by one grabbing and spanking me with its tail! All good fun in hindsight, but fairly horrifying at the time! They popped up again all over the city centre during my stay, even in restaurants, so be prepared!


Things to See and Do in Salzburg

Aside from Christmas, Salzburg has many fascinating things to do and see:

  • Hohensalzburg Castle - an 11th Century fortress on the hilltop, visible from all over the city centre. The funicular ride to the top was enjoyable, if quick. There’s some spectacular views of the city from within the fortress walls and an interesting marionette museum. It was great fun, if a little steep to walk back down. Keep an eye out for the close-by Stift Nonnberg, abbey gates recognisable from The Sound of Music.
  • Mozart’s Geburtshaus - Mozart’s birthplace was a time-filler for me, but ended up being one of the most interesting things I did! Although photos aren’t allowed inside, it was brilliant to walk through the room where the composer was born, see his instruments and learn about his early life in the house. His links to the city are obviously a huge draw and this was a definite wow-factor moment.
  • Mirabell Palace and Gardens - over the Salzach River and in the “New Town” are the beautiful gardens, with fountain, steps and backdrop instantly recognisable from The Sound of Music. Well worth a quick visit!
  • Stiegl-Brauwelt - a 15 minute bus journey out of town but quite easily the best and most informative brewery tour I’ve ever been on! The displays are immersive and well-designed, and with three “tasting” beers and a free gift at the end, this was a winner!
  • Sound of Music Tour - I’ve never been a huge fan of the musical, but I still got swept up in the fervour of it. I bought a guidebook and did my own walking tour around the city, with most sites easy to get to. But there are plenty of tours offered for guided trips around and out of Salzburg.
  • Bavarian Mountains Tour - a huge highlight to drive through the Alps and cross the border into Germany, this tour included stops at the breathtakingly beautiful Konigssee and picturesque town of Berchtesgaden with its lovely Christmas market. I witnessed Hitler’s imposing Eagle’s Nest, and plenty of the thickest snow I’ve seen in years. Stunning!


I found the Salzburg Card to be great value for money at €37 for 72 hours, with one and two day options available too. It covered most of the primary sites in the city, including many of those listed above, as well as public transport. I even used the card to visit a lovely little Christmas museum on Mozartplatz to kill some time.

Salzburg is a beautiful city with so much to see, and I undoubtedly returned home ready for Christmas!


Places of Interest to Visit in Madrid

Madrid is the capital of Spain and is located in the center of the Iberian Peninsula, at 650 meters above sea level.

With a population of more than 3 million inhabitants, it is the largest city in the country and the third in the European Union.

Madrid has a wide cultural offering for visitors with all types of interests.

From the monumental zone of in the surroundings of the Plaza Mayor, passing by the royal Palace, Moncloa, Plaza of Spain, Street Gran Vía, House of America, Puerta de Alcala, Fountain of the Cibeles, Fountain of Neptune, Museum of the Prado, park of the Retiro  to Torre Europa, Country house, amusement park, Zoo, Juan Carlos I Park, El Pardo... these are all definitely sites of great interest, that you should visit if you decide to come to Madrid.


Visiting Landmarks of the Capital of Spain

Royal Palace

Located on Calle Bailen S/N. It was inaugurated by King Charles III. Neoclassical style, it is considered one of the best palaces in Europe. It has excellent rooms among which stand out, the Gardens of Sabatini, annexes, Campo del Moro and the Throne room.


Fuente de la Cibeles

Located on the Paseo de Recoletos and Calle de Alcala, la Fuente de la Cibeles is an emblematic site in Madrid, a place for celebrations of the Real Madrid football team. Project carried out by Ventura Rodríguez by order of King Charles III.


Puerta de Alcala

Emblematic landmark of the city of Madrid, is the Puerta de Alcala. It is located in the Plaza de la Independencia, at the confluence of Calle Alcala and Calle Alfonso XII. It was built by Sabatini in the year 1778, by order of Charles III.


Prado Museum

The Prado Museum, located in Paseo del Prado, is a former neo-classical palace designed by Juan de Villanueva. Its construction was finished during the reign of Ferdinand VII. A sample of the Flemish school are El Greco, Tiziano and Murillo.


Neptune Fountain

Neptune Fountain is located in the Canóvas square of the castle. The source was made by Juan Pascual de Mena by order of Charles III in the year 1780. In this fountain we celebrate the triumphs of the Atlético de Madrid football team.


Arc de la Victoria

In the Plaza de Moncloa we find the Arc de la Victoria. This one rises on a platform of 130 by 42 meters and a height of 39 meters. Dedicated to arms and letters, is the work of the architects Modesto Lopez de Otero and Pascual Bravo.


5 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 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 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.



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.



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.



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.


The Greatest Risks in Climbing Mount Everest

The best time of year to climb Mount Everest is in May.

Many Mt. Everest climbers gather in Lhasa and prepare to conquer the world’s highest peak. It is not an easy adventure.

Book accommodation in Lhasa.

It's important to make sure that you are properly covered with a good travel insurance before you embark on the trek. There are certain travel insurance companies that insure especially for hiking and trekking trips.


What are the Difficulties in Climbing Everest? 

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness or mountain sickness is the biggest risk to Mt. Everest climbers and also fresh travelers to Tibet. It will affect many aspects of their health. The higher they get, the less oxygen there is in the air. Their body can slowly adapt to this but only up to a point.

Even with the comparatively lengthy period required to climb this high, they are unlikely to ever feel quite themselves above base camp, and in the Death Zone above 8,000m they are beyond the limit of their adaptation ability to the altitude.



Air temperature drops by roughly 0.65C per 100 meters of height gained. That means at 8,800m they can expect the temperature to be about 57C less than at sea level. That’s a gross simplification ignoring many other factors but they get the idea: it is cold up there.

Managing this is not helped by the fact that they’ll switch from lying still in the darkness at night to slogging up hill with the heat of the sun bearing down from above and reflecting up from the snow.



In the UK it may be a compulsive topic of mundane conversation but in the Himalayas it can mean life or death. Their window of opportunity for summiting will be dictated by a good weather forecast but many are the climbers who have been caught out by storms, holding out a little too long on summit day.

Not least during the 1996 disaster. They can’t control the weather gods but they can get a good forecast, listen to their instincts and not ignore the early warning signs.



One of the highest direct causes of death on Everest is falls. These can happen both when actually climbing, particularly on the high ridges, and also in careless moments at the higher camps. Stepping out of their tent for a wee at night onto ground covered in ice being a particular example.

Maintaining vigilance with their footwork, double checking knots and karabiners, and a good amount of prior experience on snow and ice are prudent steps for reducing this risk.



Twice as likely as falls to get them on the slopes of Qomolangma (Tibetan name for Everest) are avalanches. There tend to be specific areas in which the likelihood of their occurrence is higher. On the two most popular routes (see below) these are the North Col, South Col and Khumbu Ice Falls (the latter being branded “Suicide Passage” for this reason).

They’re all necessary to cross and there’s not a lot they can do to control the mountain itself but they can help by minimising their time in those areas and using the earlier parts of the day before the sun has warmed the snow.

In addition to falling snow, falling ice and rocks are yet more hazards they can face. This is particularly the case if they choose the southeast route from Nepal. There, the former is a risk in the Khumbu Ice Falls (there’s a hint in the name) and the latter when crossing the South Col beneath the Lhotse Face.



These are great cracks that appear in glacial ice which threaten to swallow careless or unfortunate climbers. If they climb from the Nepali side then they will encounter these in the Khumbu Ice Falls and the Western Cwm. To aid safe travel across glaciers, teams tie ropes between each of their members so they can drag out anyone unlucky enough to take a fall.


Summit Fever

Easily said but near impossible to avoid entirely, the temptation to push on for “just another ten minutes” is strong in all of us. But combine it with the intoxicating zenith of so much effort and the mind-altering effects of altitude on the danger-ridden slopes of Mount Everest and they have a recipe for disaster.

The practical advice is to have a set “turn around time” at which point they head back down regardless of where they are, is a common tactic to avoid this. Just be realistic when deciding it. There’s no point setting an overly conservative time if they know they’re not going to stick to it.

Something else worth doing is taking the time to go through their motivations for being on the mountain. If they keep the summit in perspective with the rest of the challenge and the rest of their life then it may help stop them from getting carried away.


As there are so many difficulties that may result in death, do not risk your life if you have not been trained professionally.

Actually, it is also a lifetime experience to do a Tibet Everest Base Camp trip, especially during May and June when travelers may meet some Mt. Everest Climbers.


Eleven Things You Might Not Know About Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of Wild Frontiers' most popular destinations in Africa, but it is still relatively seldom-visited.

The country has worked hard to overcome negative perceptions over the years, and it is slowly gaining a reputation as one of the most varied and fascinating destinations in Africa.


Here are eleven things you may find surprising about Ethiopia:

1. Ethiopia is Home to the Cruelest Place on Earth

National Geographic named the Danakil Depression “the cruelest place on earth”. This forbidding desert basin lies in northeast Ethiopia, and has year-round temperatures of 95 degrees, which sometimes hit a high of 145 degrees. The salt deposited when the Red Sea flooded this region many millennia ago provides a much-needed source of income for the Afar people, who risk dangerous conditions to mine the plentiful salt.


2. Ethiopia was Home to a Living God, According to the Rastafari Movement

Emperor Haile Selassie was Ethiopia’s regent from 1916 to 1930 and emperor from 1930 until 1974, when he was overthrown by the Marxist dictator Mengitsu Haile Mariam. Haile Selassie was heir to a dynasty that reportedly dated back to Menelik I, the child of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. As such he was seen as the returned messiah of the bible, God incarnate, by the Rastafari movement. His name is frequently dropped into reggae songs, and Bob Marley’s “War” was based around a speech given by Haile Selassie to the United Nations in 1963.


3. Ethiopia has an Extremely Diverse Music Scene

Many of Ethiopia’s different tribes are associated with different styles of music. Undoubtedly the most popular musical export is Ethio-Jazz.  Traditionally, Ethiopian music is based around five notes, but in the 1970’s musician Mulatu Astatke began fusing these five tones with the 12 tones of jazz, and Ethio-Jazz was born. You can hear Ethio-jazz today in one of Addis Ababa’s many live music venues.


4. One of Ethiopia’s Most Famous Residents is 3.2 Million Years Old

AL 288-1 (more commonly known as Lucy) is an Australopithecus Afarensis found in the Afar Depression in 1974. Her skeleton was found 40% complete, an astonishing discovery which excited anthropologists worldwide, providing invaluable insight into the evolution of modern humans.

Despite having an upright walk similar to that of humans, Lucy has a small skull capacity similar to that of apes, supporting the view that bipedalism preceded increase in brain size in early humans. Despite being a fully-grown adult, Lucy would have stood at just 3 and a half feet tall and weighed 63 pounds. After six years touring the US, Lucy returned to Ethiopia in May 2013, and now resides in the National Museum at Addis Ababa.


5. The Omo Valley is One of the Most Diverse Tribal Places in Africa

The remote Omo Valley in Southwest Ethiopia is home to some of Ethiopia’s most fascinating and diverse ethnic groups, including the Hamer, the Banna, the Mursi and the Surma. Amongst the Mursi it is still common for women to wear large pottery or wooden plates in their lower lips.


6. The Queen of Sheba Hailed from Ethiopia

According to the legend, the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba journeyed to Israel to visit King Solomon. After serving a meal of spicy food, the sneaky king left a drink of water by the queen’s bedside, who awoke in the night to drink from it. In a cunning move, Solomon vowed not to take anything from the queen, if she didn’t take anything from him.  

Solomon then demanded his part of the bargain, and the Queen was shortly returning to Ethiopia carrying Solomon’s child, the future king Menelik. Menelik is later said to have visited his father in Israel, where he made off with the Ark of the Covenant, explaining its supposed current location in Axum.


7. Shoulder Dancing is a Popular Form of Dance

This unique form of dancing has its origins in tribal life in Ethiopia. Eskesta, meaning “Dancing shoulders”, is practiced to a variety of war songs, love songs, hunting songs and shepherd songs.


8. Ethiopia is Seven Years Behind the Rest of the World

Ethiopia continues to use the Julian calendar, which most of the rest of the world stopped using in 1582. The Julian calendar is made up of 13 months – 12 months lasting 30 days, and one lasting 5 days. The country celebrates New Year on 11 September.


9. Ethiopia is Home to a Unique Wildlife

Ethiopia has a variety of unique wildlife, the most famous being the Gelada Baboon, which lives in the Ethiopian highlands. Another famous animal is the Simien Fox, or Ethiopian Wolf. Similar to the coyote in size and build, it has red and white fur and is Africa’s most endangered carnivore. The best place to see the Simian Fox is in the Bale Mountains.    


10. Stunning Scenarios Abounds

Ethiopia has an amazing variety of stunning scenarios, from mountains like the Bale and Simien ranges, to the volcanic landscape of the Danakil Depression, to the fertile Omo Valley. The country’s varied scenarios are one of the biggest surprises to visitors who still associate the country with the famine appeals of the 1980’s.   


11. Ethiopia is a Christan Stronghold

Ethiopia has a fascinating mixture of traditional religions and ancient spiritual beliefs. Over 60% of the population is Christian, with the majority of those being Ethiopian Orthodox. The long history of Christianity in Ethiopia can be seen in the fascinating ancient rock-cut churches of Lalibela,  and the church claims to possess the ark of the Covenant, in Axum. The country's most popular festival is the annual Timkat Festival, a noisy and colourful afair where a model of the Ark is paraded through the streets and priests use powerful hoses to spray the crowds with holy water.  


Travel tip shared by Wild Frontiers


10 tips to help get Sponsorship for your Expedition or Trip

Everybody has a far-fetched and ludicrously ambitious idea in their head, something they wish they could put into action if only they had the funds.  It could be a dream to travel to every country in the world, be the youngest person to reach the poles, ride a penny farthing through Afghanistan in period costume or drive a London Black taxi around the world…

I’m part of the It’s on the Meter Expedition. An attempt to drive a London Black Cab from London to Sydney to break the World Record for the longest ever taxi journey and raise money for the Red Cross. 

We are currently 10,000 miles (a third of the way) through the trip and hope to reach Sydney by September.  It has been three years in the planning; the majority of this has been spent trying to secure sponsorship with some amount of success.

Tip: Make sure to get good travel insurance, like World Nomads, before leaving on your expedition!


The expedition has over twenty different sponsors, providing money, parts, advice, services and equipment to help it along the journey.  The team and I had no public profile, our personal contacts are no better than anybody else’s and we have very few corporate contacts (we only graduated from university last summer), showing that it is possible for anyone to get this level of support.

I have been regularly asked by other people planning trips for advice on how to go about securing sponsorship.  That is why I am writing this,  these are the things I wish somebody told me 2 years ago.  I hope anybody planning a trip finds it helpful and I hope it may inspire people to take that drunken conversation about doing a big trip through to the sobriety of the next morning and onwards from there to the actual planning and implementation! 


1. Think like a sponsor.

You must figure out WHY somebody is going to give you money.  People are not just going to give you money to go on holiday; they must get something out of it.  This could be a range of things, but almost always it’s for publicity, they will invest in your idea if it sounds like the kind of idea that will appear to the greater public.  Will people talk about you in bars, will they read your blogs, will they write articles about you in newspapers?  If not, then your chances of getting a sponsor are slim, go back to the drawing board and make it more unique.  If it will appeal, then you must comprehensively outline to a potential sponsor the predicted exposure from the trip, including all the different mediums you plan on using (newspaper, radio, TV, internet, social media, online video etc.) and how you will use them (I recommend using all of them!).  Add to this by promising to name drop them whenever possible in everything you do, that’s what we did when approaching our Insurance Company.


2. Use personal contacts. 

This is THE BEST WAY TO GET SPONSORSHIP.  Tell everybody you know about your idea (and some you don’t).  You never know, they may work for a company who could sponsor you or if they don’t, they may know someone who does.  The most important thing to do is ask; they will never rack their minds for contacts if you don’t ask them if they have any ideas for possible sponsors for your project.  The best part about personal contacts is that you have a nice warm contact who’s far more likely to say yes...


3. Credibility.

It’s all about credibility. You need to ensure you appear credible to potential sponsors (even if you’re not).  One way to do this is to show that other sponsors are already giving you things. Nobody wants to be the first to take a big and expensive leap, so before you go for the big money sponsors, try and get a few well known brands to give you a small amount of low cost goods.  This is easy to achieve, and once you have a big brand as a sponsor, it gives you credibility (nobody needs to know Duracell only gave you four rechargeable batteries for your camera in return for that big sticker…).  Another way is to get celebrities involved (more about this in tip #5).


4. Charity.

If you have a charity involved (and i’m presuming and hope you do!) then make the most of it.  A charity association makes sponsors look good, it makes them feel good and it gives you a legitimate reason for carrying out your outlandish scheme, so make sure the sponsors know the full details about the chairty.  My advice would be to ensure trip sponsorship and charity sponsorship (donations from friends, family etc.) is kept clearly separate.  This means making sure people donating to your charity know they are not giving you money to ‘go on holiday’ and companies sponsoring you are sponsoring the expedition and not sponsoring the charity directly.


5. Celebrity endorsement.

If you get a celebrity on board, it gives you a huge amount of credibility and makes sponsors and potential media outlets (which in turn help you to get sponsors…) sit up and take notice.  The ‘It’s on the Meter’ expedition Patron is Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the “World’s Greatest Living Explorer (according to Guinness World Records).  Now that sounds impressive, doesn’t it?  He is a living legend and a household name in the UK.  Now here’s the secret bit- we have never met Sir Ran.  We dropped him a line, told him what we were doing and asked him to be our patron.  We outlined that he would not be required to do anything at all.  He agreed, and that was that.  It was made especially easy with the charity angle.  In our case, he was even interested in getting a ride in the cab (although on the only date he could make, the Taxi had no wheels, no seats and no steering wheel, so we missed our chance).  The hard part is getting their contact details- that dark art is down to you I am afraid but charities always have various patrons and celebrity supporters.


6. Go to relevant expositions and shows. 

These are attended by people in the industry who can make decisions and every one is a potential sponsor.  It is a lot easier to talk to someone at a stand and call them back a week later saying “Hi, do you remember me?” than it is to simply cold call them.  Here’s a tip: Try and blag your way into the trade day, on these days there are no members of the public, so no queues to talk to people and people from high up in the company will be there- not just sales assistants.  We got five sponsors from one day at a motor show, but we did speak to every single stand there so persistence is the key.


7. Find people giving money. 

Even in this time of austerity there is money to be had.  Marketing budgets may have been cut, but almost all companies spend some money on marketing.  Seek out companies willing to give their money away for just this kind of thing e.g. companies who have sponsored something similar to your project already. Some companies sponsor sports players, explorers, sailors etc., some have sponsorship communities (energy drinks etc.) and some have competitions.  Approach them all.  We won a partner for simply sending an application and being nominated as having the best idea for pursuing your ‘Motoring Dream’.  Easiest and biggest sponsor of all! (apologies for the second shameless plug, but hopefully you get the message)


8. Think creatively about sponsorship deals. 

Offer various opportunities.  For example, match funding approaches (the company matches the money raised from other sponsors, thereby halving their exposure and risk of being involved in the expedition).  You could always agree on payments to be made at different times so they spread over two tax years, or they only pay you certain amounts as you reach certain legs of your trip (so if you fail they minimise their exposure).  You can always turn a no into a yes (forgive the clichéd sales phrase) but not necessarily the yes you thought you were looking for.


9. Think big. 

How are you going to launch/finish your expedition? Sponsors are not going to be interested in an event launching from your mothers front garden with the local paper covering it; it needs to be national.  We launched from one of the largest tourists attractions in London.  Why? Because we deserve that kind of publicity?  No! We simply asked.  We found a few possible, grand, impressive sounding venues and asked them.  If they tried to charge us we went to the next one.  After carrying out a risk assessment (the venue will often have a template already done for you) you’re good to go (but ensure there are no insurance issues).  If you can get a celebrity to attend then even better. Invite your friends, invite the press, invite your sponsors and make an event of it!


10. Don’t expect much. 

Do not expect to get any sponsorship at all, this way you will be pleasantly surprised.  If you need funding for a crazy idea, get a job and start saving.  I know it sounds cold and un-inspirational, but if you want to do something awesome, this is the GUARANTEED route to achieving your dream. If you want to do it, you can, but you may have to do it in a few years time. We have managed to get sponsorship to cover around half the cost of the trip, the rest of it is paid for by working hard and saving money (and all of our savings and overdrafts and credit cards…  but that’s a different story!).


I hope you have found this helpful. You just have to be very, very, very persistent. There’s a reason why ‘everybody’ doesn’t go on these kind of trips, or convert their pub-dreams into something more.

It’s hard work, but completely worth it in the end. Believe me.

Paul Archer came up with the original idea for the ‘It’s on the Meter’ expedition. Affectionately referred to as the ‘Pen-Bitch’ team member, before they departed it was his job to prepare sponsors, press coverage and arrange the expedition launch event and press calls, as the rest of the team prepared the taxi for the journey.

The ‘It’s on the Meter expedition will cover over 30,000 miles, break a World Record, cover three continents, thirty-nine countries and ten time zones in an 18-year-old classic London Black Cab.


Written and contributed by It's On The Meter


Four Reasons to Spend Christmas in Florence

Christmas is an optimal time to visit the artistic and majestic monuments of Florence, monuments that you can see in the historic center.

Apart from that, here are several reasons why you should visit Florence during Christmastime.


Reasons You Should Visit Florence in Winter

The Climate is Mild

During this time the streets are less crowded with tourists than in the warmer season, when millions of tourists come to spend their holidays. The climate of the period of Christmas in Florence in the winter is not too cold, the temperature approaches zero degrees centigrades.

During the day it is usually cold but dry and most of the time very sunny. This allows those who visit Florence in Christmas time to perform smoothly the many tours to the many artistic and architectural attractions of the city without waiting in the long lines that are created in the hottest season.


The Atmosphere is Very Festive

In addition to the Christmas atmosphere Florence offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a sunny day and a festive atmosphere.

Several weeks before 25th December, the streets and squares of the city are adorned with Christmas decorations, which make very nice views for walkers. In Christmas time in Florence there are also the traditional Christmas markets and the shops are also decorated with gifts and typical images of the tradition.

In the center and in shopping centers you can meet people with the typical Santa Claus costume. The streets of the city center create an atmosphere of celebration and excitement, which grows more and more with the approach of December 25th .


Christmas is a Great Time to Visit the Churches in Florence

Christmas in Florence is also an opportunity to visit the great churches of Florence, where the traditional nativity scenes are prepared.

It is an old tradition that has always a great success for visitors and the pious who go to church in greater numbers than the other year.


Experience Traditional Tuscan Christmastime Food

During this time also the grocery stores are providing all kinds of food, from traditional Tuscan food to the classic traditional Christmas, with food sticking the fine Tuscan wines, sparkling wines and every kind of liquor to be served as usual during the important lunches and dinners of this period.

Even restaurants and inns are preparing for Christmas and the New Year. They offer rich menus composed of various kinds of food: meat and fish, as well as a rich variety of cakes, rigorously crafted in the best tradition of sweets.


Christmas time in Florence is really one of the best periods to visit this beautiful city, a period that is enriched with a thousand opportunities for fun besides culture and tradition.

Many festive events follow each other during this time from concerts, exhibitions and religious functions- that make the time memorable and special for both tourists and Florentines.

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