Introduction To Canary Islands

Introduction To Canary IslandsThe Canary Islands is a group of small islands off the coast of Spain and these islands have two capital cities; Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The name of these islands are not in reference to canaries but rather to dogs. This name was given because according to legend some of the island residents in ancient times would worship dogs. What is also interesting is that while the Canary  Islands are associated with Spain, these islands are really located off the African coast and near the equator rather than Spain itself. Mount Teide, the volcano located near the Canary Islands, is the third largest volcano worldwide.

It’s Expensive To Travel in Canary Islands

When you plan your Itrip to the Canary Islands, keep in mind that you’re going to need extra funds as it is expensive to travel there. Expect to pay close to 80 euros for lodging at a hotel and about 30 euros for a meal at the restaurants on the islands. You can save money on entertainment expenses by purchasing staples in the markets and cooking inside the hotel.

Continue reading “Introduction To Canary Islands” »

Must Visit Places in Greece

Must Visit Places in GreeceGreece is a country that contributed to Western civilization and even today we can feel Greece’s influence in modern architecture, philosophy, the arts and in politics. If you have a love for all things Greece, then you should check out these must visit places for your next vacation.


If you visit Santorini you’ll be treated to rows of beautiful white stucco homes situated on hills and that face crystal clear bluish green waters. Many people visit Santorini for this reason and if you’re an art buff you should go to the island’s prehistoric art museum so that you can show the kids what ancient Greek art looked like. You can also visit the lively bars and restaurants on the island.


Acropolis is just as amazing as other parts of Greece and it is also of historical significance. In ancient times a statue of Athena, the goddess of Acropolis was erected in this city and in Acropolis you’ll always find temples of Parthenon and Athena Nike. Those who are history buffs would enjoy going to this site.

Continue reading “Must Visit Places in Greece” »

Info About Balearic Islands

Info About Balearic IslandsThe Balearic Islands are islands that are under the control of Spain and are each beautiful in its’ own right. The summers in the Balearic Islands are generally hot and the winters there are mild. There are four islands that make up the Balearic islands. Majorca is one of the islands and tourists enjoy the crystal blue waters that surround this island. Tourists will also love the hilltop villages situated on this island’s hillsides and for those who love the nightlife, Majorca has plenty of nightclubs to choose from and you can also visit some of the nice restaurants. For those who love water sports, Majorca allows you to go scuba diving and snorkeling.

Top Places To Check Out in Balearic Islands

If you’re visiting the Balearic Islands, you should go to the Cuevas de Drach in Majorca and the translation is “Dragon Caves”. The caves look somewhat dragon like and inside this cave lies creepy yet beautiful drooping caverns made of limestone. The Faro de la Mola on the island of Fomentera is another must see for the tourist. This structure is a tall white lighthouse that stands at 625 feet tall and it looks wonderful at night. La Mola Fortaleza is an ancient fortress that is reminiscent of ancient Spain.

Continue reading “Info About Balearic Islands” »

Parador Hotels

Parador HotelsParador hotels are hotels in Spain that are affiliated with the government and these hotels are housed in buildings that are of historic or cultural significance. One interesting parador hotel is the Parador de Avila, which is housed in a 15th century palace and this hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens. There is also the Parador de Cuenca and this was the site of a former Dominican convent. The balconies on this hotel sit above cliffs and rivers, and the restaurant next to it serves delicious meat dishes.

Brief History of Paradors

The first parador was built in 1928 in the Gredos Mountains. Over time the conversion of historic buildings to hotels gained approval by King Alfonso XIII and in the  during the nation’s infamous Civil War in the 1930s, some of the parador hotels became hospitals to treat the wounded. During Francisco Franco’s dictatorship the paradors became popular once more and currently there are over 90 paradors in Spain. Most of the paradors are of three and four star quality, and many of them have amenities such as spas, restaurants and gardens.

What You Can Expect At Parador Hotels

Each parador hotel offers a variety of activities and tours for visitors to check out. Some parador hotels have gastronomic activities on site where you can sample different traditional Spanish foods from the staff at the hotel. Some parador hotels are sites of historic significance and when you stay at one of them you learn more about Spain’s ancient past. At other paradors you can engage in a variety of water sports.

Affordability of Paradors

A benefit of the paradors in Spain is that they are affordable with the average rates ranging from $40 and $115 nightly. This makes the parador hotel an excellent choice for lodging in Spain when you cannot afford to stay in the luxurious hotels within the major cities. These paradors may be affordable but the inside of them look beautiful even though the outside has some slight wear and tear over the years.

Foods That You Would Eat At Parador Hotels

Since many parador hotels offer fine dining, you should know about some of the main foods that are consumed in Spain. Generally for breakfast Spaniards do not eat a big breakfast but rather a small appetizer that would consist of long shaped churros with coffee. In the late afternoon you would be served a large lunch that involves three courses. Small appetizers called tapas are legendary in Spain and you will find these at most paradors that serve meals. Paella is a delicious seafood and rice dish that includes saffron and native spices.


Parador hotels are an affordable way to enjoy Spain while taking in its’ rich cultural history. While staying at the parador hotel you can talk with some of the locals about life in the city they live in and you can share with them information about your culture and life. Enjoy the trip and take plenty of pictures.

Getting to the Bottom of Boots

Getting to the Bottom of BootsThis post is just a quick travel tip for those people who like to spend most of their travel time on their feet. Whether you are trekking through the Alps or going doing urban exploration in the Paris underground, a traveller’s best friend is generally his or her shoes.

Think about it, how many times have you been walking for miles with blisters and in pain because you decided to wear the wrong pair of shoes on that half day walking tour of the Old Town?

Even worse is when shoes wear out quickly because of the use and abuse they recieve both during walking and when rammed into luggage. I know we have all been there. More than once. But, the answer to so many travel woes is actually very simple. It all comes down to buying a good pair of go-to travel boots. The best option is usually something built for walking, like hiking boots or even military combat boots.

I know that some people might balk at buying combat boots for their next city tour, but think about it: Who has to stay on their feet more than a soldier? Now, I’m not saying that everyone has to go for a straight military style. There are actually a lot of styles and brands to choose from, and some are pretty stylish. But, there is something to be said for that particular design of a boot when it comes to long-lasting footwear. So, give it a try and go try on a pair of boots.

You may be amazed a how good it feels to walk in sturdy shoes with proper support. Even beter than that, they hold up in luggage surprisingly well (but you may want to but the ones with steel toes in your checked baggage if you are going through airport security).

There are many types of combat boots for different situations, and there are also styles for all types of climates and uses. Beyond the style and use of the boot another important factor to consider is whether the boot has a way to control moisture, like with drainage vents. Also, the sole of the shoe is essential. Vulcanized rubber outsoles are the best thing to look for if you want your boots to last.

So that’s the pro-tip for the day, and I hope all my readers enjoy their next excursion without having to worry about bunions, blisters, and bruised toes. Happy trails!

Travel by Way of a Motorcycle

Travel by Way of a MotorcycleOne of the more interesting ways to see the countryside is by touring it on a motorcycle. Rather than

flying from city to city or falling asleep on a train or a bus, motorcycling can be a wonderful way to really get to see and pay attention to the countryside. Even better, motorcycle excursions are more flexible and more inexpensive than most other transportation options, and they have the cool factor built into them. This post will serve as a practical guide for planning a motorcycle excursion.

Choosing When and Where to Go

The season and weather do affect people riding motorcycles more than those who choose other modes of transportation. Many bikers travel in the late spring and summer seasons when the weather is the best. Regardless, it is good practice to always check the weather reports for each stop ahead and adjust accordingly.

So much of deciding on where to go is a personal matter because a trip can be anywhere from a day to a month in length and the places a motorcyclist can travel to is limited only to where there are roads. Having said that, it is best to choose a place with traffic and terrain that is in keeping with all of the riders’ ability levels. Even more, it is best to stick to places where everyone is licensed and aware of the relevant traffic laws.

Gearing Up

This too depends on the length of the ride, but most motorcyclists will want to make sure that their bike has saddlebags or some sort of way to haul the necessities of life. Packing has to be well planned due to the lack of space, but that is actually one of the liberating things about biking in the end.

Beyond that, sturdy and comfortable clothing is a must. It is particularly true that a good jacket and pair of boots like the Black Canyon motorcycle boots are a must as they take the brunt of the wear. It is best to invest in a helmet for safety as well as a good pair of eye wear to keep the dust and bugs at bay.

Life on the Road

Riding a motorcycle forces one to be aware of a different pace of life and to really pay attention to what is around the bike. This can be a great benefit for people who want to see and internalize the countryside they are travelling through. There is a reason that the motorcycle is such an iconic machine. Even more than that, motorcycle enthusiasts are often drawn to each other and develop a sense of community. A simple motorcycle vacation an mean lifelong friends and a new outlook.


The most important thing is to always stay safe on the road. The second most important thing is to enjoy the ride. With that in mind, proper planning and having good clothing and gear can make or break a trip. When shopping for the essentials for the ride a site like can be extremely helpful in making a motorcycle excursion the trip of a lifetime.

Swimming Pools and Staycations

Swimming Pools and StaycationsThe idea of a “staycation” is coming into vogue with people who want some time to relax but without leaving where they live. Staycations were once the province of people who couldn’t afford to leave home, but nowdays people are improving their homes to make them more resort-like. As a result, staycations are more and more the preferred way for many people to relax.

Even the intrepid travellers among us need some time to relax and unwind at home. Recently, my friend, Ben, decided hat he woul install a swimming pool so that he could have a better staycation. I though that this was a great idea, so this post will be for those who want to swim and lay out by the pool but don’t want to do it at a resort.

I was really impressed at how my friend’s pool looked when I saw it. It is rectangular with a blue lining, and it is an above ground model that he built into a deck so that he could have loungers and a table poolside. I asked him if it was difficult to install. He said that people came to do it for him and that the entire process was fairly easy because he researched using resources like the swimming pool buyer’s guide to help hm decide on how to go about getting it all done.

My friend said that finding the right swimming pool for each person is important. He decided to go with an above ground pool because they are cost effective and easy to set up as compared to in ground models. They also don’t require concrete, and they can be moved as well. I see both of these thing as a distinct advantage for people who don’t want to ruin their back gardens. After choosing a model, size and shape for his pool, Ben looked at all the options for filters, pumps, pool liners and accessories. This meant that he could really personalize it to be just want he wanted (which he did).

He invited me over recently to try out his new pool, and we had a great time of it. I have to say that relaxing on the deck with a beer is a nice way to spend a day even for people who can’t swim. I can only imagine how happy his two teenagers are. He is very happy with his purchase and I can see why the idea of a staycation is catching on with people. Even if I do like to get out and explore the world most of the time, it’s nice to have something like a pool at home as well.

Anyone who is interested in this type of an addition to their home should do what Ben did – research your options through specialised websites. You may be surprised at how inexpensive owning a swimming pool can be with a little bit of planning.

Smoking Section

Smoking SectionAdmittedly this post isn’t about that type of smoking. It’s actually about food. We’ll get to why that is in just a second. First, it’s important to say that part of what makes travelling so amazing is the chance to try new foods. A country’s national dish or a local specialty can help to make a travel experience richer and also to bridge gaps in understanding. That’s why it is always interesting to pay attention when a new food comes to light.

One new style of cooking that has just recently begin to find its place in Europe is called smoking. Smoking is based on ancient techniques of meat preservation but has developed into a distinctly American style of barbecue that is becoming more popular throughout the world. There are now smokehouses in Belfast and Naples and it has become a trend as far away as Tokyo, Japan.

But, if you aren’t able to make it to one of those cities, or to the Southern U.S. for that matter, have no fear. You can learn a little about smoking and try it yourself at home. It’s best to start by adjusting some expectations about barbecue. We usually think of barbecue as grilling over an open flame, but smoking is not that at all. Most of what we think of as barbecue is what our American cousins would consider “grilling.”

True American-style barbecue takes a lot longer in the States. And, smoking is likely to be the slowest form of barbecue. It is so slow that it needs a specialized piece of equipment called a smoker. Slow really means slow with smoking. Including the time it takes for the dry rub, the whole process can take a couple of days. The cooking time alone can be upwards of nine hours, depending on the amount of meat. Having said that. The beauty of having a quality electric smoker is that it can be set to a temperature and the rest is automatic. With other types of smokers, like charcoal and gas, the process requires constant checking and adjustments.

The smoker is filled with wood chips to add flavour to the meat. Different types of meat are paired with different wood and particular American regional styles may also dictate what wood is used. Generally, mesquite, hickory, cherry, oak, maple and alder can be used.

Even the type of meat is regional. Pork is the most common in many places but most Texans prefer beef and there are recipes for chicken, mutton and fish as well. The outcome of a good smoking session is amazingly tender and flavoursome meat with a dark crust of seasonings on the outside and a distinctive red smoke line.

So, if your city doesn’t have a smokehouse yet, try it while you are travelling in Europe or even try to make it at home. If you do, then you can enjoy a little taste from across the pond. And, maybe someday you can eat at a smokehouse in Austin, Memphis, Nashville or Kansas City.

Dog Show Discoveries

Dog Show DiscoveriesThe 2014 FCI Euro Dog Show was recently held over the course of four days in Brno, Czech Republic. This is a prestigious annual event for both dog and owners. Over 2,000 dogs are generally in attendance at these yearly shows, and they are a hot ticket to have if they come to your city. Even if it isn’t coming to a town near you, because it’s held in many locations throughout Europe, it is a perfect excuse for animal lovers of all stripes to travel.

As with all conventions conferences and large events, preparing to travel to an event like this can be a little overwhelming. This is true for everyone who attends, but especially true for those actually bringing their dogs along with them. Dogs have to be entered and pet-friendly accommodations have to be made. Even more important, the dogs have to arrive safely and looking their best. This means that dog carriers and access to a variety of dog grooming services are a must. Even for those who are not actually participating, good planning is essential, as tickets have to be bought and nearby hotels may run out of rooms in advance.

Even with all of this planning, there is nothing that prepares a person for the sights and sounds of a huge venue full of dogs and their caregivers. It really is a heavenly experience for any dog lover and is not to be missed. The competition rings are beautifully laid out and the animals are graceful on the stage and entertaining off of it.

It also helps that these show are often held in interesting and historic places like Brno. In the past the show has been held in Romania, Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia. In 2015, it will be in Oslo, Norway, which is a city everyone should see at least once. This means that dog show spectators have many things to do and see in their time away from the judging ring.

Watching the dog show, one comes to the realization that working with animals in any capacity is a life calling. The dogs’ grace and good form, even under pressure and stress, is a testament to the love and concern of their owners and trainers. Even some spectators may fall so in love with the whole process that they seek out careers working with animals may fall so in love with it that they too want to spend their lives working with animals. Those people will be heartened to hear that veterinarians’ and professional dog groomers’ salaries are quite high.

This may be a little off the beaten path form other activities, but attending an event like a dog show can be a fun addition to any trip and can lead to invaluable experiences. IT really is recommended for any animal and travel enthusiast. Check the listings and think about attending one in your future!

Fishing Vacations in Ireland

Fishing Vacations in IrelandThe Emerald Isle may be more famous for the Blarney Stone and shamrocks, but there is way more to it than that. One of Ireland’s best kept secret is its spectacular nature and its array of outdoor activities. Not the least of these is its pike fishing on the River Shannon, which can provide a great vacation for any outdoors person.

Where to Go

The River Shannon spans eleven counties from north to south, and there are several lakes and tributaries that provide excellent fishing opportunities in addition to the river itself. This means hat there are numerous opportunities for fishing throughout Ireland. Some good places to consider include Limerick, Drumshanbo, Portuma, Banagher, Ballinasloe, Athlone and other areas offer very good to excellent pike fishing in a variety of settings. Drumshanbo has a famous pike lough. Athlone is situated on a very large lake and has many boat slips and marinas. In addition to this, the area around  Limerick, O’Brien’s Bridge and Killaloe hosts the world-famous annual European Pike Challenge.

What to Bring (and What’s There)

Pike can weigh up to 30 pounds. This means that fishers may need specialized equipment like heavy leaders and spoon lures. More often than not, boat fishing is the best method in this area. Boat rentals are generally available throughout the region, though there are some unexplored areas where this is not the case. Bringing a portable fish finder can also make a big difference in the day’s catch.  Also, it is best to keep in mind that some areas require fishing permits, particularly the River Suck. These can generally be purchased online in advance.

More to See and Do

There is more than just fishing on the River Shannon. For those who want to spend some time on land, there are several great sites to see. For example, Athlone is a short jaunt from the famous Clonmacnoise Abbey and an ancient Norman castle. Ballinamore is near to the mythical fairy hills, Sheebeg and Sheemor, that now lend their name to one of Turlough O’Carolan’s most loved tunes. Killaloe is the home of Brian Boru and has a fascinating cathedral to visit.

The Price to Play

Fishing vacations are often reasonably priced, and the can be very flexible in fitting a variety of budgets and needs. Full vacation packages often run 500 to 900 euros for two people staying for one week. One day boat rentals with a guide generally run about 150 euros. Fishers who want to venture out on their own without a guide or a package deal can arrange accommodation, food and boat rentals for less but should already be competent fishers and comfortable on the water.


Pike fishing in Ireland is a unique way to experience a beautiful country and make unforgettable memories, but it is always important to plan ahead and to judge individual ability levels accurately. This second point  is especially true since many of the places with the best fishing are remote, vacationers may need to know how to drive a boat and  there may be legal requirements to accomplish before going out onto the water.

Endurance Sports and Competitions on Canary Islands

Endurance Sports and Competitions on Canary IslandsThe Canary Islands are a favorite vacation destination for people all over the world. From the United States to China, and the Arctic to the Antarctic, there’s just something about the warm sands, peace and quiet of the Canary Islands that draws folks in from all around. The proximity to Spain and plenty of good food, good wine and other comforts surely has something to do with this. However, the endurance sports and competitions available at the Canary Islands are also a major drawing point for tourists and visitors.

Even for those who aren’t personally participating in the events, there’s still plenty to see and watch at the Islands. Open water swimming in the sea, mountain climbing, beach running and other sports are all endurance events, meant to test players continuously and over a long period of time, rather than demanding that they quickly do a particular thing. These sports are arduous at best, downright damaging at their worst, and great ways for competitive people to find out if they have as much staying power as they believe. Some of them come with an inherent level of danger as well, but that just adds to the thrill of the sport for some players.

In particular, there are some special events coming up relatively soon on the Canary Islands. Though September is more or less clear of any major events, August was full of them, with three different triathlon events on the islands of La Palma and La Gomera. October isn’t far off though, and it brings a host of different shows with it: the Travesia a nado El Rio in Lanzarote; Coast2Coast Trail Running in Fuerteventura; Media Maraton de la Gomera in La Gomera; and the Tenerife Bluetrail in Tenerife, just to name a few of them.

However, running and climbing might not really be exciting enough for you. I know I find watching a bunch of people running pretty boring, myself. For really extreme sports you might check out Brazilian JiuJitsu training, where you can train with live partners, or test your skills against modern grappling dummies. JiuJitsu is a full contact sport, with plenty of fighting involved – it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. In addition to the intense physical aspect of Brazilian JiuJitsu, there’s a certain need for a calm and steady mind behind those punches, kicks, twists and throws. It’s not like fighting in a bar.

To get more information about the different events coming up on the Canary Islands and find out if any of them would be of special interest to you, all you need to do is run a quick search just for that. In no time, you should have a few pages loaded with information on the topic. Alas, I do not have enough space here to tell you about everything coming up on the Islands, but rest assured that there is much more to do than I have outlined here. If you’re planning on going, you should definitely look first.

Mallorca Outdoor Extreme Activities

Mallorca Outdoor Extreme ActivitiesMallorca is a special kind of place for outdoors types because it offers so many different things for an adventurous soul to do. Being nestled up against the sea, as well as close to the countryside and wide open spaces, and other nearby towns, puts Mallorca in a position which few other areas share. For hardcore fitness devotees, there’s also a Crossfit gym available; check out additional hints about best Crossfit wearing gear, for successful Crossfit gym attendance. Here’s a quick list of many different extreme outdoor activities one can enjoy in Mallorca.


Naturally, you could go fishing just about anywhere there’s a body of water, so fishing isn’t exactly an activity unique to Mallorca. However, the proximity to the ocean and the ability to go after some pretty monstrous fish is still tough to find. If you’re used to fishing lakes or ponds for small fries, you’ve got to try deep sea fishing in and around Mallorca.


Some windsurfers long for high winds like traditional surfers long for bigger and badder waves. However, Mallorca doesn’t typically feature gale force winds, making it an ideal place for newcomers to the sport of windsurfing to get their bearings and some training in the sport. That’s not to say it’s all light winds either, though – be ready for a gale in any case.


Numerous water sports are highly popular in Mallorca, which isn’t at all surprising considering the location. Among these, sailing could be the most popular of them all, especially when you consider the numerous, prolific sporting events which revolve around sailing. Every year, sailors compete in the King’s Cup, as well as to get their hands on the Princess Sofia Trophy.

Hang Gliding

Hang gliding, or parasailing as some call it, is a sport where the participant becomes a kind of giant, human kite. High peaks are necessary as launch points for this sport, and Mallorca is full of those. In fact, rock climbing is another popular activity in the area, and parasailing and rock climbing tend to go hand in hand. For those who would rather not climb, the people of Mallorca do still use hot air balloons, which make for easy and even flight.

Diving / Snorkeling

Diving might not seem like such a dangerous or extreme activity, but I’m talking about diving in the waters around Mallorca, not checking what’s going on under the surface of the water at your local pool. There’s so much to see and interact with under the water, even at marginal depths, which is why snorkeling is also a popular way to kill time in Mallorca. You don’t have to go down especially far to see fish, coral, shells and all the other sights waiting just below the surface.

These are just five of the fun activities you can look forward to enjoying if you should choose to visit Mallorca. There are other things to do too, but I just haven’t got the time to talk about them all here. Look forward to water-skiing, rock climbing, spelunking and other daring activities.

Botanical Gardens on Canary Islands

Botanical Gardens on Canary IslandsBotanical gardens make for nice destinations during lengthy travel. Not only do they tend to offer a wide collection of different plants which can’t normally be found in a particular place, but they’re also some of the most relaxing spots, at least in my own experience. All that dense growth condensed into a small space puts a powerful amount of oxygen into the local atmosphere, and I swear I just feel better as soon as I walk into one of these types of gardens. So where does one get the perfect mix of vacation and botanical gardens then? On the Canary Islands, I’d say.

You can grow your own garden at home using indoor grow lights, but we don’t all have the kind of space for huge, lush gardens like what can be found at the following few places:

Viera y Clavijo Botanical Garden

The Viera y Clavijo Botanical Garden in Gran Canaria is one of the finest botanical gardens the Canary Islands have to offer. It is only a handful of miles from the capital city, Las Palmas. Actually, the Canary Islands have two capitals, but this garden is much closer to Las Palmas than Santa Cruz. Several plant species from the Macaronesia region can be found here, as well as many plant types nearing extinction.

Jardin de Aclimatacion de La Orotava

This botanical garden features the largest collection of tropical and subtropical plants among all the gardens on the Canary Islands. It is settled in Puerto la Cruz, and features a substantial lily pond which caters to other types of waterborne plants as well. Some of the oldest and largest trees on the Islands can be found in this particular garden.

Maroparque Botanical and Animal Park

For a nice change of pace, consider visiting the Maroparque Botanical and Animal Park, near Breña Altaon the island of Las Palmas. Not only is it a fully featured botanical garden, but it also features some rare and exotic animals, both from around Spain and other parts of the world. It’s really more of a combination garden and zoo, but that doesn’t detract from the sense of wonder that comes with visiting the place.

Vallehermoso Botanical Garden

Due to the great land area devoted to this botanical garden (over 16,000 square meters), the Vallehermoso Botanical Garden might just be the largest of all the botanical gardens on the Islands. It can be found on La Gomera. The garden features plants from other countries, including the United States, as well as some indigenous species found only on the Canary Islands.

If you ask me, these are the best Botanical Gardens the Canary Islands have to offer visitors. Among these four, the selection of different plant species (and even animals) is hard to match, even for the other gardens on the Islands. However, you may be able to see something more spectacular if you head for the mainland and try Spain, France or another nearby bit of Europe.