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9 June 2020 / 7 minutes to read
Annapurna Circuit: all about Nepal's most popular track
The Annapurna Circuit is Nepal's most popular trekking route. And there are many reasons for this, from the picturesque and diverse landscapes on the track to its relative simplicity. But you should not think that you can conquer the Thorong La pass in one fell swoop, in slippers and shorts. As for any other mountain hike, in order to pass the track around Annapurna with comfort, you need to know a number of important things. Mountains and beyond: things to do in Nepal Preparation for the track - equipment and documents Although the Annapurna Circuit is much simpler than the track to Everest Base Camp, it will be very difficult to overcome this route without some things. So you will need: - Comfortable shoes. Ideally, this should be mountain boots with a secure fit of the foot and non-slip soles. A large part of the track passes along trampled mountain roads and paths, but on the Thorong La pass, you may need to walk along the glacier. If you have a place in a backpack or you are going with a sherpa porter, then you can take two pairs of shoes - light sneakers and boots. - Warm clothes. Up to the mark of 2500-3000 meters, you can go light - in pants and a T-shirt, but closer to the pass, you will need thermal underwear, a warm sweater and a non-blown jacket, a hat and gloves. - Sunglasses and sunblock. The higher the mountains, the more ultraviolet radiation burns the skin. At high altitude, you can easily get sunburned even if there is snow around, and because of the cold wind, you will not feel the sun's rays at all. - Trekking poles. These things are not necessary, but desirable. Sticks significantly facilitate long pedestrian crossings, serve as additional support on complex terrain and icy ground. - First aid kit. It must have anti-colds, antipyretic and painkillers, as well as a bandage and means for disinfecting abrasions and cuts. It is also recommended to take pills for a mountain sickness, for example, Diamox, although you might not need it. - Chargers for equipment and a portable battery. There are enough settlements and, accordingly, sockets on the route, so if you have a charger, you definitely won’t be left with a discharged smartphone or camera. - Thermos. The first half of the way, you can carry cold water in it, the second - hot tea. Also, a reusable bottle for water will not hurt. - Raincoat. Even in the midst of the dry season in the mountains, there are widespread showers, and getting wet during a mountain trekking is not really a fun. - Sleeping bag. Optionally, if you do not want to pay extra for warm blankets, when stopping for the night. In addition, a good clean sleeping bag can be not only warmer, but also more hygienic than blankets in the loggias. - Headlamp. It will be useful on the last day before the pass, when you need to go out before dawn, and in general, it will not hurt. A huge plus of the track around Annapurna is that you do not need to carry a tent, a burner and other camping equipment with you, if you are not an avid supporter of overnight stays. Of course, a convenient backpack for equipment is still needed. Everything you need for passing through the Annapurna Circuit can be bought or rented in Kathmandu or Pokhara or even on the way, for example, a hat, a scarf and warm gloves. But keep in mind that these things may not be of high quality, so experienced travelers prefer to take their proven equipment. You are allowed to go into the mountains without trekking poles and hats, but not without a special permit. The permit for the route and the climber’s book TIMS are issued in Kathmandu or Pokhara. For registration, you need 3 passport-size photographs and a copy of the first page of the passport and the visa page, both documents cost 37 euros. If you issue permits at a travel agency or hotel, you will have to pay extra for their services. Documents are checked very often. Dust and flags: what to see in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal Annapurna Circuit Trekking - options, prices and conditions You can walk on the track in two ways - on your own (or with a company) or with a porter. A sherpa porter can be hired before the start or on the way, and his services cost around 200 euros, depending on for how long you hire a sherpa. Of course, the price also depends on your ability to bargain. If you go to the Thorong La pass with a sherpa, then the track becomes much easier and more fun. The porter not only drags your belongings on himself, but also makes arrangemets for an overnight stay in advance, which is especially important in the high season, helps in difficult places and even photographs you in a pose of a mountain conqueror. On the other hand, if you want to go the route alone with your thoughts, and you are not afraid to solve all the problems yourself (which is easy), then you can do without a porter. There are several options for independent passage. You can start walking from the very first settlement - the town of Besisahar, to which a bus takes you from Kathmandu or Pokhara. Then you will need to walk about 140 kilometers to the city next to the Thorong La pass, and it will last 8-12 days, depending on your pace. You can go a full circuit, it's 300 kilometers and about 3 weeks on the road, in this case the track is divided into two parts - two weeks for the rise to the top point (almost 5500 meters above sea level) and a week for the descent. However, after the pass, you can catch a bus to Pokhara in any village. You can also rent a jeep in Besisahar and travel in just one day the distance covered on foot in 4-5 days. This is a good option to save time and start the journey from the most picturesque sites, but it is bad for health, because the ascent is too fast. If you drive a jeep to settlements located at an altitude of 2500 meters above sea level, then upon arrival you should stay in place a couple of days, so that the body gets used to the height. Otherwise, you run the risk of mountain sickness. The conditions on the track can hardly be called Spartan. In addition to the last 3-4 settlements in front of the upper point, these are comfortable warm houses with hot water and Wi-Fi. Villages are found every 2-3 kilometers with cafes, where you can eat hearty for 5-6 euros per person. A night in a hotel-loggia costs 2-3 euros, or even completely free, but on the condition that you eat in the same place where you spend the night. The higher you go, the higher the price of food is, and such benefits of civilization as Wi-Fi, hot water and warm blankets are often provided for an additional fee - 1 euro for each service. Also on the route, there are many points with drinking water, which you can bottle into your container for symbolic 10-15 cents per liter. On average, a person spends about 20 euros per day. Other important things to know The best time to go through the Annapurna Circuit is from mid-March to mid-May and in October-November. In the summer, it often rains in the Himalayas, that is why you will have to walk in the mud rather (not through dry trampled trails), and it is cold in the winter, avalanches and snow drifts occur. In order to reduce the risk of mountain sickness, it is recommended not to eat meat or drink alcohol and coffee during the passage of the track - all this increases the load on the cardiovascular system, which is not so small at altitude. Strong black tea should also be replaced with a herbal or ginger lemon honey, a traditional Nepalese drink. A gradual climb reduces the risk of health problems - no more than 500 meters per day. Together with the permit to go through the Annapurna Circuit, a map is issued showing the height of each of the settlements, so you can plan in advance, where exactly to spend the night. And from the town of Manang, you should make a one-day acclimatization trip to Ice Lake, so your body will get used to an altitude of more than 4000 meters above sea level. In cafes and loggias on the track, not only Nepalese rupees are willingly accepted, but also US dollars and euros, and you don't need to rely on non-cash payment. Make sure to take cash with you, after Besisahar, there is only one ATM on the track, which is located after the pass in the town of Jomsom (and it doesn’t always work). In large settlements, there are bank branches where you can receive Western Union transfers. The last bank branches before the pass are in the town of Chame, after it and until Jomsom, you can only rely on cash. In order to keep your strength on the road without stopping at some cafes several times a day, bring along you something nutritious, which takes little space - nuts, dried fruits, protein bars or banal Snickers. If you do not want to take a cold shower in those places where there is simply no hot water, then you can do with wet wipes for several days. In an emergency, you can be evacuated from the track by helicopter, but it will cost you very far from cheap. The price of evacuation depends on the height, from which you are evacuated, and it can reach up to 1000 euros. The Annapurna Circuit trekking route does not require special physical training or special equipment. It is famous for its picturesque landscapes and gives a huge amount of unforgettable impressions. So choose the format that is most convenient for you, load a backpack, buy tickets to Nepal and go on an adventure!
7 June 2020 / 8 minutes to read
Antelope Canyon and More: Travel Tips
Bright fiery colors, sunbeams breaking through the dust, stones of bizarre forms: by this description, many travelers will guess, that it is Antelope Canyon, located in the United States. Today's article from Travellizy is about what to expect from this attraction and whether there are any alternatives. Navajo people Antelope Canyon is located in northeastern Arizona (southwestern United States), on lands that belong to the Navajo Indians. The huge reservation area of 70,000 km² can be compared with the size of Ireland or the Czech Republic. Photo from jlrmaps The main part of the Navajo reservation is occupied by dry prairies and rocks in the territory of three states at once: Utah, Arizona, New Mexico. Reservation status guarantees many privileges to Navajo people. They have their own government, police, administration. Living on lands without Indian blood is only possible, if work requires it. Most often, such outsiders are health workers and teachers. The remaining posts are occupied by Native Indians and their descendants. Slot canyon Antelope Canyon is part of a group of geographic objects called slot canyons. The main features of this miracle of nature are a narrow crevice and high walls. For thousands of years, water has passed through stones, expanding cracks - this is how slot canyons were formed. Antelope Canyon is not the only one in the region corresponding to this name. But thanks to marketing and a convenient location, it has become super-popular, overshadowing other equally beautiful slot canyons. A list with many alternatives can be found at the end of this article. City of Page Most of the tourists visiting these places stop in Page, located on the shores of Lake Powell, bordering Utah. A small town, where all the attractions are connected with natural beauties, provides food and accommodation for almost all travelers, who explore this part of Arizona. It is located on the border of Utah. Photo from jlrmaps To get here from Las Vegas, you must overcome 450 km. Another major city you can come from is Los Angeles, but the road will take you at least eight hours (almost 900 km) through endless deserts. There are many motels and restaurants in Page, but expecting a super-service will be naive: it is customary to earn money on tourists. Status of the Holy Land Antelope Canyon received the official status of a sacred place of the Navajo tribe in 1997. Every four years, a blessing ritual is held here to express gratitude to nature for creating such an amazing and beautiful place. Being here, you may not litter, drink alcohol, eat and behave disrespectfully towards nature. Smoking is impossible too, although the Indian guides smoke, waiting for the group. The name should not mislead you: you will not be able to see the antelopes. But in these parts, there are indeed pronghorns: large red-headed artiodactyls with the size of a roe deer. This is an endangered species, so it is very rare to see it. Pronghorn is the fastest land animal in North America. Two entrances to one canyon Tours to Antelope Canyon start at two different places. The first option is Lower Canyon: you leave your car here, wait for the group and go with a guide. The second option is Upper Canyon. To get to its entrance on your own transport will not work. You must leave your vehicle in the parking lot and wait until a special car is filled with tourists, which will bring you to the canyon. There are no seat belts, just like no roads. So get ready to hold on tightly to the seat, when you are tossed about on numerous bumps and potholes. If pregnant women travel with you, it is better to choose the option without a trip by car. The same applies to those with back pain. When choosing which canyon to visit, your wishes and your willingness to spend a more or less significant amount are taken into account. Upper Antelope Canyon is easier in terms of walking: there are no ups or downs. In Lower Antelope Canyon, you have to make little effort to get through the stones. The length of Upper Canyon is 200 meters, Lower Canyon - 407 meters. In both canyons, the duration of the tour for photographers is 2 hours, a regular tour lasts 1 hour 15 minutes, a maximum of 1.5 hours. In order for the dust to get on camera, the guide uses a small scoop and throws it up. At this time, you must click the shutter as quickly as possible. For those who paid for the photo tour, the guide provides an additional service: yelling at other groups so that they do not linger and step out of the shot as soon as possible. Preliminary planning Independent visits to the canyon have been prohibited since 1997. Everyone who wants to visit this place must pay a tour. When choosing a date and time, make sure you consider the weather and position of the sun. One day before the visit, check the status of your reservation, as it can be canceled. In this case, it is necessary to postpone the visit to another day. It’s not so easy to see the famous sunbeams breaking through the dust. You need to be in the canyon at a certain season (the period from May to September is recommended), in addition, at a certain time from 11:30 to 12:30 in the Upper Canyon, and from 12:30 to 13:30 in the Lower Canyon. If you made the decision to visit it at the last moment without booking a place on the tour, be prepared to spend several hours waiting in the parking lot. Before arriving at the place, make sure you check the local time: not all areas of Arizona observe Daylight Savings Time. Therefore, focusing on smartphones is necessary taking into account local traditions. On cloudy winter days, the canyon loses its beauty and does not make a special impression by its color scheme. But cheer up: filters in graphic editors add colors and impress your friends and relatives! Risks and precautionary measures In general, visiting the canyon is available to guests with any level of physical fitness. The exception is people who use strollers, or with other restrictions on movement: narrow corridors can hardly accommodate groups of tourists slowly walking in one direction. It is impossible to turn around and go in the opposite direction. It is also better to refuse this excursion, if you have the fear of confined spaces. But the greatest danger is not obvious to many guests: flash floods. How unpredictable flooding in Arizona can be is shown in an amateur video made in 2013: Antelope Canyon is associated with a disaster that killed 11 people. In August 1997, two groups of tourists examined the canyon and took photographs. Despite the fact that the meteorological forecast was made in advance and the water had already leaked into the canyon, the guide decided to conduct a tour. Meanwhile, a powerful downpour took place 25 kilometers away from the place of the excursion. Streams of rain quickly overcame this distance along the channel and a powerful wall of muddy red water flooded the narrow crevice of Antelope Canyon in just 3-4 minutes. Only one participant out of 12 survived, and some bodies were never found: they were carried away by the current. The legal proceedings did not result in any penalties or fines, but a memorial sign was placed honored to the dead tourists. After this tragic incident, great care is taken in rainy weather in Antelope Canyon. Safety standards were revised: now, if it rains in the area, tours are canceled. In order to facilitate exit from the canyon for visitors during emergency situations, a ladder with handrails was installed. Despite the fact that the guides are specially trained, try to pay attention to the weather conditions on the spot, as not all accompanying guides speak English well and understand foreign accents. On this tour, you will need comfortable closed-toe shoes. Clothes should be selected depending on the season and weather. It may snow here in the winter, and the temperature drops to 6-10 ° C. A hat, sunscreen and a bottle of water are required in the summer. Personal items Make sure to check in advance, whether you may take a backpack and other personal items with you on a tour. Sometimes, when a lot of people gather in the canyon, the guides allow you to take only a bottle of water with you. But since the tours are carried out by different operators, it is better to check with them. Selfie sticks, tripods and lighting kit for taking photographs can only be carried with, if you have paid for the photo tour. Other canyons - choose according to your preferences! If you want to see other options for slot canyons and regular canyons in this region, there are more than twenty options at your service. You can enjoy the same red-fiery colors, high walls and bizarre rocks, but without a crowd and a race against time. For your convenience, we have grouped the canyons by the states in which they are located. Detailed information about each place must be searched on the Internet, but the rules for visiting are about the same: local guides, security, planning. Here is a good website for getting such information. Each of these options has its own nuances: complexity, route duration, remoteness and inaccessibility. Thanks to many videos on Youtube, you can see in advance what to expect. Alternatives in Arizona - Cardiac Canyon - Rattlesnake Canyon - Mountain Sheep Canyon - Water Holes slot canyon - Hike Cathedral Canyon - Upper Waterholes Canyon - Owl Canyon - Antelope Canyon X - Rams Head Canyon - Wind Pebble Canyon - Navajo Slot Canyon - Secret Canyon In Utah: - Wire Pass Trailhead, Buckskin Gulch - Little Wild Horse - Red Canyon - Zebra Canyon - Long Canyon - Peek-A-Boo Gulch - Kanarra Creek - Willis Creek - Zion Narrows - Spring Creek Canyon In Nevada: - Pastel Canyon, or Pink Canyon - White Domes Payments and prices As we have already mentioned, these lands belong to the Indian community. Accordingly, visitor tickets to the National Parks do not apply here. The cost of the tour is from $ 80 per person for visiting the Upper Antelope Canyon, the Lower Canyon is cheaper. A photo tour costs from $ 130 per person. We recommend taking cash with you to pay for tours, as Navajo people refuse to accept bank cards sometimes. Route logistics A visit to Antelope Canyon is often combined with a trip to the North Rim of Grand Canyon or Monument Valley. Photo from jlrmaps Our recommendations for visiting Grand Canyon can be found here. Arizona is a large state with many attractions. Travellizy Team is always ready to help you plan a trip to such beautiful places!
4 June 2020 / 9 minutes to read
The headquarters of pirates of the Caribbean, who inspired Robert Stevenson to create Treasure Island, the land of beaches, rum and cigars, the revolutionary homeland of Fidel Castro - even in the prosperous 21st century, Cuba has a special rebellious charm. Cadillacs and Plymouths of the 1950s still drive along the streets of Havana, instead of lemonade, Cubans cool themselves with sugarcane juice and ice, the air smells like sea and tobacco, and few speak English, so get ready to learn at least a couple of phrases in Spanish, so that you can be understood! Read about the most popular locations, must-see places and must-try dishes of Cuba in the Travellizy's review. A Walk on the Bottom of the Ocean: King Tides in California Cuba’s beaches Good news first: almost the whole country is nothing but coast, and there are beaches in all major cities. Almost everywhere, the entrance to the sea is gentle, so Cuba is recommended for families with children. The climate in the regions differs slightly. Even in January, the coldest month, the air temperature in the center of the country does not drop below + 26°C, and in the south - below + 27–28°C. In general, a simple rule works: the southeast the Cuban region, the hotter the weather. In addition, in eastern Cuba, the terrain is more hilly - the mountains create a unique comfortable microclimate. Here is another life hack: pay attention to the name of the resort. If you see the word Cayo (e.g. Cayo Coco or Cayo Guillermo), you should expect a calmer sea and the air is 1-2 degrees warmer. This is how island resorts are indicated in Cuba, e.g. the famous Caribbean Paradise with clear water and white sand. If you want to combine beach vacations and colorful city excursions, choose beaches in the Havana area. The nearest are Playas de Este, a number of small beaches 20 km away from the capital. The water here is unclear due to the proximity of the port, and the sand is not perfectly clean, but locals willingly rest on these beaches and many inexpensive cafes of Cuban cuisine are open. The climate is temperate: +25–26°С in the winter and up to +32°С in the summer; the sea does not even cool below +26°С even in winter. Another reason to choose Havana's beaches is excellent diving, because you can see here sunken ships and coral reefs with turtles and colorful fish. The second direction for a beach holiday is near the bustling metropolis of Santiago De Cuba. For example, Sevilla Beach is famous for its brown sand and stunning mountain scenery, and a visit to Daiquiri Beach in Bakonao National Park can be combined with a trip to the Valle de La Prehistoria, an open-air dinosaur museum. The climate is slightly drier in this region than in Havana or in Varadero. Varadero is the most popular resort in Cuba, which, however, is famous for the unstable and windy weather in January, at the height of the high season. Strong currents and big waves may ruin the vacation. The water temperature in the Atlantic Ocean ranges from +24°C in winter to +27–28°C in July and August. The main advantage of the Varadero beaches, which stretch for almost 20 kilometers, is the developed infrastructure. In addition to traditional sunbeds, tourists will find a couple of dozen diving centers, you can rent a pleasure yacht or fly on a paraglider. It's an absolutely perfect place: white sand, palm trees and azure water with a smooth entrance to the sea. Another plus is that almost all spa workers speak English at least at a minimum level. You should visit Trinidad (central Cuba) for year-round ripe mangoes and Ancon sand spit. Local beaches are less crowded, the entrance to the sea is rather sharp, and the algae in the sand is quite a familiar picture. But on Ancon, there is a lot of natural shade and green palm zones Miracle Island: the best places on the coast of Sri Lanka Cuba’s fishing Fidel Castro liked sea fishing in the Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen), on 600 islands and coral reefs of the archipelago, along the northern coast of Cuba. Among mangroves and canals in shallow waters, white marlin, barracuda and dorado, golden tuna and tarpon are caught all year round with spinning and fly fishing. For Big Game Fishing, it is worth going for trolling in the open ocean. The surroundings of Playa Ancon and Cayo Largo are quite popular on the south coast, as well as Maria La Gorda, Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Coco in northern Cuba. Renting a 33-foot yacht will cost 350 Cuban pesos for 5-6 hours. The perfect time for fishing on the blue Atlantic marlin is March and the first half of autumn, for swordfish, it is January and February. Even if you are not lucky with the fish on the chosen day, you will definitely not return to the shore without lobsters! By the way, the Cubans themselves are forbidden to catch and cook lobsters, this seafood is intended only for tourists. The most significant sport fishing events, such as the Billfish Tournament Ernest Hemingway, take place at the Havana Marina Hemingway. For the first time, these competitions were held back in the 1950s, and Hemingway himself was noted among the participants (and even won the first three tournaments). Since then, fans of marlin and tuna fishing have come to Havana every June. Everyone can participate, having gathered a team of up to 4 people and made a contribution of 600 Cuban pesos. Please note: Cuba has two types of currencies: local pesos (CUP, used by Cubans) and convertible pesos (CUC, designed for tourists). Foreigners can exchange currency only for CUC. Everything that is sold in CUC is several times more expensive than goods and services sold in local pesos — this is the state’s policy. Be prepared for the fact that the same service for Cubans and visitors may have radically different prices. By the way, it’s definitely worth taking euro cash with you: if you decide to exchange dollars for pesos, in addition to the bank commission of 3%, pay a surcharge penalty of 10%. From Pattaya to Phuket: Thailand's Top Beach Resorts Cuba’s Nightlife If the words Cuba and Salsa are inseparable for you, do not waste time and go to Trinidhttps://journal.travellizy.com/en/post/thailand_top_beach_resortsad. In the very center, on the Casa de la Musica venue, locals and tourists gather almost every night to drink pina colada (the tradition of mixing fresh coconut milk, pineapple juice and alcohol goes back to the Indians) and dance to live music. If you don’t know how to dance, just sit on the stairs and watch, this is what the live and pulsating Cuba looks like! There is a platform of the same name in Varadero, but it is already a full-fledged disco, where modern Spanish-language music is booming, tourist cocktails are replaced by rum and cola (rum is called vitamin R in Cuba for a reason, and the only thing it is not mixed with is milk), but there are much more Cubans than foreigners. You will find a more colorful dance floor in La Cueva del Pirata, this club operates in a real cave! And in Calle 62, you can always listen to the traditional Cuban motifs. Once in Havana, make sure you meet the sunset on the Malecon seafront, a place where the ocean meets residential quarters. This is the most popular local promenade, where music plays in bars, and fishermen throw the caught fish directly onto the pavement. You should continue a hot Cuban night in the Tropicana club, where costumed shows in the spirit of the Havana Carnival are held. Well, the most literary must-visit in old Havana is the El Floridita bar. What should you order here? Of course, it must be daiquiri, Hemingway’s favorite cocktail based on lime and light rum. And on the wall, you can see the writer's quote: “My mojito in La Bodeguita, My daiquiri in El Floridita”. It is believed that it was in El Floridita that the most famous variation of the cocktail was created, so the locals proudly call the bar the cradle of the daiquiri. If alcohol is not your thing, then arrange a gastro tour of the local coffee shops. The fact is that Cuba has a very special coffee: due to the geographical features of the grain, arabica beans are slightly less aromatic here and do not have bitterness. Because of this, they are subjected to intense roasting, which gives the coffee the signature Cuban notes of tobacco and chocolate. If you want coffee with rum, choose Sopa de gallo, if you have the heart for a strong drink with dense sweet cane sugar foam, then Café cubano is your perfect choice. Cultural and historical Cuba The cultural heart of Cuba is Havana, its diverse capital, founded by the Spaniards. Havana Vieja, or Old Havana, impresses everyone at first sight with its wild mixture of baroque, Moorish style and classicism, the power of the colonial fortress of El Morro, stormed by Ernesto Che Guevara, and the tranquility of the Cathedral of St. Christopher, which was built from coral limestone collected by slaves. If Old Havana will be remembered for its traces of pirate romance, American rich and Spanish aristocrats, then New Havana will remain in memory as bright spots of colorful houses, ubiquitous graffiti, and the absence of traders of all kinds. Unlike elegant European capitals, Havana is harsh and devoid of tourist chic, no one is trying to hide the dilapidated facades, you can wait for an order in a restaurant for more than an hour, having paid a fortune, and beggars and thieves have long been a part of the city landscape. However, you may not notice all these little things, but buy Cuban Sandwich (toasted bread with pickled cucumbers, ham and fried pork) on the street, listen to the sounds of a Cuban guitar and plunge into the atmosphere of the frozen 1950s. It was Havana that inspired Ernest Hemingway to create the cult story The Old Man and the Sea. In the suburbs of the capital, you can visit the villa Finca Vigia, where the writer used to live for almost twenty years. The museum has writer's personal library (there is a bookcase even in the toilet room), his typewriter and many other exhibits. By the way, Papa Hem became the only resident of Cuba, whom Fidel Castro transferred landownership to. Outside of Havana, tourists will find no less interesting locations: ● Baracoa is the oldest city in the country with the Humboldt National Park next to it, you can see among the untouched mangroves and palm groves, what Cuba's nature looked like before the Europeans arrived. ● In the vicinity of Varadero, you can visit the cave of Saturn and even swim in the clear water of a fresh lake under the overhanging stalactites for just 5 CUC. ● Santa Clara is a must-see for those who wants to visit the mausoleum of Che Guevara. In addition to the commandant, the remains of other partisans rest here. The battle for Santa Clara was the decisive event in the Cuban revolution. ● Trinidad fascinates with its calm atmosphere, where the wheels of carts clatter on the old cobblestone pavement, while pensioners play dominoes right on the streets, sitting in rocking chairs. You can feel the spirit of the times here, as for a century, Trinidad was isolated from the rest of Cuba, so now it is a large open-air museum of colonial architecture. ● Pinar del Rio, the cigar industry center, is worth a visit for the Vinales Valley. Here, picturesque limestone cliffs, overgrown with forests, reed and tobacco plantations, as well as ancient caves of the Indians with underwater rivers await tourists. ● Cienfuegos, the most European city, hides one of the most beautiful Cuban villas called Palacio de Valle. This is a real palace, built at the beginning of the century by a rich merchant in the Mudejar style, which southern Spain is famous for. Entrance is free, and fans of spectacular panoramas can hang out in the rooftop restaurant overlooking the mountains and the sea. The second must-see place in the city is the central square of Parque Jose Martí with cathedrals and palaces, the capitol and pedestrian streets, the Thomas Terry Theatre and even its own Triumphal Arch. After all, the French colonists founded Cienfuegos. One might be upset with Cuba's poverty of slums and not the best service in the Caribbean, one will be inspired by revolutionary legends, breathtaking ecotourism and endless beaches with white sand. This is one of the few places on the planet, where communism surprisingly coexists with Catholicism as well as Soviet KrAZ trucks on Varadero embankment with American retrocars, and gangsters of the Prohibition era seem to be about to jump out of them. What Cuba certainly does not have is monotony and boredom - it is a real time machine that takes you to the world of colonial baroque and past greatness. And energetic rhythms of salsa and rumba will play in your head for a long time after returning to your homeland!
3 June 2020 / 6 minutes to read
Masala Dosa, Thali and Palak Paneer: A Guide to Indian Cuisine
The menu in an ordinary Indian cafe can cause shock and bewilderment for an unprepared foreigner. Even the seemingly banal tea here is not at all what you imagine, let alone exotic names such as aloo gobi, cheese naan or biryani. In order not to get into a mess and get pleasure from one of the brightest cuisines of the world, Travellizy Team advises you to understand all the nuances thoroughly. The main Indian dishes are curry, once again curry and rice. The first rule of Indian cuisine: curry is not seasoning, curry is food. A dish with the word “curry” in its name will definitely have gruel from various aromatic spices - turmeric, ginger, cloves, several types of peppers, and much more. The second word in the name of the dish means what exactly is served curry. Let's just say, chicken curry is fragrant gravy with chicken, and vegetarian version is with vegetables. Note that curry is necessarily spicy. Paneer is an exotic word that is very common on the Indian menu, but in fact, it is the most common goat cheese. It is often served with curry or with sauces. Paneer tastes like tofu or Circassian cheese, and when fried or baked and along with spices - it’s so delicious. A very popular dish in India is palak paneer, cheese in a thick spicy spinach puree. The main Indian rice dish is biryani. Each state has its own cooking method, and you can choose the type of rice for the base yourself. The traditional stuffing of biryani is chicken wings fried to a crisp, mutton or lamb. Pure rice is served with many dishes, seasoned with lemon, zira or pepper. When you are in India, make sure to try dhal (aka dal or daal), which is bean soup puree. Lentils, chickpeas, peas, urds may be the basis for this dish, coconut milk, garlic, tomatoes and lemon are added to it. Dhal has to be eaten with rice, dipping a spoon with a side dish into the soup, or with a tortilla. The soup consisting of a broth, which is familiar to the European, is not cooked in India. Aloo gobi is a dish with a strange composition, but divine in taste. A mixture of fried cauliflower and stewed potatoes with curry can be eaten with rice, or you can take a constant cake. Any dish with "aloo" in its name is a potato dish. Would you like to taste a few traditional Indian snacks at once? Then your choice is thali or, as it is called in some states, meal. Thali consists of a generous portion of rice and many small plates, which can contain curry, paneer, dhal, stewed eggplant, and curd. Thali is vegetarian and non-vegetarian, speaking about the latter, meat or fish will be on one of the plates. It is served with tortillas. In the north-east of India, the influence of the Middle East is clearly traced in culinary traditions. They bake here chicken in a tandoor oven, cook kebab and pilaf, and eat it all with hot and aromatic pita bread. In Goa, Kerala and other states on the ocean, fish and seafood are very popular. It is interesting, that completely different fish dishes can be called by the same word - ilish. In the northern states, you can try the traditional Nepalese momo dumplings, and in the south, they put so many spices in each dish, that even its smell may cause heartburn. 50 shades of grain in India Dishes in India are not just eaten with tortillas; tortillas often serve as spoons and forks. You do not have to do this at all, you can use the usual cutlery, but with the right tortilla, any dish becomes tastier. Naan is a fresh wheat tortilla that is often cooked with vegetables, cheese, potatoes or meat. Hot cheese naan with garlic and herbs perfectly shades the taste of curry and goes with soup. Chapati, or roti is a thin bread of wheat dough, similar to pita bread. If you decide to try the traditional Indian way of eating, then chapati slices are perfect for dipping sauces or scooping rice. Papadum is a crispy lentil or rice cake with spices. Papadum is dry, so it is best suited to soups. Samosa is an authentic folk food in India, and it is more like a patty than a tortilla. Samosa with potatoes, vegetables or meat is sold on the streets, in train cars, on buses, on beaches, in general, everywhere. Keep in mind that patties are often fried in a huge amount of ghee, so they are, to put it mildly, not dietary. Dosa is a pancake with filling. The sizes of the dosa are often very immodest, so it can be a main course itself, and not a complement to it. One of the most popular options is masala dosa stuffed with potatoes and cheese. The best "partner" of the dosas is chutney sauce or soup. Snacks, desserts and sweets The most delicious Indian snack is pakora. Deep-fried vegetables, cheese or meat will suit any dish and serve as a perfect beer snack. If the dish seems dry or fresh to you, then order it with chutney, a sauce based on coconut milk. Indian sweets are always very sweet and almost always fried in ghee butter. It can be walnut-coconut balls ladoos, gulab jamun (semolina balls) or halwa. But do not confuse Indian halwa with Arabic one, here it is a pudding of semolina and butter, abundantly soaked in honey or sugar syrup. Jalebi, a popular sweet, is prepared in India right on the streets. The dough is poured into a boiling oil in a thin stream, resulting in sweet and crispy nests. And kulfi, condensed milk ice cream, will appeal to lovers of cold desserts. The most unusual Indian dessert called falooda and came to the country from Persia. These are thin strands of starch in milk with fruit juice and spices. It tastes as strange as it looks. What is food in India washed down with? To extinguish the fire raging in your mouth and stomach after a particularly sharp curry, you should take a cool lassi. This is a milk drink similar to drinking yogurt with the addition of fruit juice and pulp. Lassi may be not sweet, with spices and salt. Curd, another popular milk drink, is something between yogurt and sour milk. Would you like something hotter? Then you need masala tea, which is prepared on the basis of strong black tea, but with the addition of milk and spices. Interestingly, such a drink does not have an exact recipe; the combination of spices depends solely on the cook’s imagination. Another hot but less exotic Indian drink is ginger lemon honey. It not only warms, but also helps a lot from colds, tones and relieves sore throats. Tea and coffee in the European sense are difficult to imagine in India. Don't worry, in the tourist cafe, you will be served both drinks (although tea will not be of the best quality, and coffee will most likely be soluble), but in the local café, they will look at you with surprise. By the way, tea in India is always with milk, even if you ask without it. How to eat in India There are legends and jokes about the severity of Indian dishes, but in fact, the country has long realized that strange white people love plain food. In almost every establishment, you will be asked how spicy your dish should be. If no spicy - the food will be moderately spicy, if medium spicy - you should take lassi or a liter of water right away, if spicy - get ready for the volcanic eruption in your stomach. Food poisoning and indigestion is also an Indian legend, but avoiding this is very simple. Eat in decently looking cafes, not from street stalls, and then the food will be digested safely. By the way, Europeans often have stomach problems after Indian food, not because of the poor quality of the products, but because of the abundance of oil and spices. The portions in India are generous, so do not rush to order immediately rice and curry, and even delicious fish. You can safely take some dishes, for example, biryani or thali for two, and ask to wrap the rest with you, that's not that big a deal. Most Indians are vegetarians, so for fans of plant foods in India, this country is a paradise on earth. The presence of meat in a dish is often indicated on the menu, there are many purely vegetarian cafes. Indian cuisine perfectly reflects the type of country. Bright, unusual, spicy, you will definitely keep it in memory for a long time, and it will be an excellent occasion to visit Bhārat Mata again and again.
30 May 2020 / 3 minutes to read
A route through Iceland: 3 main attractions of the Golden Circle
One may fall in love with the island at first sight, as it fascinates with its nature and vastness, making everyone want to explore every part of it, but what to see in Iceland if time is limited and there is no way to go around the whole country in a circle? In a new article, Travellizy Team will share the most popular route through Iceland called the Golden Circle and tell you what to see and where to relax along the way. Let's start from the city of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. The start of the route through Iceland: Thingvellir National Park A 45-minute drive from Reykjavik will be the first stop - Thingvellir National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place is unique and is not only an important natural site, but also historical, because it was in Thingvellir that Althing, the oldest parliament, was formed. For Icelanders, this is a very significant place, because in 1944, at a meeting of this parliament, Iceland gained its independence. Also in the Thingvellir National Park, there is Almannagjá, a unique gorge, where you can stroll between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. For those who love new experiences, there is the tectonic rift of Silfra, another geological phenomenon, which was formed due to the split of plates. It is here that diving and snorkeling enthusiasts come to swim in the crystal clear water between the American and Eurasian plates. Second stop: geysers of Iceland The next point, without which the Golden Circle route is not complete, is the geothermal valley Haukadalur. Travelers from all over the world come here to look at the famous geyser spring, but few people know that in fact Geysir (better known as the Big Geysir), in whose honor this name appeared, has long been in a sleeping state. Strokkur has been very active, as it erupts every 7-10 minutes to a height of 20-40 meters. Gullfoss Falls in Iceland Gulfoss, one of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls, is located a 10-minute drive from the Valley of Geysers. This powerful 32 meter tall waterfall is located on the Hvitau River and impresses with its grandeur at any season. The golden waterfall (this is how Gulfoss is translated from Icelandic) was endangered several times, when they planned to build a hydroelectric power station in its place, but this idea was never realized for various reasons. Secret Lagoon Hot Spring After the three main stops along the Golden Circle, it's time to relax a bit in the Secret Lagoon, one of Iceland's oldest geothermal pools. It was built in 1891 and is popular not only among visitors, but also among the locals. The water temperature in the pool is 38-40°C and does not change depending on the season, since it is supported by hot springs. The Secret Lagoon is located in the village of Fludir and is gaining more and more popularity, so it is better to book tickets in advance. Colorful Kerid Crater Lake in Iceland Another amazing place to visit on the way back is Lake Kerid, formed in the crater of an extinct volcano. This natural attraction is amazing with a riot of bright colors - orange and red shades of volcanic stone shimmer with the sky-blue colors of the lake, which is located in the center of the crater. That's very beautiful! The best travel option around the island is to rent a car, so you can really enjoy the beauty of the route without haste and not depend on the tourist group. And Travellizy Team is always happy to help you find the most profitable flights to Iceland!
29 May 2020 / 4 minutes to read
A tourist route through the center of Madrid: where to go, what to try and where to relax
Let's go to the Spanish capital with Travellizy! We will walk around the city, get cultural education in world-famous museums, and also try delicious tapas and the famous churros. Our team has already drawn up a route around Madrid, you just have to buy tickets, book accommodation and go on a new trip! Where to start a walk through Madrid We start our walk through Madrid from Plaza de España, the largest square in the whole country. Its main attraction is one of the tallest buildings in the city called España, built in 1953 in the neo-baroque style. Also in the center of the square, there is a monument to the world famous Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, and Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the heroes of his most famous work, stand next to him. Just an 8-minute walk from Plaza de España, on Bailen Street, you will find the Royal Palace, one of Madrid's main attractions and the largest royal palace in Europe. The building has approximately 3,500 rooms that display works of art and antiques. The Royal Palace is the official residence of the King of Spain, but now, it is more used for celebrations and as a museum, so everyone can get there on an excursion. The walk will be long, so we recommend you to look immediately at the Market of San Miguel, which is just along the route. This is a real center of gastronomic culture, which has been operating since 1916 and offers dishes from different Spanish regions. The building of the Market of San Miguel is divided into 3 sectors: bread products and pastries, seafood and the most popular tapas (here you can have a snack and taste traditional Spanish dishes). Madrid central square - Plaza Mayor Near the market, there is another central square of Madrid - Plaza Mayor, which was the site for execution during the Spanish Inquisition, and also served as a spontaneous and Christmas market for local residents. We advise those who love sweets to visit the historic chocolate cafe San Ginés (Chocolatería San Ginés), to experience that special atmosphere, sitting at a traditional table made of white marble and savoring their famous churros with chocolate, which have been prepared here since 1894! Museums of Madrid Then, we move towards the Golden Triangle of Arts - the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Art Center. Each of them has its own unique collection, so we recommend you to decide in advance, what exactly you want to see. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum presents the whole history of European painting from the Middle Ages to the end of the twentieth century, and the museum fund houses more than a thousand works of art. Previously, the collection was private and belonged to the Thyssen-Bornemisza family, but since 1993, the museum has become public. Some museum collections can be seen online at Google Arts & Culture. The Prado National Museum was designed by the architect Juan de Villanueva back in 1785, but it was first opened to visitors in 1819. The Prado Museum is considered to be one of the oldest and most important museums in Europe, and also has the most valuable world collection of Spanish painting. The Reina Sofia Art Center closes Madrid's Golden Triangle of Arts. This art museum also has a huge collection, and its main asset is Guernica by Pablo Picasso, which occupies almost the entire floor. You can also see some of the center’s exhibitions at Google Arts & Culture. Where to relax in Madrid After such an intense visit to museums, it's time to relax in Retiro Park, which is located right behind the Prado Museum. The area of Retiro Park reaches 120 hectares, making it one of the largest parks in Madrid. You can spend here a whole day, but if time is limited, then look at its most popular objects - Crystal Palace, Statue Walk, Velazquez Palace, Rose Garden, Galapagos Fountain and Big Lake. If you leave the park through the gates of Alcalá, you will still see the Cibeles Fountain, which is located in the center of the traffic intersection between two important buildings - the City Council of Madrid and the Bank of Spain. Both buildings are interesting for their architecture, and the city hall looks like a Gothic palace. We finish our walk near the Metropolis Building, another symbol of Madrid, which is often found on souvenir cards. Metropolis is an office building with a stunning facade and dome, which is decorated with 30,000 leaves of 24-carat gold. If you still have time and energy, then just 15 minutes by metro from the Gran Vía station to the Plaza de Castilla station and you will get to Castilla Square, from where you can admire an unusual architectural building in a modern style called the Gate of Europe. We are sure that you would like to take a walk around the Spanish capital as soon as possible, so Travellizy Team took care of the best deals on flights. Also read our travel tips for Madrid in the article “Walking In Madrid: A Brief Guide Before Visiting It”.
27 May 2020 / 3 minutes to read
Cultural Florence: Renaissance Art Travel
Florence is imbued with a creative atmosphere, since such famous masters as Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and many others created their masterpieces here. In a new article, Travellizy invites you to go on an art walk and immerse yourself in the world of art and architecture of the Renaissance. Hiking route in Florence Let's start our route from Piazza del Duomo, the historical center of Florence. In the heart of the square, you can see the unsurpassed Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, as well as other significant architectural monuments, so Piazza del Duomo is one of the most visited and recognizable squares in the world. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is Florence's main attraction. Its octagonal red dome and marble facade can be seen from different corners and distant regions, and if you want to see the city from a height, we recommend that you climb the Giotto's Bell Tower, the most beautiful bell tower in Italy. The next point is Piazza della Signoria, which was the center of political life during the Florentine Republic. The main building is the Palazzo Vecchio, where the government of the republic used to meet previously, and nowadays, this is the town hall building. Piazza della Signoria can also be called an open-air museum with a huge number of works by Donatello, Michelangelo, Giamboloni and other masters. A whole exposition of Renaissance sculptures is located in the Loggia dei Lanzi, where anyone can visit, but, unfortunately, almost all of the monuments in Piazza della Signoria are copies. Uffizi Gallery and Vasari Corridor in Florence Near the Palazzo Vecchio, there is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous museums with a unique collection of works of art, which was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I Medici from the famous dynasty of Florentine rulers. Some of the collections can be viewed online. You can also take a virtual walk through some of the halls through Google Art & Culture. Let's go from the Uffizi Gallery across the medieval arched bridge called Ponte Vecchio. It is very different from other pedestrian bridges, because there are not only souvenir shops and jewelry stores, but also apartments with residents. Also, you should pay attention to another feature of the bridge - there is a special passage above called the Vasari Corridor, through which Cosimo I de' Medici could pass from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti. On the other side of the Arno River, you can see the Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens. The royal Palazzo Pitti used to serve previously as the residence of the grand dukes and kings, and now, it is a museum complex with a huge collection of original works of art. The palace was built in the 15th century, but the interior was arranged a little later, so in the 140 rooms, that are open for visitors, you can see the interiors of the 17th and 18th centuries. Boboli Gardens are located right behind the Palazzo Pitti and are considered to be a garden sculpture museum and one of the best park complexes of the Renaissance. A 30-minute walk from the Palazzo Pitti is Piazzale Michelangelo, the most panoramic point of the city, which offers stunning views of the whole of Florence. Following our route, you will also walk past the fortification walls of Florence along Via di Belvedere and stroll through the Rose Garden on Via Guiseppe Poggi. What to try in Florence After such a walk, you must definitely treat yourself to a hearty dinner and try the famous Florentine steak (bistecca alla fiorentina). This grilled beef steak is considered to be a real masterpiece of Tuscan cuisine, but be careful, not everyone can handle a huge portion, which can reach up to 1.5 kg! You can also read our article “Florence: what is important to know before visiting Santa Maria del Fiore and the Uffizi Gallery”.
25 May 2020 / 6 minutes to read
Fiery mountains and mud springs: what to see in Azerbaijan
Hot and windswept Azerbaijan may surprise even an experienced traveler. Here, the sparkling skyscrapers of Baku organically coexist with the old houses of Sheki, the burning cliffs of Yanar Dag with the cool waves of the Caspian, bother the Persian culture and Soviet power left their traces here. If you want exotic, but you don't feel like going for it to the other end of the world, then Azerbaijan is perfect option for you, so Travellizy recommends you. City of Winds: Baku At a glance, the capital of Azerbaijan gives an understanding of how the country lives now. From the narrow streets of the historical district of Icherisheher, where it seems that you have been traveled back for several centuries, you can clearly see Flame Towers, the symbol of the future. Baku is able to please both fans of antiquities and those who prefer the achievements of modern civilization. Climb the Maiden Tower (Gyz Galasy) and look at the Palace of The Shirvanshahs, and after that make your way to Fountain Square to refresh yourself, where a cafe for every taste and budget can be found. In the afternoon, hide from the heat in the Carpet Museum or the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, and get acquainted with the modern art of Azerbaijan at the same time. And in the evening, when the heat decreases, take a walk along Primorsky Boulevard. Almost all the sights of Baku can be seen in one day. But, if you are going to stay in the city longer, then you should definitely go to the beaches of the Caspian Sea. You can get to them in an hour and a half by bus or a rented car, and the refreshing water will be especially pleasant after the hot city streets. Traces of ancient civilizations in Gobustan In the Gobustan State Reserve, it seems that because of the nearest rock, a hairy mammoth hunter, who has just finished painting stones with scenes from primitive life, is about to jump out at you. There are over 6,000 ancient petroglyphs in the reserve, and their age is thousands of years old. There are fewer mud volcanoes in Gobustan, only 350. But this amount is enough to make an unforgettable show. Gurgling mud and underground gases periodically flashing with bright fire are ready-made sets for filming a movie about another planet. The traces of human settlements in numerous caves remind us that this is still our native land. Halfway between Baku and Gobustan is the original Bibi-Heybat Mosque, built in the neo-Ottoman style. Fire Temple: Ateshgah 30 kilometers from Baku, there is an ancient temple of fire worshipers. Once, the Zoroastrians performed their services here, then the Muslims drove them out of the territory of Azerbaijan, but the temple remained standing, not subject to the passage of time. It is interesting that already in the XIX century the church was visited by Alexandre Dumas, the father, which was mentioned in his works later. The fire in the Ateshgah Temple is the result of burning natural gas, no mysticism, but it still makes a fascinating impression. In the cells, you can see scenes depicting the life of the servants of the fire. Land of Fire: Yanar Dag If the fire in Ateshgahwasn't enough for you, then go to the foot of Mount Yanardag. Here, not a lonely torch burns, but as many as five meters of land. The flames of natural gas made this area black and sooty, and the occasionally rising wind gives the flames the appearance of dancing dragons. Yanar Dag looks especially impressive after sunset or before dawn, then the illusion of an eternal fire is most complete. Oil treatment: Naftalan Oil in Azerbaijan is not only one of the country's main sources of income, but also a therapeutic agent. You can verify this yourself in the sanatorium city of Naftalan, the only place in the world where medicinal naphthalene oil is extracted. In Naftalan, with the help of oil baths, ill people literally get back on their feet; at the sanatorium, there is even a museum of crutches left by those who received miraculous treatment here. In between health treatments, you can take a walk in one of the city’s many parks. Craft center: Lahic The village of Lahic stands on the Great Silk Road, and the unique atmosphere of a medieval trading city is still preserved in it. Almost every house in Lahic is also a craftsman’s shop where you can buy jewelry, dishes, cold steel or a carpet. It is noteworthy that the village is divided into areas precisely by crafts. Walking along the stone-paved streets, you can come to the market for copper utensils, where dishes and plates are struck by fine engraving. In another area, sharp knives in painted sheath sparkle in the sun, in the next area, a potter creates a vase or a pot right in front of you. If you need the most authentic Azerbaijani souvenirs, not shop production, then you definitely need to Lahic. Mountain views: Khinalig Only a few years ago, only the most stubborn tourists reached the mountain village of Khinalig on SUVs. Now, a well-covered road has been brought up to it, and the village has turned into one of the main attractions of Azerbaijan. The houses in Khinalig are built with terraces - the roof of one house is simultaneously the yard or floor of the other. And the upper part of the village offers a stunning view of the surrounding mountains with snow-white peaks. Laza, another Azerbaijani village, awaits those who want more than just stunning views, but also hiking in the mountains. It is surrounded on all sides by steep cliffs from which thin cascading waterfalls fall with trampled trails between them. Please note that a special permit will be required to go trekking through the territory of the Shahdag National Park. And the last on the top list of three most picturesque villages of Azerbaijan is Ilisu. Now, it’s hard to believe that this tiny settlement used to be the capital of the whole sultanate. From here, tourists go on simple hiking in the mountains, in the village itself, there are very nice stone houses with tiled roofs and arched doors. Pristine nature: Göygöl Göygöl National Park, spread on the slopes of Mount Kapaz, is the center of ecotourism in Azerbaijan. People come here for a relaxing holiday, leisurely walks in nature and clean air. The main attraction of Göygöl is a crystal blue lake, which was formed as a result of a large-scale earthquake almost a thousand years ago. And the main entertainment in the park is the mountain tracks, which even a beginner can master without special equipment and training. Caravanserai: Sheki Most of the inns and caravanserais, where traders traveling along the Great Silk Road stayed, have become the most ordinary hotels now. But this didn't happen to the caravanserai in Sheki, because a museum has been organized here, where you can see curious details of the life and leisure of the caravan. Outside, the Sheki caravanserai looks more like a fortress - with massive stone walls, small windows, impressive wooden gates that are closed by a special mechanism. Inside, this is a dream of fans of oriental flavor. Carpets with authentic ornaments, hammered dishes, chests in which goods were stored. It is easy to feel here like a merchant from Persia, fleeing from the midday sun in the shade of stone walls. And also, you can arrange a very interesting photoshoot. The second remarkable building of Sheki is the Palace of Shaki Khans, built in the Persian style. Its painted walls and multi-colored stained-glass windows will become not only a delight for the eyes, but also the main decoration for your Instagram. You can watch the creation of the famous stained-glass windows in the workshop, which is called shabake here. By the way, Sheki is also famous for the most delicious food in all of Azerbaijan. You will never forget homemade Sheki halva, walnut jam, lamb dishes with apples. And, most likely, you will want to take away from here a bag of oriental sweets. Azerbaijan welcomes each guest with genuine oriental hospitality, and it has a heap of impressions for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you go up to the top floor of a skyscraper or walk around the old city, bask in the natural fire or cool off in the sea, anyway, you will not remain indifferent to this beautiful country.
23 May 2020 / 7 minutes to read
Moto Extreme in California: Off-Road and Comfort in the Desert
Mototourism attracts more and more fans around the world every year. The romance of the road, the spirit of freedom and unique experience - these are the main reasons why adventurers increasingly choose not organized tours, but independent trips on two wheels. But not everyone who knows how to ride a motorcycle can overcome thousands of kilometers on it. Mototravel requires good preparation from the biker. Today, we will tell you how to get extreme motorcycle driving skills in the USA. Unusual roads for ordinary travelers American motorcycles are primarily associated with Harley Davidson, and this is a good choice for those motorbike travelers who plan routes exclusively in habitable places with good roads and infrastructure. But there are people who feel that they have traveled fairly well on smooth roads with regular pit stops, 24-hour restaurants and air-conditioned lounges. Such motorcyclists rush to the distant corners of the world, where a coffee shop and a gas station are one in hundreds of kilometers. In such places, there are no mobile communications, restaurants and other attributes of comfort. An adventure touring bike was created for such non-trivial travel options. Durable and powerful, motorcycles of this class are suitable for trips to places with no highway, but just a direction. Is it worth driving along the riverbed formed by the melting of a glacier in Alaska? Of course! Or maybe your desire to overcome difficulties leads you through a vast desert, where red dust, disturbed by wheels, will hang in the air for another half an hour? It's a great idea! Bavarian experience in the USA BMW motorcycles are legendary masterpieces of engineering. Designed in Bavaria at a factory with more than a century of history, they are famous for their power and reliability. Thousands of motorcyclists explore the world on two wheels, trusting this heavy, high bike. Models created for difficult terrain are called enduro, hardy. In the BMW motorcycle line, the modern sports and tourist enduro has the letters GS in its name, Gelände/Straße (German: "off-road/road"). If you don't want moto-travel to become a huge disappointment, you should hope not only for innovative solutions implemented in transport. You need to learn how to properly use this miracle of engineering. In order for motorbike travelers to learn off-road driving skills, California enthusiasts opened the first official training center in the US, BMW Offroad RawHyde in 2002. Experienced instructors and motor mechanics have become the core around which thousands of owners of BMW and other off-road motorcycles have been gathering for almost 20 years. Camp in a remote place California RawHyde Adventures Training Center is a ranch located off the busy highway leading to Los Angeles. This is a huge private area, fenced and guarded. The area of the camp is amazing in size: more than 1000 hectares! Several office premises, a kitchen, a dining room, warehouses, a motorcycle workshop, and, most importantly, training grounds, which vary in difficulty levels, have been built here. The remoteness of the base allows the organizers to ensure the safety of guests and also solves the problem that is inevitable in this business: engine noise several hours a day. Guest accommodation Fans of motorcycle adventures are people who are accustomed to spending the night in nature and in the open. The training center has found a harmonious way to combine comfort and Spartan conditions, similar to an army or boy scout bootcamp. Having bought trainings at the usual cost, guests sleep in a common room, where every sleeping place is fenced with panels. The organizers undertake the issue of food for guests, taking into account individual dietary requests. During training, a lot of energy and fluid is spent in the body, so a full diet is an essential part of preparation. An experienced chef prepares three meals a day every day, providing everyone with fresh hot food: first-class steaks, fish, fresh vegetables, and of course, desserts. The climate in southern California is sunny and hot, and the camp is located on picturesque hills. Guests can take showers right on the terrace: Training: work on your skills During the training, all participants must be dressed in full motorized equipment. Given the hot days and great physical exertion, everyone is advised to use constantly the hydraulic system, which allows you to drink directly when riding a motorcycle. Distracting from classes will not work: the schedule is tight, and every student must have time to understand the exercise, and also repeat it several times successfully. Here are a few exercises that are practiced during the training. The basic exercise is the ability to get your own bike to stand up. A popular biker proverb says “When you ride hard on a mountain bike, sometimes you fall, otherwise you're not riding hard”, so even if the biker is a woman, this does not save her from practicing the motorcycle lifting exercise. In the photo, a cheerful biker holds in his hands a tree he has knocked down: A motorcycle stuck in the sand with wrong biker's behavior can be a big problem. The weight of the loaded motorcycle reaches 250 kilograms: Despite the heavy weight of the motorcycle, the biker may well learn to jump on one wheel: The industry is constantly upgrading tourism motorcycles: high-tech electronics, on-board computer, security systems. But overestimating their strength or incorrectly performing the exercises, the biker endangers himself, the passenger and other participants in the movement. In the photo below, you can see an example where the biker forgets that he may not stick his foot when the motorcycle falls. Despite the sensitive guidance of the instructor, one of the participants received a leg injury. Fortunately, the damage was not serious. If the injury does not allow the biker to continue the lesson, he/she will need to wait for a full recovery and continue the course at another time. Americans are very thorough in their security concerns. Strict standards, certifications, regular checks from public services are imposed on the personal responsibility of business owners. But having good health insurance is everyone’s job, so check your insurance plan in advance and make the necessary changes. Desert night Those who are ready to consolidate the acquired skills, they can additionally pay for a weekend trip to the Mojave Desert. Several bikers ride in picturesque places, putting into practice the knowledge gained. California deserts are very picturesque and always surprise travelers with a variety. Cosmic landscapes, unusual rock forms are admirable. But do not think that if these beauties are located far from big cities, then the usual amenities are not available. In the photo, you can see a clean restroom located in the middle of the desert: An escort car is driving with the group, which stores all the necessary things, including soft drinks for every taste. Dinner awaits tired travelers under the starry sky at the place of the overnight stay. Meat and vegetables will be expertly cooked on the grill. The organizers provide a tent and a sleeping bag for everyone. What you should not expect is the opportunity to share your impressions for the day with friends and family: there is no mobile communication in the desert. Motoculture for all ages Nowadays, motorcycle culture in the United States has changed its face: the motorcycle has long ceased to be associated with aggressive youth gangs. Motorcycle travel has become a popular hobby for wealthy retirees. Vigorous grandfathers and grandmothers ride across the country, getting to hard-to-reach corners. RawHyde Adventures mototourist training center is no exception: according to statistics collected after training thousands of clients, the average age is 40-50 years. Regardless of age, several days of joint efforts and adventures unite the guests of the center. Many continue to communicate on social networks and meet during trips and bike rides. Journey to the edge of the Earth For those who are firmly convinced that a motorcycle is the best way to explore the world, RawHyde has prepared unique tours around America. One of the most unusual is a trip to Patagonia. The unique color, almost unaffected by globalization culture, stunning landscapes - this is what awaits travelers, while they travel for 16 days across the South American continent from South to North. The high cost of the tour (from $ 10,000) makes it a piece of travel product, an exclusive option to acquire a unique experience. You can see what awaits mototourists in the video at the link below: Attractions in the area of the RawHyde training center The California camp RawHyde is one of four located in the USA. It is located in Southern California. About an hour's ride - and you are in the center of Hollywood, the studios of the film company Universal (we wrote about them in another article at the link. If you travel from northern California, stay in Solvang, the unofficial Danish capital of the United States. The trip can also be combined with watching elephant seals or visiting the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Traveling around the world, we learn better not only the new corners of our beautiful planet, but also ourselves. And our Travellizy Team will help you choose the most suitable travel option!
20 May 2020 / 6 minutes to read
Cozy streets, bulb-shaped roof mills, enthusiastic tourists, the aromas of coffee and rolls - this description is more suitable for villages in northern Europe. But this is the California city of Solvang, built with love and care to preserve Danish culture. Today's Travellizy article is about the unofficial Danish capital of the Americas. City of immigrants Solvang is a city in southern California, which boasts a rich North European cultural heritage transported across the ocean. At first, immigrants arrived on the East Coast of the United States, but pretty soon, they became disillusioned with the climate and moved to the West of the country. Snowless winters, warm off-season and 287 sunny days a year attracted several dozen Danish immigrant families here in the early twentieth century. After the cold and cloudy Scandinavia and the East coast, the warm slopes of the Santa Ines valley became native to hardworking Danes very quickly. The population of Solvang is less than 5500 people, but about a million tourists come here annually. Danish architecture with an American approach Solvang was founded in 1911, but did not immediately take on an appearance that attracted many tourists to these picturesque lands. At first, the settlement was built in the usual style for the American West, but already in the 30s. The twentieth century, citizens began to stylize their homes in a characteristic Scandinavian spirit. Wood is a material that is very often used in the design of traditional Danish houses. Not all residents of Solvang could afford to decorate the facades of their dwellings with the characteristic beams of a tree, so they got out of position by simply drawing stripes on the walls. Such a trick adorns the street, but does not require additional expenses. Also with stylized roofs: some of them look like tiled, but if you look closely, you will see that modern materials are used for the roof. European atmosphere The streets of Solvang are so charming with their cosiness, so they set up for a relaxed vacation. Fans of quiet shopping come here to walk around small shops. But those who like huge shopping centers with world-famous brands will be disappointed: there are no such stores in the city. Those who enjoy an active holiday will enjoy renting bicycles through the hills, or choose a walk along the hiking trails. And if you want to give rest to your feet, you can buy a ticket for a trip on a wooden horse-drawn cart. Such entertainment is always a delight for children. Photogenic city Due to the fact that the third generation of the city’s residents already works together on the image of Solvang, its streets look as if from pictures of brochures. The most recognizable and popular symbol of the region is mills. Signboards emphasize the fashionable trend of the bearded Viking: It turns out, that even the publishing house can be in the Viking style. The city is very clean, there are many colors and flags of the Kingdom of Denmark and the United States on the streets: Neat buildings look good both in photographs and in life. Cultural life There are several museums in the city. One of them is the Vintage Motorcycle Museum. Motorcycle enthusiasts will spend a lot of time here looking at the chrome-plated iron horses: Those who are fascinated by the tales of the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen will be happy to visit a small museum dedicated to his work. The city even has its own statue of the Little Mermaid: it adorns a fountain at the intersection of Mission Drive and Alice Road. Skipping it is quite simple: the size of the statue is half the size of the original set in the Gulf of Copenhagen. Sausages and pastries But it is not only spiritual food that welcomes the guests of Solvang! If you like juicy and spicy sausages, then restaurants, cafes and bars will be glad to see you. There are many options in the city, how and where to eat for a reasonable price: about 30 restaurants are at guests' disposal! It is not surprising that you may be confused with such a choice. Therefore, hundreds of hungry tourists choose a restaurant with a name that speaks for itself: “Copenhagen Sausage Garden” at 1660 Copenhagen Drive. Fresh meat goes well with beer, which is plentiful for every taste. After a hearty and nutritious dinner, you can enjoy pastries: Danish pastries are famous all over the world. Snail rolls with cinnamon or raisins, braided from puff pastry, are the Danish sweets traditionally eaten with coffee. Preserving uniqueness Arriving in Solvang, do not waste your time looking for Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, or other chain coffee shops and fast food establishments. The city does not allow the opening of McDonalds and similar food services, even if they are ready to make a design in the Danish style. Thus, the community helps to maintain a unique atmosphere, and city guests get a unique gastronomic experience. A cheerful mood is set for tired tourists by local coffee houses, each of which tries to surprise sophisticated coffee lovers. Rare varieties of coffee, home-made roasting, fashionable brewing methods: make sure to have a fragrant drink here, taking your time and enjoying the moment. If you do not know what nitro cold-brew or pour over is, the barista will enthusiastically tell you about the intricacies of cooking. Danish monarchs and Solvang On public signs, an attentive traveler will notice signs of royal regalia, and this is for a reason. In 2011, Solvang solemnly celebrated the centenary of the city, and Prince Consort Henrik, husband of Queen Margrethe, became the guest of honor. Prior to this, members of the Royal Family paid official visits to Solvang three times: in 1939, 1960, 1976. Wineries and cinema If you like good wine no less than leisurely walks in picturesque places, then a trip to Solvang will become your Mecca. The best wines of the Santa Inez Valley are at your service. But do not hope that you can taste at least a tenth of the local wines during a short trip: there are more than 120 wineries and beautiful vineyards in the valley! A scene from the movie “Sideways” To get the most pleasant experience from wine tastings, before a trip to Solvang, watch the movie “Sideways”. The film premiered in the fall of 2004. The film has received numerous awards, including an Oscar and two Golden Globes. A lyrical comedy intertwined with a road movie tells the story of two middle-aged men and women whom they meet in a week-long wine tasting adventure. Filming was carried out in these places, and although 16 years have passed since the film was released, thousands of tourists are still inspired for travel by it. The wineries of the hospitable region, sincerely shown in the film, were so loved by the audience that the fans made a special online Google map, which marked the location of the shoot. Therefore, if you consider yourself a true connoisseur of wine, add some wonderful locations to your visit plan. You can watch the trailer by clicking on the link. Route recommendations Solvang is a popular weekend getaway for Los Angeles residents. The distance between cities is less than 200 km, so having left for it in the morning, you can enjoy the Danish atmosphere and go on the return trip in the evening. A visit to Solvang can be combined with a beach holiday: the city is located about halfway between the famous beaches of Santa Barbara and the resort town of Pismo Beach. This city is known for beaches, a colony of monarch butterflies, and wineries. Unlike Solvang, the architecture and lifestyle here are fully consistent with the standards of the West American resort city. The wide pier is a special attraction of the city: the length of the structure is 365 meters. Unlike the piers of Santa Cruz or Santa Monica, there are no stalls or restaurants. Nothing distracts passers-by from walking and enjoying the cool ocean wind. Fishermen make themselves comfortable, enjoying their hobby and a view of the city: If you plan to visit California on September days, make sure to check the timetable on Solvang's official website at https://www.solvangusa.com/. At this time, Solvang celebrates the days of Denmark, holds many cultural events, concerts, exhibitions. We hope that our readers will be able to experience the amazing atmosphere of the city, where Danish and American roots are forever intertwined. Our experienced Travellizy Team will always help you plan your trip in advance!
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