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Category Archive: Adventure Travel

Destination Morocco: Maroc N Roll 2016

Marocn rollIt is this time of the year again that you have to choose a destination for you summer holidays.

You have worked hard, you saved a bit of money, not enough but you are getting there. However, you can’t make up your mind where to go for your summer vacations.

You have looked into many brochures, you searched on-line but they all look the same boring package holidays, there is nothing exiting for you.

Not anymore we have a suggestion for you “ Maroc N Roll 2016 ”

“ Maroc N Roll 2016 ” will take place next summer between the 4th and the 21st of June. It is a 2 to 3 week road trip around Morocco, a group of 20 plus travelers will be taking part in this adventure. Staying in a variety of accommodations from rooftop terraces to desert hotels, Berber tents and even sleeping under the stars.

The trip has been organized and run by Barney and Lizzie who are both former students of Oxford Brookes University. Most of the participants of the trip are 18 to 35 year old but all are welcome as long as they have a healthy sense of humour and a love of adventure travel.

Maroc N Roll 2016 bus

The highest mountain in North Africa; the largest desert in the world; goats that climb trees; a camel burger; a camel ride (not the same camel ;), big jumps off waterfalls and camping out with nomads. These are just a fraction of what’s on offer in this summer’s Maroc N Roll 2016 adventure!

Highlights include

  • Sahara desert camel trek
  • 100 ft. waterfalls of Ouzoud
  • Climbing North Africa’s highest mountain Toubkal
  • Shopping in the markets of Marrakech
  • Atlantic coast beaches
  • Rock climbing in the magnificent Todra Gorge
  • Quad biking, horse riding, wind surfing….and much much more…

camel riding at Maroc N Roll 2016

“ Maroc N Roll 2016 ” Full Itinerary

Day 1-3 What better place to start a trip than on a beach – Essouaria, a great surfing town on the windy Atlantic coast this is the perfect spot to start our trip.

Horse riding, quad biking, surfing and wind surfing are all options here where we stay together in one huge apartment in the centre of the old medina.

Day 4  Marrakech – for those of you still wondering at the wonderful sunsets on the beach and the lapping of the waves on your toes…wake up!!

This is Marrakech – one of the most vibrant and hectic cities in the world. Keep your wits about you or we’ll lose you to the never ending market souks where you can buy anything from a Magic carpet to a talking chameleon. Staying on the rooftops of Hotel Ali looking out over the famous Jemma Fna square

Toubkal mountain in North Africa - Maroc N Roll 2016

Day 5-6  Toubkal is North Africa’s highest mountain and at half the height of Everest this is no picnic. It takes 2 days and nights to summit but for those of you that make it it’s worth every enduring step!

There’s no experience or equipment needed here, it’s a simple case of mind over matter as you head past tiny Berber villages and up the slopes of the High Atlas mountains before sleeping at the base camp and making your final push for the summit through the odd pile of snow left over from the winter.

Day 7   Back to Marrakech to rest and recuperate – you’ll need it.

Maroc N Roll 2016 jumping in the waterfalls

Day 8-9  Cascades D’ouzoud – the largest waterfalls in Morocco these are really spectacular. Over 100 ft. high and surrounded by campsites and restaurants you can even take a tiny boat and get rowed into the falls themselves – as long as you don’t mind getting wet!

We’ll be staying in some Berber tents down below the falls giving us a great view for 2 days whiling away the time jumping off high things or exploring the pathways on foot.

Day 10  Ait Benhaddou – ‘Hollywood of Morocco’ this is the setting of numerous movies and TV including ‘Gladiator’, ‘Babel’ ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and more recently ‘Game of Thrones’. One night here sleeping on the rooftops before heading towards the desert.

Day 11-12  Todra Gorge – A couple of hours from the desert and we’re in a completely different setting but just as stunning. A huge gorge in the rocks here opens up to offer spectacular views and some great climbing opportunities. Ropes, helmets and harnesses supplied for those of you wanting to scale the cliffs.

For the rest of you just chill out by the pool washing the sand off yourselves from the desert or walk through the beautiful palmery that covers the river bed below.

Maroc N Roll 2016 Sahara desert

Day 13   Sahara & Erfoud – Arriving in the desert kingdom of Erfoud we’ll have lunch a look around this interesting ‘gateway to the desert’ town. Then in the afternoon we’ll head off to Merzouga where we chill out in a plush hotel with swimming pool before our night in the dunes commences.

If a night in the dunes just isn’t for you then yes you can stay in the plush hotel for the same price as the camel trek. As evening draws in it’s off road into the desert by camel for a 2 hour trek into the dunes.

Sleeping under the stars or in a bed – the choice is yours – you’ll dine in the dunes before sleeping then waking up to the sun creeping over the sand. Leaving before it gets too hot out here we head back with our camels for our next adventure.

Maroc N Roll 2016 crossing the desert by bus

Day 14   Camping with the Nomads. Now that you’re familiar with the culture let’s go and meet some locals, and enjoy their hospitality. Heading south towards the desert we’ll stop over and camp under the stars surrounded by forests where you may well spot a monkey or two as well as learn to make some bread or weave a carpet nomad style.

Day 15-17   Chefchaouen – Hidden in the Rif mountains and only really visible once you are upon it, Chefchaoeun is a stunningly beautiful, chilled out blue and white village where we begin our adventure.

A day trip to paradise falls here in Akchour make this an unforgettable way to start the journey and bring you gently into the dramatic culture change from Europe to North Africa. Staying in a small hotel in the centre of the town.

The Overlanders

Day 18   Heading back to London from Tangier or Rabat on the coast.

This is not a holiday, this is the travel adventure of a life time.

So you better hurry up as places are getting filled up really quickly.

For more information on how to book your “Moroc N Roll 2016” adventure please contact Barney and Lizzie on Facebook.

 

Maroc N Roll 2016  https://www.facebook.com/events/1035610683137415/

The Overlanders  https://www.facebook.com/foreveroverland/

 

Six autumn days on the beautiful island of Crete

 

The beautiful island of Crete

A late October escape to the beautiful island of Crete begins with my arrival in Chania. My gamble to visit the island so late in the season seems to be blessed by the Ancient Gods, as the sweet Aegean sun is still most definitely shining in this part of the Mediterranean; the summer hordes of holiday tourists have long since departed and the island is begging to be explored.

Base camp for this autumn adventure, the ancient and “off the beaten track” village of Aptera, situated on the north-west coast of Crete between the towns of Souda and Kalives. Aptera lies approximately 13 km east of Chania. A hidden treasure of a location; unspoilt, and unique in its rich history and local hospitality.

Home to two importantAptera Castle and impressive historical sites. The ruins of the Ancient City of Aptera and the Fortress of Sousbasi, also known as Koules of Aptera. Both sites just a stone’s throw walk away from the Aptera Hotel, a small family run complex of modern studio apartments, with a most spectacular view of Souda Bay and the White Mountains.

Traditionally furnished, spacious, self-catering apartments, well equipped, with all necessary amenities and complementary Wi-Fi access.

A place to call home after a long day out, on the road, mountain or beach out exploring Crete and all it has to offer its guests.

With the relatively short time I have to spend on the island a hire car is a must, as I wish to see as much as one can possibly see in Crete and the freedom of having your own transport to accommodate your schedule offers a freedom of possibilities and destinations.Aptera cisterns

The island roads are well maintained and destinations for the most part well signposted.

The first port of call is the Old Town of Chania and its famed Venetian built harbour. The quaint narrow shopping streets and waterfront restaurants, all housed in old buildings of Venetian or Turkish design make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

I recommend taking a lengthy stroll through the town, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells it has to offer – which are plentiful. Then pick a spot to rest, order a meze and some tsikoudia (the Cretan raki drink) and watch the world go by, the backdrop of the Venetian lighthouse and the Mosque of Yiali Tzami is sure to make the moment magical.

My second day in Chania, Crete is spent exploring the local area. In the morning I set off by foot, a visit to the ruins of the Ancient City of Aptera and the Fortress of Sousbasi. What a nice way to start ones day.

I won’t lie, I’m no history buff and I’m not here on a quest to enhance my knowledge of history and classical antiquities but my mornings walk through the Roman ruins has been a wonderful, serene experience and the views from the top of the hill have stolen my heart.

The most impressive monument on the site, in my humble opinion, is the impressively preserved Roman cisterns which have survived centuries and earthquakes galore in order for me to feel like Lara Croft exploring them.

The Fortress is also astonishingly well preserved and an imposing landmark I can look to in awe, in order to guide myself back to Aptera if I find myself geographically challenged during my travels.

I then travel by car, to explore the neighbouring villages of Kalives and Almyrida, the October sun still guiding my travels, I take a stroll in Kalives and stop foSamaria Gorger a coffee, astonished to still see tourists still swimming in the crystal blue waters so late in the Autumn season.

I then drive a few kilometres east to Almyrida where I stop for fresh fish and glass of wine, watching the sun set and planning my adventure to Samaria Gorge the following day.

An avid adventurer and a keen walker the main reason I wanted to visit Crete was to walk the famous Samaria Gorge. Knowing that visits to the National Park are only allowed from the beginning of May to the end of October and fully aware that weather this time of year may very well take a turn for the worse, I was keen to attempt to cross the Gorge as soon as possible.

Research taught me that the usual way to “do the Gorge” was to take an organised tour, from Chania by bus to the starting point of Omalos, travelling through breath-taking mountain scenery, and then departing on the beautiful yet treacherous 13km trek through the Gorge, arriving in Agia Roumeli some 5-6 hours later.

The only way to then leave Agia Roumeli, which is only accessible by foot, and return to Chania is by boat via Chora Sfakion or alternatively to Sougia. This is the usual way to pass the Samaria Gorge.

However if you’re up for a challenge and are physically able to, there is another way. Drive to Omalos in your own hire car, arrive early, (you can call the Park Rangers the previous evening to confirm opening time on +30 28210 67179), pay your 5 euro entrance fee and depart on a most adventurous and exciting journey of a lifetime.

Kri-Kri Samaria GeorgeWalk through well-trodden paths, with plentiful water stops, take in the stunning scenery and stop off to say hello to the Kri Kri (indigenous to Crete and protected species of mountain goat), walk joyful mile after mile, appreciating the wilderness along the way.

You arrive in Agia Roumeli, take a well-earned break and then … well you walk back up to Omalos again! The Park Rangers give a guideline time of this route of 10 hours, so if you are trusting of your ability to undertake such a walk and allow plentiful time you can appreciate the Gorge twice fold and experience both routes.

Only the last 4km are of a significant physical challenge, where the gradient increase rises back up to 1236m quite rapidly and unforgivingly. Those with weak knees should not attempt this. Walking the Gorge in late October, providing the weather is on your side is an unprecedented experience. No long queues of busloads of tourists littering the way, fair weather and a sense of achievement await those who go to Samaria.

Fourth day in Crete and understandably after the challenging walk down and back up Samaria Gorge it is a relatively easy going day. A nice, easy going, excursion to Lake Kournas just 30 minutes away from Aptera, provides an ideal location to relax, recuperate and take a slow pedalo journey across the mystical mountain lake.

lake cournas

An afternoon visit to Souda and the Souda Commonwealth War Cemetery is a worthwhile drive, to pay respects to the fallen soldiers of past Word Wars. A serene, beautiful and peaceful place of rest, worthy of our respect and reflection.

A visit to Rethymnon, another stunning Venetian built harbour town of Crete, greets my fifth day on the island. After a walk up Mt Vrisina a few kilometres north of the town, where poor weather now prevents summiting, a rainy October walk leads me into town.

There I seek refuge one of the towns welcoming and hospitable tavernas and pass away the time, sharing stories and travel experiences with other travellers.

My final day in Crete beckons me to try my luck walking another Gorge, this time the Gorge of Agia Eirini, inland towards Sougia. The lesser known sister of Samaria Gorge is a much easier trek of 7km down a gradient of 500metres.

Agia Eirini Gorge

Alas the previous day’s rains have made the Gorge impassable after the 3rd kilometre so the planned journey is cut short. Onwards and upwards through mountains to the beautiful southern seaside town of Sougia, where the sun is still shining and people are still swimming in its luscious bays.

There I stop off to walk along the shore, watch fishermen head out to sea with their boats and feed local stray cats the leftovers of my most delicious fish supper.

My six autumn days on Crete have too swiftly come to an end. What a diverse, lovely landscape I have been treated to in the last few days. What generous, hospitable and honourable people I have met along my travels. One thing is for sure, I will return to the beautiful island of Crete as my journey here is far from complete.

To be continued….


Travel blog by El MEl Mitropoulouitropoulou.

Travelling solo around the Globe, seeking adventure and challenge.

Namaste

Luxury in the Outback

Luxury in the OutbackAs Dorothea Mackellar puts it poetically Australia is ‘A land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains’. It is a country of stark contrasts and immense beauty that is beholden of locals and tourists alike with its charm and uniqueness. 

There is no comparison to the experience one can have in Australia’s outback as many travellers can attest. For those that have witnessed the lavishly isled they are only too quick to recommend it.

Now that Australia finally caught up with lavish tourist offers, it’s time to explore this wonderful country off the beaten path. A trip to the Outback with all of its earthen features does not have to encompass a third-rate proffering, but can indulge luxury and accommodate all the modern conveniences of modern-day city living.

Interested parties can take a leaf out of any iconic Australian film as enthusiastic travel agents are ready and waiting to create custom packages for luxury in the outback.

 

Luxury in the OutbackLuxury Farm Stays

Luxury farm stays have become popularised since Prince Harry spent some time holed up as a Jackeroo on the 16,000 hectare Tooloombilla station in Queensland. Despite the intensity of the unforgiving environment of Outback Australia, tourists are not required to rough it.

There are now a number of rural properties that offer luxury accommodation for their visitors, including air-conditioned Queenslander-style bungalows decorated with a modern interior, polished timber floors and equipped with spa baths, saunas, infinity pools and large, flat-screen televisions.

The prestigious appeal of farm stays does not end with the quality of the lodgings. In fact it is elevated by the ability to customise experiences on the land to include Aboriginal rock art tours, cattle mustering, tailor-made river cruises and scenic helicopter flights over deep pools and rock formations where visitors can choose to be dropped for delicious local seafood dining experiences and a night of glamping under the phenomenal starry-night sky.

The possibilities are endless with accommodating hosts and the captivating imagination of seasoned-travellers.

To indulge in a luxury farm stay have a look at: a luxury farm stay

Bullo River Station, Northern Territory http://bulloriver.com/

Angorichina Station, South Australia http://www.angorichinastation.com.au/

 

Personalised luxury air tours

Australia is a vast and disparate land which showcases a spectacular contrast between city and country. To approach the vastness of the outback and experience it fully is to encounter it through a personal air tour. By flying over remote locations you will be availed of extraordinary landscapes hidden from the average traveller.

A tour of the Australian outback by air means that you are able to reach remote destinations that are untouched and pristine. Your accommodation options include award-winning eco villas with skylights to take in the breathtaking stars, private en-suites and queen-size beds. You can also dine on dishes inspired by local-produce.

 a luxury farm stayThe luxurious and personal air tours have guest numbers limited to a discerning few so that the experience is able to be enjoyed fully. Each tour can be customised to meet the individual request of travellers or can include a variety of spectacular destinations featured in Australian advertising brochures. Tourists can visit places such as:

• Lake Eyre – Australia’s lowest point and the world’s largest internally draining system
• Native wildlife on Kangaroo Island
• Wilderness of the Kimberleys and Kakadu
• The expanse that makes up Gawler Ranges and the Eyre Peninsula
• Inspirational landscapes of the Flinders Ranges
• Significance and spiritual nature of Uluru and Kata Tjuta of the Red Centre

There are a plethora of options to experience the wide brown land of Australia where stretching blue skies open up above the vast deserts and all-encompassing bushland.

If you are searching for a unique holiday that highlights the nature of Australia and complements the natural beauty of the land, an Australian Outback luxury tour could be just the ticket. Whichever way you choose to be enveloped by the Australian wilderness and Outback you can be assured of a spiritual and deeply unforgettable experience.

The juxtaposition created between the luxury of a personalized air tour or luxury farm stay and the untouched Outback emphasises the lavish multifaceted nature of the land down under. Furthermore you can sign up for a frequent flyer card, which will get you exclusive lounge access in pretty much any airport, so your luxurious extravaganza doesn’t have to end in the Outback!

How to Spend a Great Weekend in Devon

A weekend in Devon - The Valley of Rocks

Devon – The Valley of Rocks

It’s home to some of England’s most beautiful beaches, stunning historical buildings, and most decadent cream teas.

While Devon’s popularity is well known, there’s a lot more to this charming county than the guidebooks will let you in on.

From award-winning beaches to intriguing galleries, read on to learn from the UK travel experts at Coast and Country Hotels about the best way to enjoy a weekend in Devon.

Getting There:

Getting to Devon is easy. Exeter and Plymouth, the county’s two biggest towns, are connected with London by rail. Trains depart from Paddington on the Cornwall line and take approximately 2½ hours to reach Exeter and 3½ hours to reach Plymouth.

Devon is also easy to reach by private car. The M5 terminates in Exeter, making it easy for visitors from Bristol and elsewhere to access the county. North Devon is served by the A30, which also allows visitors to travel onwards to Cornwall.

Finally, Devon is easy to reach from further afield by air. Flights arrive in Exeter International Airport from Paris, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam, as well as several British population centres.

What To Do:

Devon is home to hundreds of amazing attractions, ranging from stunning beaches to historical cathedrals. Below are five famous Devon activities that offer the best of Devon for visitors to this charming county:

1. Exeter Cathedral

Opened in 1400, Exeter Cathedral is a great example of Norman-Gothic architecture in England’s South West. This remarkable building is known for its incredible vaulted ceiling, which is the longest of its type in England.

2. Plymouth Barbican

Plymouth’s historical waterfront district is incredibly picturesque. Largely spared from destruction during the Second World War, the Barbican still looks the same as it did when Plymouth was a 16th century fishing port.

3. Woolacombe Beach

Voted Britain’s Best Beach by the Mail on Sunday, Woolacombe is undoubtedly one of Devon’s best natural attractions. Pack your sunscreen and visit in the afternoon to enjoy a quick swim before watching the sunset.

4. Brook Gallery

Open since 1997, the Brook Gallery has grown into one of Devon’s best known and highly acclaimed art galleries. The gallery is known for its limited edition art prints, all of which are available to purchase.

5. Valley of the Rocks

Famous for its fossils, the Valley of the Rocks is an incredible dry valley formed by a combination of glacial movements and coastal erosion. The valley is a truly stunning sight, particularly in the early morning or late afternoon as the sun is setting.

From coastline to culture, Devon is home to a wonderful range of places to go, things to do, and sights to appreciate. Learn more about weekend break offers from Coast and Country and plan your Devon holiday today.

 

Good news from Greece! Greek tourism is UP!!

Good news from Greece

Greece Infinite Inspiring Amazing

Good news from Greece, after a rough 2012 when tourists, scared off by political and social unrest and images of protests, strike and riots stayed away in droves, 2013 is shaping up to be a rebound year with more than a million more visitors than last year expected.

The good news came from the head of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises, Andreas Andreadis, who spoke to the Bank of Greece shareholders’ meeting on Feb. 25.

Andreadis said figures show that the British market is reporting a rise of 20 percent, and the markets of Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries displaying growth of 15 percent.

Developing tourism markets such as Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Turkey are also showing a rise in demand, leading to an increase of more than 20 percent in the number of seats available, he said, according to the newspaper Kathimerini.

Andreadis cautioned though that there are concerns about the markets of Italy, Spain and Bulgaria, as their financial troubles may cut back on visitors traveling from those countries. He said there has been increased interest in maritime and cruise tourism, though incoming conference tourism remains somewhat lackluster because Athens and Thessaloniki are not seen as favorable destinations.

Good news from Greece - Holidays in Santorini

Holidays in Santorini

Domestic tourism isn’t looking good though as Greeks buried under austerity measures are cutting back or giving up on visiting their own land. Last year Greeks spent only 1.5 billion euros ($1.98 billion) in Greece, half of the levels of the pre-economic crisis year of 2008. He said a further decline, although smaller, is expected this year.

Andreadis added that the targets of 17 million foreign tourists and 11 billion euros ($14.4 billion) in revenues from tourism are likely to be attained or even exceeded. Should a few crucial measures be taken, he noted, Greek tourism could in the next two to three years reach up to 20 million visitors, adding some 3 percent to the country’s faltering Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and tens of thousands of new jobs.

The Greek news agency AMNA reported that he also said tourism is  strong supporter of the Greek economy after achieving its targets of attracting 16 million international arrivals and 10 billion euros in tourism receipts last year, although that was less than the previous year and achieved despite the crisis.

Andreadis said that annual investments worth 2.5 billion euros ($3.27 billion) were needed to raise tourism’s contribution to 40 percent of the country’s future economic growth. He said it could be attained stressed that the first 11 significant new investment plans were currently under licensing procedures by Greek authorities.

Meteora Greece

Meteora Greece

Promotion of an ambitious privatization program and the sale or lease of idle tourist real estate assets by banks were also expected to help towards achieving this year, he noted, although the country’s international lenders say the expectations are far below projections.

He said it was critical  to speed up procedures for visa issuing, reducing the 23 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on the restaurant industry to 13 pct and of the VAT on coastal shipping to 13 pct, with the goal of reducing a VAT on tourism to 6.5 pct.

Source: http://greece.greekreporter.com

Cultural Tourism: A never ending quest for history & culture

Everybody likes to be on vacations away from work and we all have our own special little ways of making our holidays more enjoyable and memorable. A holiday is a dream of a life time for many.

Some travellers prefer to be in big holiday resorts with many activities for families, some others prefer holiday resorts with a night life. There are also some who prefer to go solo, beyond the beaten track, find new places on the map and explore new cultures.

Cultural Tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing global tourism markets. For many years it was undeveloped and on the sidelines as the main tour operators worldwide, where focusing on the mass market and developed their products accordingly.

In recent years many cultural travellers being unsatisfied with what was on offer have decided to go the opposite way, by using the internet they can now search on-line for places of culture, art, and history and book their flights and accommodation independently away from the main tour operators. They plan their own itinerary and create their own tailor maid holiday activities.

Today we present you five places in the world (some not very well known to many) where a cultural traveller will be hugely satisfied in his quest for history, art, culture.

 

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Cambodia – Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was built by a king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum.
The temple was dedicated to the god Vishnu. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It clearly represents one of humankind’s most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements.

 

 

Cultural Tourism

The ancient city of Aptera

Greece – The ancient city of Aptera

The ancient city of Aptera was build by Glaukos, The name Aptera, according to one tradition, derives from Apteron, king of Crete, who is said to have lived in the time of Moses around 1800 BC. Alternative legends claim the city of Aptera took its name following a musical competition between the Muses and the Sirens held in the Temple of the Muses. At the time of the competition the city was renowned as a center for musical expertise.

The ancient city of Aptera walls still standing today 3.480 meters long are reminiscent of the Cyclopean walls of Tiryns and Mycenae. One can also see the remains of a small 1st c. B.C. temple of Demeter, a Roman theatre and the enormous vaulted cisterns of the Roman era.

 

Uqba Mosque Kairouan

Uqba Mosque Kairouan

Tunisia – Mosque of Uqba

The Mosque of Uqba, also known as the Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most important mosques in Tunisia, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan. Built by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi from 670 AD at the founding of the city of Kairouan, the mosque is spread over a surface area of 9,000 square meters and it is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as a model for all later mosques in the Maghreb.

The Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa, its perimeter is almost equal to 405 meters. This vast space contains a hypostyle prayer hall, a huge marble-paved courtyard and a massive square minaret. In addition to its spiritual prestige, the Mosque of Uqba is one of the masterpieces of both architecture and Islamic art.

 

Cultural Tourism

Hatshepsut Temple

Egypt – The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is the focal point of the Deir el-Bahri complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite of the city of Luxor (ancient Thebes). It was built by architect Senmut at 1490-1460 BC at the order of Queen Hatshepsut, stepmother of pharaoh Thutmose III and the construction of the temple of Hatshepsut took fifteen years. The temple was dedicated to the sun god Amon-Ra.

 

 

Cultural Tourism

The Citadel of Herat

Afghanistan – The Citadel of Herat

The Citadel of Herat also known as the Citadel of Alexander, and locally known as Qala Iktyaruddin, it is located in the center of Herat in Afghanistan. It dates back to 330 BC, when Alexander the Great and his army arrived to what is now Afghanistan after the Battle of Gaugamela. Many empires have used it as a headquarters in the last 2,000 years, and was destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries.

 

Indian Cuisine: A Food Lover’s Guide to India

Indian cuisine - a variety of Indian spices

A variety of Indian spices

Modern day explorers are taking a cue from Christopher Columbus’s original itinerary and setting their sights on a direct route to India. The country known for its diverse geography, colourful landscape and distinctive culture is fast becoming a holiday hot spot for the world’s adventure seekers.

Indian cuisine often reflects the country’s cultural and geographic variations, but despite the differences, the creative use of spices always serves as a common thread that binds the country together. Experiencing the dishes that makes each region of the country famous is certainly one of the best ways to enjoy India holidays.

North Indian Cuisine
The geography and associated agricultural products of each Indian region serve as an appetising palette for India’s culinary creations. North Indian cuisine, prepared in the country’s states of Kashmir, Punjab and Rahasthan, offer visitors a taste of India that includes spicy meat dishes as well as those prepared with rich creams.

North Indian dishes are influenced by popular religious beliefs of the people, and lamb is used in many of the meat dishes instead of beef or pork.

East Indian Cuisine
Ingredients used in East Indian dishes, such as those found in the state of Orissa, heavily reflect its coastal environment. Fish and shellfish are used extensively in these mildly spiced regional dishes. Common spices used to flavour vegetable dishes are cumin, fenugreek and mustard while turmeric is also used for mild curry meat dishes.

West Bengal, another East Indian state, provides a spicier contrast to Orissa. Its vegetable, rice, lentil and fish dishes make extensive use of chillies as well as other regional spices.

West Indian Cuisine

The dishes and food preparation methods of West India cuisine may contain the most internal variations than all the regions of India. The region known as the Konkan coast provides a picturesque setting during one’s India holidays to enjoy seafood dishes often flavoured with locally grown coconuts.

West India dishes range from extremely spicy to relatively subdued.

South Indian Cuisine

The cuisine of South India includes rice-based dishes flavoured with chutneys of varying levels of spice and heat. South Indian food often uses lentils and legumes, particularly the popular chickpea. Chickpeas are used whole as well as ground to flour for traditional baked goods. Sweets play a prominent role in the culture of the people of South India regions; visitors may sample tasty pastries and rich sweetened rice fritters.

One of the best things about Indian food is that it is so accommodating to many different dietary preferences. Vegetarians find a host of delicious meal options available in most regions while non-vegetarians are never at a loss for a healthy, varied menu either.

Indians are not only extremely skilled at weaving together the complex blends of spices needed to produce their tasty dishes, but they also happen to enjoy the process very much. Becoming an official tourist taste tester is certainly a way to win new friends and maybe even learn a secret recipe or two while on India holidays.

Author: A food lover’s guide to India was writen by Tom Browne who visited India in 2012.  India holidays are an explosion of colours, scents and tastes and Tom instantly fell in love with the unforgettable cuisine on offer.