Enchanting Switzerland: A Journey Through Alpine Majesty

Enchanting Switzerland: A Journey Through Alpine Majesty

Located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland beckons with its pristine landscapes, breathtaking mountains, and charming cities. From the snow-capped peaks of the Alps to the serene shores of its lakes, Switzerland is a country that captures the imagination of travelers from around the world. Join us on a journey through this land of scenic wonders and cultural delights.

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A Tapestry of Tranquility and Adventure

Switzerland: A Tapestry of Tranquility and Adventure

Nestled in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is a land of captivating contrasts, where snow-capped peaks meet serene lakes and bustling cities blend seamlessly with tranquil alpine villages. Renowned for its pristine landscapes, efficient infrastructure, and rich cultural heritage, Switzerland offers travelers a myriad of experiences to cherish.

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Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

The Netherlands’ top treasure house, the Rijksmuseum (pronounced ‘rikes’), is among the world’s finest art museums. With over 1.5km of galleries, it packs in around 8000 artworks with paintings by homegrown heroes Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh, as well as plenty of other masterpieces.

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Verzetsmuseum

Verzetsmuseum

The museum of the Dutch Resistance brings the horror of German occupation in WWII vividly alive, using personal stories, letters, artefacts, films and photographs to illuminate local resistance to (but also collaboration with) the Nazis.

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Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch

This is the big one. At 3454m above sea level, Jungfraujoch is Europe’s highest train station: a once-in-a-lifetime trip, with views of the deeply crevassed Aletsch Glacier and a never-ending ripple of sky-high Alpine peaks to make you gasp out loud.

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Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach Aruba, Caribbean

Eagle Beach

Fronting a line of low-rise resorts just northwest of Oranjestad, Eagle is a long stretch of white sand that regularly makes lists of the best beaches in the world. There are shade trees in some areas and you can obtain every service you need, from a lounger to a cold drink.

Eagle Beach is a leatherback-turtle nesting area, so parts of it may be closed from March to July.

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Hotel Review: Karma Sanctum Soho, London

Hotel Review: Karma Sanctum Soho, London

Dubbed as a "rock n' roll venue, if Karma Sanctum Soho hotel was a person, it would indeed be a rock chick or a cool dud.

Tucked away in Warwick Street in London’s famous Soho region is the Karma Sanctum Hotel. The building has been created out of two Georgeon townhouses and turned into a funky place to stay.

A buxom gorilla meets you at reception, with vast images of Jimmy Hendrix that seem to ooze out of brooding colors.

The Karma Sanctum Hotel is the brainchild of Mark Fuller, a nightclub owner and restaurateur, who opened the hotel with Andy Talor, manager of Fleetwood Mac, and  Rod Smallwood, who looks after Iron Maiden. They wanted a place to meet and have a snifter out of hours alongside their members and residents.

So Karma Sanctum has all the credentials of being a rock n’ hotel at its core, and in case there is any doubt, there are several artworks dotted around of rock stars you are bound to recognize.

Bizarrely, there is a full-size Dalek of Dr. Who fame on the second floor.

Who for

Based in Soho, the clientele is bound to be an eclectic one. A love of good design, rock and roll music, and an easy vibe helps.

Accommodation

There are 30 rooms over four floors with door handles encrusted with diamante. Room range from Compact to large Delux Loft.

Ours was a Superior Compact room 205, which, though one of the smaller rooms, still has wardrobes and comes with a size bed with Egyptian cotton sheets, bathrobes, slippers, a huge TV, and Temple spa toiletries in the spacious, clean white wet room.

There’s a mini bar, complimentary still water, a Nespresso machine, and plenty of phone charger ports and plug sockets.Food & Drink

Hotelier Mark Fuller and Michelin-starred chef Garry Hollihead have inked a new partnership to open a new restaurant at Karma Soho Hotel in London: Wild Heart Bar & Shokudo. The style is a casual Japanese-inspired sharing concept for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

There’s also an afternoon tea with chicken katsu sliders, steamed vegetable gyozas, and sweet treats, including matcha panna-cotta with freeze-dried raspberries, mini yuzu, and red fruit tarts.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to dine there, but if three-times Michellin-starred Garry Hollihead is at the helm, you can be sure of the finest dining.

On the 5th floor, there’s a roof terrace, both inside and al fresco (lorded over by the gorilla), for cocktails or wine and snacks supplied by the Michelin restaurant. There is another party place called the Inner Sanctum in the basement.

How much

Rooms at Karma Sanctum Hotel start from £399 per night.

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Why you must visit the Carnaby area in London’s West End.

Why you must visit the Carnaby area in London’s West End.

Why you must visit the Carnaby area in London’s West End.

Carnaby is synonymous with the Swinging Sixties. You can get there now and experience a brand new jive.

As heydays go, Carnaby’s was phenomenal and part of the tapestry of the Swinging 60s. For an entire decade, you could eat, drink, and be merry alongside music stars, including David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and style icons Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor just by hanging out there. And, here’s a fun fact: Paul McCartney met Linda on 15 May at Bag O’ Nails Club, 9 Kingly Street in Carnaby.

Though the Swinging 60s are no longer, the Carnaby area is back in motion with its jive style. Look upwards on Carnaby Street and see the Shimmer Disc Union Flag, the Rainbow Arch, and the Carnaby Street Arch that heralds 14 streets with over 100 shops and 60 restaurants, bars, and cafés.

Shopping in Carnaby

Start at Great Malborough Street, where Liberty looks dapper in its historic Tudor building – six floors made from timbers of two ancient ‘three-decker’ battle ships amounting to 24,000 cubic feet of vessel woods, including their decks now being the shop flooring.

Swatch, Sweaty Betty, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, The North Face, and Timberland have outlets there. Still, Carnaby’s independent boutique shops shine their light with ingenuity and creativity, making it a must-visit.

Annie’s Ibiza on 3 Newburgh Street could not be more distinct. This is where you shop to find the perfect dress to party in. The rails shimmer with glitz and sparkle. Annie’s wardrobe reflects her shop, including some vintage pieces. I would love to meet her after seeing her flair and the clothes she has curated.

Being far too bashful (and not skinny enough), I could only admire these one-off and sometimes highly revealing pieces.

There’s more creative fashion at 8 Newburgh Street. Hayley Menzies is most famous for her long cardigans and her general use of bold prints and luxurious natural fibers. You will find a highly curated mix of pieces at her beautiful new boutique, which she describes as a contemporary luxury brand creating the vintage of the future.

IKKS Paris has its bright and spacious UK flagship shop on 3 Carnaby Street. The vibe is urban style with a rock and roll attitude. The pieces are stylish, and it would be easy to shop here for a complete capsule wardrobe, not just for you but for all ages, from baby to toddler and teens to adult.

You can almost sense when a tongue is being poked at you. But it would help if you went in when it is a shop RS No.9 Carnaby, and the language is a vast red sculpture of their logo. The flagship store under the famous Spirit of Soho mural is everything Rolling Stones, and every item is exclusive to their rock n’ roll style.
At number 10 is Ksubi. This brand has existed since 1999, and many think it is Australia’s hottest fashion label. It’s best for teens/early 20s, those years when the rebel attitude suits this fashion. I liked their distressed denim and cross logo.

I nipped into a white-washed cavelike Bloobloom boutique at number 24 only to find a lifetime deal. They design and sell specs at £99, including an eye test. On top of that, they donate a pair to someone in need with each team they sell. No brainer. I am returning soon for my eye test.

Shoes can become an obsession; they must be at Kat Maconie shoe store on 29 Carnaby Street. You cannot miss them; they are instantly recognizable with dazzling colors and hardware frames on architectural heels. You cannot be more maximalist. I particularly enjoyed looking at highly colorful tasseled sandals (£330). The Great Frog on Ganton Street’s black exterior is the perfect frame for its skulls and Gothic. It has been there for almost 40 years and has served the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Motorhead among its clients. Their black diamond skull is always associated with London’s avant-garde design.
Last but not least, the quality of the local charity store must reflect the area. At 8 Ganton Street is Mind, a permanent store that curates its offerings carefully. You’ll find designer clothes topped up daily—a great place to find a bargain.

Inko Nito offers top-notch unconventional Japanese food served in tapas style. The environment is lively, the room bright and spacious, and perfect for couples and groups. The centerpiece is a robata grill, where meat is perfectly grilled and served directly. The food was flavoursome and delicious. I liked the cocktails, too. Go for the Premium Tasting Menu and taste the best choices.

Drinks and snacks: In Cahoot

Kingly Court has many enticing places, but I went deep underground in a fantasy, disused London train station called Cahoots at 5 Kingly Street. It’s darkish, all very hush hush, invoking 1946. Staff are dressed accordingly, and my Winston Curchill cocktail (a tropical number among ten other signature drinks, beers, and wins) was served in a Winston Churchill lookalike mug. Snacks arrived, sausages, croquettes, and other treats.

Here, patrons are referred to as London Scoundrels. Though I could have stayed in this underground facility, I crossed the road to check out Cahoot premises opposite, where live music was playing to channel my inner scoundrel.

Where to Stay

 Karma Sanctum Rock n’ Roll Hotel, with its late-night roof terrace, Michelin-starred restaurant, and members club, puts the fun in funky. Check out our full review of Karma Sanctum Hotel.

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Things To Do In Portugal

The Top Places to see and Things to do in Portugal

The Top Places to see and Things to do in Portugal

Portugal is a country of rich history, diverse landscapes, and vibrant cultures. Here’s a list of top places to see and activities to do:

Top Places:

  1. Lisbon: The capital city is known for its historic neighborhoods like Alfama and Bairro Alto, the Belem Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, and the LX Factory – a hub of shops, restaurants, and cultural activities.

  2. Porto: This northern city, known for its port wine, offers the stunning Ribeira District, Livraria Lello (one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world), and the Dom Luís I Bridge.

  3. Sintra: A UNESCO World Heritage site, it boasts the colorful Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, and Quinta da Regaleira.

  4. Algarve: This southern region offers beautiful beaches and cliffs, especially in areas like Lagos, Faro, and Albufeira.

  5. Coimbra: Home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, the University of Coimbra, and the beautiful Joanina Library.

  6. Évora: Another UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its Roman temple, chapel of bones (Capela dos Ossos), and medieval walls.

  7. Douro Valley: Famous for its terraced vineyards along the Douro River, it’s a must-visit for wine lovers.

  8. Madeira and Azores: These Portuguese archipelagos offer stunning landscapes, from volcanic craters and lush forests in the Azores to the terraced gardens in Madeira.

  9. Óbidos: A charming medieval town surrounded by walls and known for its picturesque streets and the Óbidos Castle.

  10. Cascais and Estoril: Coastal towns close to Lisbon, known for their beaches, the Boca do Inferno cliffs, and the casino in Estoril.

Things to Do:

  1. Wine tasting in Porto: Sample world-renowned Port wines.

  2. Tram 28 ride in Lisbon: A historic tram ride that offers a tour of the city’s most famous sights.

  3. Attend Fado show: Experience the soul of Portuguese music in an intimate setting, especially in Lisbon or Coimbra.

  4. Surfing in Nazaré or Peniche: These are among Europe’s top surfing destinations, with Nazaré known for its record-breaking big waves.

  5. Visit the Caves of Benagil: Accessible only by water, it’s a stunning sea cave in the Algarve.

  6. Hiking in the Azores: Particularly on Sao Miguel Island, which offers diverse landscapes, including the Sete Cidades twin lakes.

  7. Eat Pastéis de Nata: No visit is complete without trying these iconic Portuguese custard tarts.

  8. Nightlife in Bairro Alto, Lisbon: This neighborhood comes alive at night with a plethora of bars and street parties.

  9. Hot springs in the Azores: Particularly in Furnas on Sao Miguel Island.

  10. Visit a “quinta” in the Douro Valley: Experience wine production and enjoy a tasting session.

This list merely scratches the surface of what Portugal offers. Depending on interests, visitors might also delve into historical tours, culinary adventures, nature excursions, and many more enriching experiences.

Cheapest Places to Travel

Cheapest Places toTravel in the World

Cheapest Places toTravel in the World

Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing exciting experiences. Several destinations around the world offer affordable travel options without compromising on fun and adventure. Here are some of the cheapest places to travel in the world:

  1. Vietnam: From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the serene landscapes of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam offers a rich cultural experience at a fraction of the cost compared to many other Asian destinations.

  2. Cambodia: Home to the magnificent Angkor Wat temple complex, Cambodia boasts affordable accommodations, delicious street food, and a welcoming atmosphere.

  3. Bolivia: This South American gem offers stunning landscapes, including the otherworldly Salar de Uyuni salt flats. Prices for food, transportation, and accommodations are relatively low.

  4. Indonesia: With its beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and vibrant culture, Indonesia is a budget traveler’s paradise. Bali, Lombok, and the Gili Islands are popular destinations.

  5. India: India is known for its diverse culture, historical sites, and delicious cuisine. Traveling within the country is affordable, making it an ideal destination for budget-conscious travelers.

  6. Nepal: A haven for trekkers and adventure seekers, Nepal offers breathtaking mountain views and a range of affordable activities.

  7. Bulgaria: Eastern Europe provides an opportunity to explore charming cities like Sofia and Plovdiv without breaking the bank. Bulgaria offers affordable food, accommodations, and sightseeing options.

  8. Thailand: While some areas in Thailand can be expensive, overall, it is a budget-friendly destination with affordable street food, accommodations, and transportation.

  9. Morocco: Morocco offers a fascinating blend of cultures and landscapes, with affordable markets, accommodation options, and local experiences.

  10. Nicaragua: This Central American destination offers beautiful beaches, colonial cities, and diverse nature at relatively low prices.

  11. Portugal: Portugal provides an affordable European experience with stunning coastlines, historic cities, and delicious cuisine.

  12. Egypt: Discover ancient history and explore iconic landmarks like the Pyramids of Giza at affordable prices in Egypt.

Remember that even in affordable destinations, your travel budget will depend on factors like your travel style, activities, and accommodation choices. By researching and planning ahead, you can enjoy incredible adventures and cultural experiences while staying within your budget. Additionally, consider traveling during the off-peak season or taking advantage of deals and discounts to stretch your travel funds even further.