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New York is an Awesome Place to Visit

Last year when I asked my wife and children where they would like to vacation, I thought they would tell me on a cruise or even New Zealand. When they all three said New York, I admit that I was surprised. They had obviously talked about it, and they shared their reasons with me. I admit that they made it sound like a trip of a lifetime, so I went to the Cuvee website to see what kind of deals I could find on a luxury Manhattan condo.

I already knew that we were not going to stay in a hotel. I knew that we could get a hotel suite that had separate bedrooms and a common area, but I wanted something a bit more homey for us.

Way to Pack For Your Trip

Where are you going? The wilderness

The elements will be both a marvel and a maverick force. Often finding yourself miles from shelter and civilisation, you’ll need to carry protective kit. Advances in the design of walking shoes mean clunky hiking boots might not be essential, but a quick-drying, wind- and rain-proof shell or jacket will be. Large plastic bin liners, ziplock bags in different sizes and/or waterproof bag liners will help keep kit dry.

Packing essentials

Temperatures will vary wildly with weather, season and altitude, so embrace the layering system.

  • Base layer: a high-wicking, close-fitting top and possibly bottoms. Merino wool is warmest and needs less frequent washing.
  • Mid-layer: fleece or similar on top; quick-drying walking trousers on the bottom.
  • Outer layer: a breathable waterproof/windproof jacket and trousers.
  • Extra-warm layer: a down jacket for use at night can be spirit-lifting, and adds comfort on chilly damp days.

Where are you going? The cool culture city

While perhaps not so culturally unfamiliar, this destination still demands careful suitcase

Way Prepare For A Perfect Voyage To Antarctica

Because of its delicate environment, strict regulations and a lack of tourism infrastructure on the continent’s shores, most travelers visit Antarctica on expedition cruises that circumvent the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands. Prep for your voyage with the help of a polar travel tour operator – they’ll handle the planning, but suitable packing, physical conditioning and mental readiness is up to you.

Lean on an outfitter for the logistics

Antarctic cruises have the benefit of organized pre- and post-voyage transportation and sometimes include additional excursions aroundUshuaia, Argentina (where most Antarctica-bound vessels call in to port) plus accommodations, on-board meals and expedition gear included in the price. Pick a reputable, International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators-affiliated (iaato.org) outfitter to ensure a safe and environmentally responsible experience.

The more you know, before you go

Reading about Antarctica’s history, geography and wildlife will not only provide pre-trip inspiration, but will help you appreciate the journey as you reflect on the tales of those first explorers who charted the very same waters you’ll be sailing. Antarctica showcases wildlife on a magnificent scale,

Road Trips On Australia’s East Coast

Australia’s East Coast offers plenty to get excited about for road-tripping explorers. Along sun-bleached blacktop, you’ll find picture-perfect beaches, hip cities, lush rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef and abundant native wildlife. Driving routes can meet any interest and range from epic long-haul adventures to pinpoint itineraries of must-do experiences. So pack your surfboard, your hiking boots and your appetite and hit the East Coast road.

The Great Barrier Reef Drive: Cairns to Cape Tribulation (1 week)

By embarking on this trip, you’ll journey up the coast in far-north Queensland, passing classic old towns and luxe resort hubs with eye-popping Great Barrier Reef views en route. Starting ebullient Cairns, a snorkelling or dive trip to the Great Barrier Reef is a must. After that, pinball between the city’s botanic gardens, hip restaurants and buzzy bars.

Next up, head inland via gondola cableway or scenic railway to Kurandafor rainforest walks and the storied markets (try some macadamia nuts!). Don’t miss detours to picturesque Millaa Millaa Falls and a rainforest hike in scenic Wooroonooran National Park.

On Cairns’

Getting To The Point – Sales

Reasons You Should Buy A Travelling Bag Online. Since there are many different kinds of bags; you are sure to find one that you will buy. That means that you will be concerned about losing your belongings. There are different kinds of luggage bags that you can choose from. On the other hand, a long journey will require you to carry many items and hence a bigger bag. On the contrary, if your travel bag is light then you will not pay a lot of money, and that means that your journey will be inexpensive. Additionally, you should determine the most suitable color for your bag. If you purchase your bag from an online store, you can look at the images of the product on the store’s website. That means that there are very options that you might even have a hard time finding the right one. When you buy your traveling bag from an online store, you will have a good experience. That is because it is very convenient compared to the traditional form of shopping. The physical stores are only accessible at particular periods of the day, and there are chances that

Outdoor Adventures Land and Sea in Indonesia

Kayaking

Begin a paddling sojourn in Indonesia by negotiating around the forest-clad banks of a holy mountain lake, before sea kayaking on smooth Balinese waters, or graduating to an exciting multi-day excursion in the more remote Raja Ampat Islands. Based in the Balinese mountain village of Kedisan, C. Bali runs morning tours exploring the volcanic caldera of Danau (Lake) Batur in inflatable canoes, while further south alongSanur’s beachy coastline, kayaks can be hired by the hour for leisurely exploration. In the far flung islands of Raja Ampat – around 2000km to the northeast – Kayak4Conservation explores a stunning archipelago of jungle-covered islands and concealed lagoons. Guided adventures include staying at local guesthouses.

Snorkelling

With more than 17,000 islands – and hundreds of thousand of different beaches – Indonesia offers some the planet’s best places for escaping into warm tropical waters equipped simply with a mask, snorkel and swim fins. On Bali’s northern coast, snorkelling trips depart from nearbyPemuteran to explore the waters of Pulau Menjangan (‘Deer Island’), while at Tulamben in eastern Bali, the WWII wreck of the Liberty, a US Navy Cargo Ship, is just 50m off the coast. Continue further east

Family Bikepacking in Ecuador

It feels suitably off-the-beaten-track, but with a range of comfortable digs along the way, cyclists can recharge before tackling Ecuador’s tremendous inclines. Cass Gilbert describes his family bikepacking experience in this extract from Epic Bike Rides of the World.

For those unfamiliar with the topography of South America, let me assure you of this: the Ecuadorian Andes are a deeply crumpled land. A slim band squeezed between the expanse of the Pacific Coast and the vast sprawl of the Amazon, it abounds with microclimates, determined more by geography and altitude than by any season. Within these folds, one steep-sided valley dovetails into the next. Cradled between two volcanic ranges, they form the Avenue of the Volcanoes, as coined by Alexander von Humboldt, the Prussian naturalist who journeyed through the continent in the 19th century.

We shared our Ecuadorian adventures with three brothers I’d first met while cycling through the country three years prior. Mountain guides by trade, they lived off-grid on an organic family farm outside Quito. In the interim, we’d kept in touch – and we’d all had children. When the chance came to visit Ecuador once again, this time I travelled with my partner and

Trips of Peru’s Cordillera Blanca

Though it is well known to the mountaineering set, the Cordillera Blanca tends to fly under the radar of most travelers who favor  iconic cities and sites such as Cuzco and Machu Picchu. While these places are remarkable in their own right, the Cordillera is a rugged, mountainous dreamscape that keeps you gazing around in wonder.

While dedicated hikers might prefer to complete longer routes such as the Santa Cruz trek, several convenient but spectacular day trips are also possible – we’ve highlighted some of our favorites here.

Icefalls at Huandoy

Walk through the golden fields near the Keushu ruins, past the neighboring turquoise lake, up a narrow trail through some scrubby trees and you’ll find the Rajururi valley, a yawning hole cleaved into the side of the Cordillera. This narrow stretch of land is sandwiched between towering granite faces and leads directly to the sleeping glacier at the base of Huandoy, the same piece of ice that split the valley sprawling before it.

Thanks to its shorter length and lower altitude, this route serves as a good introduction to hiking in the Cordilleras – it always helps to spend a little time getting your

Things To Do In Amsterdam

Explore the Western Islands

The Jordaan may be the prize-winner for the most picturesque neighbourhood in Amsterdam, but the artistic and the creative soul of the city is concealed in the charming Western Islands. This small archipelago bathes in amazing quietness, only nudged from its slumber by bobbing houseboats and bikes rattling across the wooden bridges. Among the former grain, herring and tobacco warehouses, intrepid travellers will now find artists’ studios creating everything from film and music to painting and designer furniture.

Brunch on Kadijksplein

Forget the neon glare and scramble for seats on Leidseplein, and swerve the statues and sunbathers of Rembrandtplein; tiptoe instead to Kadijksplein, a delightfully quiet square that is also home to one of Amsterdam’s best brunches at Bakers & Roasters. This New Zealand-style cafe serves mouth-watering Navajo eggs, healthy salad bowls and decent coffee. Try a brekkie (a decadent mix of eggs, crispy bacon, fat sausages and creamy mushrooms) and wash it all down with a Bloody Mary. Waddle off your waist-expanding brunch at Entrepotdok, a dockside line of former Dutch East India Company warehouses, just around the corner.

Go for drinks at the hip bars on

Hiking across Macedonia Mountainous

For explorers and adventure travellers who don’t know this undiscovered expanse of Macedonia, a country on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe, an excursion to this dovetailing string of summits and massifs (which include the Šar, Bistra and Jablanica Mountains) means some of the best, and most unheralded, hiking on the continent. But even for the horseback members of the group assembled – all of whom live in the Balkans and have spent a significant amount of time scaling the region’s topography – this was a treat.

Over the course of eight days, we would hike (and gallop) stages that began in northwestern Macedonia, straddle the Kosovo border, and then steer south along the Albanian frontier. Our journey traversed a national park, and included visits to centuries-old Orthodox churches and a monastery built by St Clement more than 1000 years ago. We stayed in huts wedged into hillsides, and woke with frosty morning dew clinging to our tents. We had stove-cooked-coffee conversations with locals about a myriad of subjects from politics to sheep shearing, and watched as those same locals dragged thick, work-tested fingers across smudged maps and explained how the mountains here once defined the edges

Travel Tips For First-timers In Italy

But beyond the headline sights, what’s a trip to Italy really like? What’s the best way of getting around? What’s the local etiquette? What should I wear? Here are some practical tips to help you on your way and ensure that your first time is a truly magical experience.

Eat like a local

Whether you’re tucking into hearty farmhouse fare in a Tuscanagriturismo or a wood-fired pizza in a Naples pizzeria, dining out is one of Italy’s great joys.

And there’s no shortage of eateries, with everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to neighbourhood trattorias, wine bars, cafes and pizzerias. Italians generally eat late, so if you want to fit in, stop for lunch at around 1.30pm and dinner at 8.30 to 9pm – the further south you go, the later they eat.

A full Italian meal consists of an antipasto, a primo (usually pasta or risotto), secondo (main course, typically fish or meat), contorno (side dish), and dolce (dessert). You’re not expected to eat all that, so feel free to mix ‘n’ match when ordering. And when you’ve finished, ask for the bill – it won’t be delivered automatically.

Some other pointers: eat

Adventures in Perak

Shaped like a crescent moon, Perak sweeps across the northwestern corner of Peninsular Malaysia. Limestone cliffs are the state’s most unmistakable landmarks, but Perak is a tapestry of mangrove swamps, jungles and beaches, too – terrain so varied that exhilaration (and exhaustion) are practically guaranteed. Here are four adventures to get your pulse racing

Get off the grid in Royal Belum State Park

The only sound is a rhythmic swish, swish, as our boat glides across Lake Temenggor. We’re heading deep into Royal Belum State Park (royalbelum.my), a 117,500-hectare wilderness made even more impassable by its water levels. This jungly swathe of northern Perak, right against the Malaysia-Thailand border, was flooded in 1972 when Temenggor Dam was built. And in this remote nature park, the chances of getting phone signal are roughly the same as spotting the elusive sun bear.

The boat thumps noisily against the wooden gangplank at Belum Eco Resort (belumecoresort.com.my), my island home for the next few nights. While resort staff busy themselves securing the boat, my fellow travellers are already wriggling out of their T-shirts and dive-bombing into the lake.  As we bob around in the water, the jungle chorus

Things To Do In St Petersburg

Make use of free-admission days

Some of St Petersburg’s top museums organise free-entrance days. For the State Hermitage Museum it’s the first Thursday of the month, and for the Kunstkamera the third Thursday each month. Other museums are admission-free throughout the year, for example the Vladimir Nabokov Museum or the Sigmund Freud Museum of Dreams. In many Orthodox cathedrals you also don’t have to pay an entrance fee. While the church architecture is stunning enough from the outside, just wait until you enter – the icon art is breathtaking.

Relax in parks and gardens

If you love the green spaces, don’t miss St Petersburg’s parks and gardens. There are plenty to satisfy any taste: the small, hiddenYusupov Gardens, the royal Mikhailovsky Gardens, the calm Tavrichesky Gardens, or the famous Summer Garden with its marble sculptures. The recently reopened New Holland Island in the city centre is St Petersburg’s latest cultural hub and a haven for artists, writers, professionals and tourists alike.

Stroll around Alexander Nevsky Monastery

The Alexander Nevsky Monastery is the most important Orthodox monastery in St Petersburg; its Church of the Annunciation was the first resting place for the tsarist family. The monastery is magnificent both inside and outside, but for many visitors the major attractions are its

Exploring Yekaterinburg

Named after Peter the Great’s wife Catherine, the capital of the Ural region lies on the border of Europe and Asia and has long been a prosperous city. Yekaterinburg played a major role in trade between the east and west throughout the 1700s and 1800s, increasing its status and wealth; more recently, mining and industrial work has propelled the city into the limelight. And it keeps reaching for the stars: Yekaterinburg is one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the Russian government has injected billions of roubles to improve its infrastructure in preparation for the big event (including the upgrade of the Central Stadium and the construction of new metro stations).

City life

Although Yekaterinburg is spread out, most of the highlights are located in the historic centre. English-language guided walking tours aren’t mainstream yet, but in 2010 local blogger Dmitry Kalaev asked his followers to vote for Yekaterinburg’s most interesting sites, which resulted in the development of a 6.5km Red Line trail (ekbredline.ru) in 2011.

Starting at Ploshchad 1905 Goda, the main square in town, the walking route passes by 35 attractions as voted by thousands of residents, including beautiful old

Reasons To Visit Ukraine, Kyiv

Legends of Andriyivsky Uzviz

Nicknamed ‘the Montmartre of Kyiv’, this street is one of the cultural gems of the Ukrainian capital. Every house here can tell a story, every corner hides a legend. With numerous galleries and workshops,Andriyivsky Uzviz has always been the melting pot of Kyiv’s artists, luring them with its bohemian atmosphere and attractive hilly setting. Here you can admire the gracious architecture of St Andrew’s Church and buy handmade souvenirs from one of the local artisans.

Delicious Ukrainian cuisine

Ukrainian food is not only very tasty, but also quite affordable. When in Kyiv, you simply can’t refrain from trying traditional Ukrainian varenyky (filled dumplings) and the legendary borshch (red beetroot soup). For a genuine Kyiv urban snack, try the perepichka (sausage in a fried bun) at Kyivska Perepichka near Teatralna metro station, and taste a magnificent cinnamon roll atBulochnaya Yaroslavna bakery on busy Yaroslaviv Val street.

City of Golden Domes

This proud nickname reflects the architectural splendour of Kyiv’s churches, as well as the prominence of the Ukrainian capital for Orthodox Christians. Visitors are easily amazed by the beauty of the Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra monastery complex and the grandeur of St Sophia’s Cathedral, both Unesco World Heritage sites. You can spend days admiring the medieval frescoes and baroque facades, descending into holy dungeons

King Arthur in Britain

The real King Arthur

Arthur’s story is full of romantic embellishments, and historians have identified many figures who could be the real king. Was it Owain Ddantgwyn, who ruled the Dark Ages kingdom of Powys around 500 AD and was victorious against the Angles, Saxons and Picts? Or Riothamus, a 5th-century Roman British leader who fought against the Goths ?

The truth is, no one knows which (if either) of these warriors the legend was based upon, but that hasn’t stopped the story from becoming woven into folklore. Ever since its popularisation in the 12th century, the legend has inspired countless writers and artists, from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s solemn poetry to the surrealism of Monty Python, and most recently Guy Ritchie’s blockbuster King Arthur: Legend of the Sword(released on 24 March 2017).

A legend is born

With any good story, you must start at the beginning. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 12th-century work Historia regum Britanniae(History of the Kings of Britain), Arthur was conceived on the site ofTintagel Castle in North Cornwall.

Much of what was taken as fact from Geoffrey’s book at the time has now been dismissed as a

Secret Valleys Of The Sichuan Himalaya

Haizi Valley

The toughest and steepest walk of the three valleys, Haizi Valley also presents the most stunning panoramas of the surrounding mountains and, for strong walkers, a string of deep blue lakes to reflect the snowy peaks. Despite the long uphill walk from the valley floor at 3200m to the turn into Haizi Valley proper, Yaomei Feng (‘Youngest Sister Peak’) still towers impressively at 6250m above her three older siblings and the viewpoints far below. Along the walk, look out for strings of prayer flags fluttering in the wind and take time to stop and admire the panoramas that open up above each of the four small lakes that dot the valley.

Horsemen hire out mounts to Big Lake about halfway up the valley, so even those not keen on a steep hike can hitch a ride this far. Even if you push up the entire 19km valley to the Twin Lakes at 4600m, you’re still far below the enticing summits of Yaomei Feng and her three smaller sisters.

Changping Valley

Just beyond the small tourist village of Rilong, Changping Valley is the middle way between the heights of Haizi Valley and the managed

Ways To Explore Colombo For Free

Here are ways to explore this constantly evolving city for free.

Snake charmers charm at Viharamahadevi Park

Colombo is spoilt for choice when it comes to places to chill out, but beautifully maintained Viharamahadevi Park is a city favourite. The parades of palms and fig trees are spectacular, the lawns are dotted with statues and fountains, there are views of Colombo’s colonial-era Town Hall, and there’s always the chance of catching the odd snake charmer in action. Find a shady spot and you can people-watch for hours.

Join the locals on Colombo’s favourite promenade

Whilst it might not be quite as green as it once was, Galle Face Greenis still frequented by locals in search of some relaxing downtime. There’s a tacky but loveable charm to this seafront park, which is animated by bubble-blowers, bouncing beach balls and vibrant kites swooping across the sky. It’s also a great spot for a snack – street food traders congregate on the waterfront at sunset, serving delicious Sri Lankan treats, including crispy egg hoppers and the island’s signaturekottu, a griddle fry-up of chopped noodles, eggs and spices.

Dive into an open-air gallery at

Ways To Spend The Festive Period

Surfing in Hawaii

Hitting the waves rather than huddling around the hearth is the order of the day in Hawaii over Christmas. This US state’s surf is spectacular all year round, but takes on legendary status in December on Oahu’s North Shore. Pros and world-class board fanatics head here for swells of more than 30 feet. If that seems a tad too intense, why not join the New Year festivities and feast on whole roasted pig, a tradition which dates back to the native Hawaiians’ end-of-year Makahiki Festival, when locals took a whole four months out to party. Whether you opt for surfing or stuffing that tummy (or both), we’re sure you can squeeze in a few hours of post-Christmas dinner sunbathing.

Keep it festive: Honolulu’s annual City Lights event brings Rockefeller Center vibes to Hawaii. Think brash decorations, a brightly lit tree and carols.

An Antarctic cruise for Christmas and New Year

A cold Christmas doesn’t have to mean hunkering down when the sun sets at 3pm. Antarctica’s brief summer coincides with the festive period, making it the perfect time to hop on a boat and cruise along the icy continent’s

Find Sydney’s best beaches

Sydney is one of the world’s luckiest cities when it comes to beaches literally on its doorstep. There are harbour beaches where toddlers can paddle as well as challenging surf breaks best accessed from rocky headlands – but in the height of summer Sydney’s city beaches can get busy. Here are our tips on how to enjoy the best of Sydney’s beaches, without dealing with the crowds.

Secluded spots

Sydney is famous for its surf beaches but there are many secluded hideaway beaches dotted all around the harbour. Some are more popular than others, depending on their accessibility, but our top tips are the diminutive Lady Martins Beach at Point Piper, not far from central Sydney and tucked between the salubrious suburbs of Double Bay and Rose Bay.

On the northern side of city, head for Balmoral Beach near Mosman. It is an excellent beach for families, with a netted enclosed swimming area and large shady Moreton Bay fig trees to escape the heat. Lastly, look for Collins Beach at Manly, a long circuitous walk from the Manlyferry pier, where you may well find yourself alone for a good part of the day.