City of the Day: Vienna, Austria November 23 2015

The historic city of Vienna, Austria is embedded in the Alpine region and is a center of attraction. In the winter, it provides numerous entertaining activities. The ice skating rinks like the one in the Town Hall are surrounded with beautiful architecture, making the experience even more delightful. Before the holidays, Christmas markets take over the entire city with sweets, delicacies, and local crafts.

Vienna is proud of its rich, high culture. Winter in this city is the season of opera, balls, and Christmas markets.


City of the Day : Dublin, Ireland November 23 2015

Nestled in Ireland, Dublin is cold, and there is a lot of snow -- but there are even more pubs that provide a cozy corner and a glass of original Guinness beer! Dublin was voted one of the friendliest cities in Europe. They are also the home to Dublin Mountains and Wicklow Mountains which provide a natural getaway, hiking trails, and beautiful panoramic views. There's something here for everyone!

Dublin has a great party life, delicious beer, and cold weather in the winter, and is particularly proud of its cultural life and music scene.


Helpful Hints: Traveling Tips August 06 2015

Everyone dreams of traveling the world. Whether it be a trek to England or a spiritual journey to Dubai, traveling is something that everyone can benefit from. It helps us grow, experience different cultures, and provides us with memories to last a lifetime. Now that’s not to say that traveling is always easy, it is a learning process and you will constantly find yourself taking note on what to do to improve your experience. Here are some traveling tips to best prepare you for your next adventure:

  • Plan a budget ahead of time

Always keep extra cash stashed away for emergency situations. This provides you with a cushion in possible conflict and is a comforting thing to have on yourself.

  • Study the places you plan to go ahead of time

This way you can find things that interest you and be able to visit them when you reach your destination. This will help you plan your time wisely and be able to take in as much culture as possible while you are at your destination. Also learn some basic of the language of the place you are visiting to be able to at least slightly communicate with locals

  • Wake up early

Don’t waste time sleeping away your days! Wake up early and soak in the culture as you wander around this foreign territory

  • Keep an open mind

Being in a foreign area can be stressful and confusing, but don’t let yourself get caught up the negative aspect and instead embrace this new experience as a one in a lifetime chance to immerse yourself in a different culture. Try new foods, take new roads and keep a positive mindset

  • Take a lot of photos

Document your trip so that you can look back at the photos and have warm memories to flood your mind with sweet nostalgia

  • Meet some locals

Talk to locals of the land- find out places to go from them so that you can live like a local and not be limited to typical tourist traps

  • Prepare for all types of weather

Weather can be unpredictable so pack things that you may not think you necessarily need but that you will be desperate for if you don’t have

  • Immerse yourself in the culture

Avoid eating at chains or visiting places that are familiar to you. Try new things and experience instances that are out of the ordinary for you

  • Make sure your passport is up to date

This is obviously very important. At least six months before you leave make sure everything having to do with your passport is lined up and ready to go. Also make a photocopy of your passport to have a backup in case anything happens to your first one

  • Enjoy every moment!

Traveling is one of the most amazing experiences you can give yourself. Be sure to soak in each moment and create wonderful memories for youself


City of the Day: Lucerne March 20 2015

Located in North Central Switzerland Lucerne is a stunning area along the Reuss River. Made up of only seventeen cities and towns, Lucerne's population is only 250,000. The awe-inspiring sites of the city are bountiful as one walks across charming towns with the view of magnificent mountains always ahead. The breathtaking Chapel Bridge, also called the Kapellbrücke and the Water Tower are found at the heart of the city along the Ruess. This site is the most famously recognizable landmark for the city of Lucerne and a popular destination for all the sightseeing extraordinaires. This is the scene that is presented in the Loose Petals poster print of the beautiful city. 

Authentic Swiss cuisine can be found everywhere in Lucerne. Swiss food is also highly influence by the surrounding regions of France, Germany and Italy, making the delicious options endless. Switzerland is especially well known for their mouth watering cheese because making it is part of Swiss heritage. Because of this there are over 100 varieties of cheese produced in Switzerland. These cheeses are made in small dairies led by master cheesemakers, meaning that none of the cheese found in Lucerne is factory produced. As one can tell, cheese is a pretty serious subject matter over in Switzerland and definitely an artful and respected savory cuisine to locals and visitors alike.

People dressed up at the Lucerne Festival 

Among the delectable cheeses of Lucerne are some equally incredible events. One of the most popular being The Lucerne Carnival celebrated every year in the month of February. With arts and entertainment found in abundance the carnival sure seems like quite an extraordinary sight to see. A typical day taking part in the carnival would include seeing people dressed as characters in extravagant masks and costumes celebrating the many musicians or Guggenmusigens (in native Swiss language) participating in the festivities.

Astonishing sites, exquisite cuisine and whimsical events abound, Lucerne paints a picture of a truly alluring haven. To immerse oneself in such a culture would seem like entering a fantasy world, one that I myself, would probably never want to part from. So I suppose as winter quickly approaches here in the US we can all daydream about winter wonderland over in Lucerne and imagine ourselves happily strolling along their quaint brick roads.


City of the Day: Prague March 13 2015

Prague: a city that many people visit and never want to leave. With its picture perfect views and cultural and historical attractions it’s no wonder that TripAdvisor named it the 5th best destination in 2014. Looked at as one of the cultural centers of Europe, Prague hosts many events and festivals throughout the year such as Prague Writers Festival, Prague Fringe Festival, and the World Roma Festival. Prague, where beer is cheaper than water,  also hosts the Czech Beer Festival which is a 17 day celebration held in May where more than 70 Czech beer brands can be tasted.

Often referred to as the stone dream or the golden city, Prague is home to many architectural gems. With so many different architectural styles side by side there is plenty to see when you visit the city. If you choose to see Romanesque style architecture visit St. Martin Rotunda or St. Cross Rotunda. For Renaissance style take a stroll to The Royal Summer Palace or the Ball Game Hall. For classic cubism style you can visit the beautiful Adria Palace.

While eating in Prague you can taste the German influence in much of the cuisine. The three main foods are vepro, knedlo, and zelo or what we in America call: pork, dumplings and cabbage. Other popular dishes include roast beef, roast chicken and spicy cured meats. Traditional Czech sauces are known to be heavy and creamy often paired with spicy meat or cabbage to create a unique delicious blend. Before, during and after your meal it is not uncommon to be enjoying some of Prague’s esteemed beer. Gambrinus, Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen are just three of the beloved beers of Prague. With the cities love for drink comes many places to drink, with a handful of tank pubs, breweries and bars throughout the city. After a good meal and a few brews one may explore the effervescent nightlife that Prague has to offer. It is often a destination for many Europeans for its fun clubs and lively music scene.  

Prague is friendly to anyone who enters its hemispheres, from hearty food and a good brew to the beautiful sights and endless cultural entertainment options once you visit you will have a hard time leaving.


City of the Day: Lisbon February 22 2015

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is found on the Western Iberian Peninsula along the Atlantic Ocean.  It is the eleventh most populated urban area in the European Union with about 3 million people living in the metropolis area. Being one of the oldest cities in the world it has an affluent past filled with historical significance. Brimming with museums and beautiful architecture, Lisbon is truly a magnificent place of grandeur.

Some of the elegant architectural styles one can find while walking the streets of Lisbon include: Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, Modern and Postmodern. There is also the remarkable Belem Tower, the most photographed landmark in the city. It seems that almost anywhere you look you can find an extravagant palace or an old exquisitely constructed church. All of this classic architecture mixed in with contemporary styles makes Lisbon out to be a perfect hybrid of old and new.

Every year Lisbon is also home to many festivals that celebrate art and culture. The Lisbon International Documentary Film Festival, The Festival of the Oceans and the Art Lisboa- Contemporary Art Fair are just a few of the festivities that happen along Lisbons cobbled roads. One of the largest pop rock festivals,the Rock in Rio Lisboa, has also happened in the city. While in the city one can also enjoy Fado, a type of urban folk music that sings about love, desire and the ups and downs of life. Fado is strong in emotion and equally as strong in performance with such an engagement to the crowd that many people say the music has moved them to tears. To fully understand the experience that entails with Fado one can visit the Cafe Luso, which was established in 1927 and is now one of the oldest Fado houses in the city.

Made up of different barrios or neighborhoods, the communities of Lisbon have no definitive boundaries but rather have distinct districts that are common in culture and living standards with each other. Bairro Alto is an area that is known for its fine shopping and entertainment and is also the hub of Portugal nightlife. Parque das Nações is a quaint residential area of the city and also the newest district to be established in Lisbon. Chiado mixes old with new as a popular shopping area filled with museums as well as theaters.

A perfect blend of classic and modern, Lisbon is a place for those wanting to learn about the past along with celebrating the present. Visually stunning with architectural gems and inspirational sights of the sea, even just walking the city is an outstanding experience in itself. Thriving with arts and culture a visit to Lisbon would definitely be a remarkable journey for anyone to partake on.