Guest Posts

Sanzhi, Taiwan: Taiwan’s Beautiful North Coast City District

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Destinations, Guest Posts, Sanzhi, Small Town Explorer | 1 comment

Sanzhi, Taiwan

Sanzhi, Taiwan’s Beautiful North Coast City District, written by my friend and travel blogger Joy Harmon, is the second small town expose in the series  Small Town Explorer.  The villages and towns we visit in our travels are often the hidden gems of a country or region. Readers will be introduced to small centers around the globe, featuring their uniqueness, their history, what to see and do, and where to stay and where to dine. Come along as Joy introduces us to the charms of Sanzhi, Taiwan.

If you missed the first post in the Small Town Explore series you can find it here.

Get on the bus! Come on! Get off the Metro here. This is Danshui the last Metro stop on the north end of this island country. Turn right out the gate, run, run down to the bus line and get on next bus going along the north coast route.  Just in time! Now you can relax and enjoy the scenery. As you leave Danshui and head northeast along the coast, entering the Sanzhi district, the landscape becomes gradually more rugged. The town itself is some miles away, but you’ll know you’re in the Sanzhi district when you can see the ocean.

At first, everything looks abandoned, There’s an old American country western bar that just didn’t make the grade on the right, but it’s funny to see that cowboy sign in Taiwan. And just past there is my favorite, a chicken restaurant that has the ducks in the side yard. I’ve never seen a live chicken there!

We’re getting closer to the ocean, it’s just around this last turn and down hill. Why is the traffic so slow? It looks like there is nothing much here. It’s a weekend or a holiday and cars are lined up at least a quarter mile from the first seaside restaurant. What’s so special about this place? It is the first restaurant on the beach side of the highway, Sugar Villa. It’s Italian food and it’s good, but that’s not it. It is the special ambiance. Let’s get off and see! The restaurant, itself spreads out along the beach side with wide glass doors and windows facing the shore. The deck extends out over the sand on both sides and every table, both inside and out has a full view of the sea. There is a nice beach with a launch for the jet skis for rent. So, you can play hard and eat much. Or you can just sit back and enjoy watching the water sports. To top it off, the service is always prompt and friendly.

Taiwan dating tip: This spot is a popular getaway for Taipei residents on weekend afternoons. But it’s equally popular in the evening. One evening when I was here with a Taiwanese friend, we watched while a small group of young guys set up candles on the beach.

Sanzhi, Taiwan

A romantic evening near Qianshuiwan Beach Park

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A Couple of Differences Between Asia and Poland

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in Destinations, Guest Posts, Poland, Travel Tips | 8 comments

From Asia to Poland: A Couple of Differences (and a Few Similarities)

Say hi to Agness and Cez – best friends and the creators of eTramping who have been traveling the world since 2011 visiting over 50 countries including mysterious North Korea. Originally hailing from Poland, these two simply love intense and unique travels full of adventures and spontaneous decisions that usually take them to discover places not everyone has a chance to visit. Follow their journeys on Instagram, Pepo, and Facebook to get insider tips and tricks on how to explore the world like pros.

 

Zagan City

Zagan City

If you follow us on Pepo, you know that recently, we’ve made the move from Asia to Poland, where we’re going to spend a while settling down before we head out on our next big adventure. It’s great being back, and Gdańsk is a brilliant place to be, but we’ve started to notice a lot of differences between the two places. We thought it might be a good idea to let you know. So, without further ado, here are some differences between Asia and Poland (and a couple of similarities).

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10 Free (or very cheap) Things to do in Bruges, Belgium

Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Bruges, Destinations, Featured, Guest Posts | 11 comments

 Have you ever thought of visiting the Flemish city of Bruges, Belgium? Today’s guest poster, Emma, shares with us her tips on how to see Bruges on the cheap, including some great shots of this pretty, ancient city. You can find Emma at Inspiring Travel.

Bruges might not be the first location which springs to mind when you think of budget travel, but this doesn’t mean it costs the earth to visit. The Flemish city is one of Belgium’s most picturesque spots so here are some ideas for some free, or at least very cheap, things to do in Bruges.

1. Take a boat ride. This is the scenic way to explore Bruges’ beautiful canals. Although unfortunately not free, a boat ride will only set you back about 6 Euros for half an hour.

 

Bruges 02

 

2. Free guided tour. This can be a great way to start your visit so you can get a feel for Bruges and any places you may wish to go back to. Although many of the tours are free it is customary to make a contribution at the end of the tour if you feel your guide has done a particularly good job.

 

Bruges 01

 

3. Clock tower from the film. If you’ve ever seen the film ‘In Bruges’ then you can have fun discovering all the famous locations from the film. Check out the clock tower where Ray insulted a fat American lady.

4. Basilica of the Holy Blood. Originally built in the 12th century, the basilica houses a highly coveted fragment of cloth which is said to be stained with the blood of Christ. You can enter the basilica for free or visit the museum for €1.

5. Church of our Lady. The Church of our Lady is the tallest structure in Bruges and houses a white marble sculpture by the one and only Michelangelo. The sculpture depicts the Madonna and Child and is one of the most treasured items in the Church. You can enter the church for a donation of a couple of Euros.

 

Bruges 05

 

6. Memling Museum and St John’s Hospital

St John’s Hospital is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe. The admission fee is around €8 which includes the old infirmary, pharmacy and museum. If you enjoy visiting museums you can invest in a Bruges City Card, which for a one-time price, will give you access to all of Bruges’ museums.

7. Get lost! The simplest way to enjoy Bruges for free is to forget the map and just have a wander. You’ll notice that many of the buildings have stepped roofs – traditionally the more steps the building had the richer the owner.

 

Bruges 04

 

8. Parks. There are plenty of parks in Bruges where you can relax and enjoy a picnic or a sunbathe. Koningin Astrid Park is a good choice and features a small lake and an impressive blue and gold bandstand.

9. Climb the Belfry tower in the market square. Climb the 366 steps of steep and narrow ascent and the views will definitely be worth it.

 10. Market square. The market square has bustling atmosphere and every Wednesday you’ll find a traditional market where you can pick up some handmade and local produce.

 

Bruges 03

 

Needless to say, you won’t be stuck for things to do if you decide to visit this beautiful city. It’s easy just to lose yourself in the narrow streets and fantastic architecture without having to part with huge amounts of your spending money.

 

Bio: Emma is a 22 year old travel blogger who loves to write and take photographs. She hopes to inspire people to get away and see the world and she shares her own experiences and travel tips on her website www.inspiring-travel.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @Emma_090391.

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Eat China

Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in China, Destinations, Featured, Guest Posts | 7 comments

Today’s guest post comes from Agness. A wanderer, who travels the globe on less than $25.00 a day, Agness  is a perfect mascot for all of us budget travelers out there. WARNING…I don’t recommend viewing this post on an empty stomach! 🙂

SONY DSCAgness is a Polish vagabond who, after graduation, left her comfort zone and set off for a journey of her lifetime to China in 2011. She has been constantly travelling the world since then (slowly, but surely as she says), living like a local for less than $25 a day. She became a photography passionate and adventure blogger sharing her life enthusiasm and travel experience with everyone around. You can find Agness on the web : http://etramping.com; https://twitter.com/Agnesstramp; http://facebook.com/etramping.

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Unique taste, a lot of vegetables and deep-fried meat and noodles, yet full of flavors and extremely nutritious – these are only a few features of Chinese cuisine, one of the oldest in the world.
Chinese believe that the food influences their minds so Chinese cuisine is often considered as one of the healthiest. Over the centuries, China has been experimenting with food a lot adding new herbs and spices. They’ve managed to create mouth-watering collection of recipes.

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The creation of the Chinese dishes are based on the four fundamental flavors: sweet, bitter, salty and sour. It is important to maintain a balance between them. The compositions of flavors, their proportions may vary depending on the region where the dish is prepared. The most popular cuisines are those coming from: Sichuan, Shanghai, Cantonese and Beijing. However, less is known Guzihou kitchens of the province, Tibetan, Uighur and Hakka.
In Chinese dishes we can find large quantities of meat such as beef, pork, snails, snakes, chicken. The cooking time is quite short, to preserve the natural taste of food.
Chinese dishes can be also very gentle and sweet. Many dishes, especially sauces are seasoned with sugar, so often appears in the kitchen sweet-sour flavor, for example pork in sweet and sour sauce.

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There are a few Chinese meals you must try when visiting China. One of them is world famous Peking Duck. It is quite time-consuming to prepare, and the most delicious part of it is great crispy crust, which is obtained in the many hours of baking. The characteristic method is a method of cooking frying without fat fast, thanks to the meat fried with other vegetables becomes brittle, and gaining additional dish distinctive smoky flavor. Another Chinese dish you cannot miss is Chinese dumplings (baozi) with various fillings. They are steamed or fried. They are usually stuffed with pork, beef and vegetables, and in addition provides a variety of Asian sauces such as soy-based sauce, chili, vinegar and sesame oil.

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Each region apparently has its own traditions of cooking and seasoning food. However, regardless of any differences, all of these kitchens combines passion for harmony of taste, aroma, color and texture of food. Due to the low tolerance of dairy products, the Chinese focus on the four major food groups for him: grains, vegetables, fruits and meat.

 

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Thanks for this delicious post, Agness!

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If you have a moment, please follow BTS on Facebook.

 

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Guest Post : Los Angeles: A Travel Photo Essay

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in Guest Posts, Los Angeles, United States | 8 comments

Today’s guest post photo essay : Los Angeles is from Sofie, who blogs over at Wonderful Wanderings. Thank you, Sofie!

 

Last September I took a friend to Los Angeles. We’d planned twelve days in the country and when those were over, neither of us wanted to return home and we both swore we’d be back. We’d had such an amazing time! During those twelve days we tried to see and do as much as possible, without rushing everything. I think we’ve managed that pretty well, and I’d like to take you along some of the places we’ve visited.

Ready?

Let’s go!

Santa Monica

We spent an entire day in Santa Monica and absolutely loved it: the shopping, the beach, the great pancake restaurant where we had lunch… And of course I also had to get a picture of probably one of the most photographed buildings in Santa Monica:

The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., known from the movie Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks. It’s now a bar and souvenir shop.

 

Bubba Gump Schrimp Co

 

When we got to Santa Monica in the morning, the peer was almost empty. Not so anymore in the afternoon!

 

Santa Monica peer

 

A view on Santa Monica from the peer.

 

view on Santa Monica

 

Venice

We also went to Santa Monica’s neighbor: Venice beach. Although those two places are right next to each other, they’re totally different. We experienced Venice as a town of contrasts: the pricy shops on Abbot Kinney vs the souvenir stalls by the beach and the (sometimes rather shabby looking) street artists.

Street artist playing the piano.

 

 

Street artist in Venice

 

My friend at the Venice Canals, a peaceful area with luxurious houses.

 

At Venice Canals

 

Beverly Hills

We didn’t spend all our time in the beach areas, though. One of the real touristy things we did was take a stroll through the Beverly Hills shopping area (Rodeo Drive!). We made it into a game trying to guess who of the people we saw on the streets ‘belonged there’ (as in: regularly went shopping there) and who of them were tourists.

 

A friend of mine who’d been to LA a few weeks before had seen this same Bugatti Veyron parked there as well. Someone showing off?’

 

Bugatti Veyron in Beverly Hills

 

Runyon Canyon

From all-city Beverly Hills to the green and mountainous Runyon Canyon Park. We came here in the morning and it was already blazing hot. We couldn’t believe people were actually running up and down the steep roads. Respect! You do have to have a car to get all the way up to the park, but the views are definitely worth the drive:

View from Runyon Canyon

 

View from Runyon Canyon

 

Hollywood

And last but not least I want to take you to the area Los Angeles is probably best known for: Hollywood and its Walk of Fame.

 

How many times do you think this star on the Walk of Fame has been photographed already?

 

MJ Walk of Fame

 

This is the only time during our trip that we had to rush a bit, so we didn’t go into any of the many museums like Madame Tussauds or Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

But hey, no problem because… I’ll be back?

 

Author info…

Sofie is a travel blogger, food fan and dance aficionado. She’s a language lover lusting life, exploring the world and writing about it on her blog http://www.wonderfulwanderings.com. You can also find her on twitter (https://twitter.com/WondWand).

 

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Hiking in Kananaskis; Alberta, Canada

Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Canada, Guest Posts, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Today’s guest post is from fellow Canadian Greg Lynch. Greg  is the author of Scenic Travel Canada, a website for travelers looking for lesser-known Canadian attractions and adventures.

 

Kananskis, Alberta, Canada

Tucked in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada, are a collection of provincial parks that few international hikers ever experience. Kananaskis Country is an uncrowded wilderness area one hour west of Calgary, the gateway to the Canadian Rockies. Adventure-seekers looking for a lesser known mountain paradise can get their high-altitude thrills in Alberta’s unspoiled backyard.

“Millions of visitors unwittingly pass K-Country on their way to the more popular Banff National Park” says Greg Lynch, an avid hiker & adventure seeker with Scenic Travel Canada. “Outdoor-lovers can hike, bike, kayak and canoe over hundreds of miles in undeveloped territory in the Front Range.”

There are plenty of things to do in Kananaskis Country, Alberta including:

  • Take a road trip from Calgary on the highest paved highway in Canada. Highway 40 is open from June 15 to December 1 and winds through the pristine wilderness along the Highwood Pass. From your vehicle, you’ll get mile panoramic views of snowy peaks and endless valleys.
  • In spring, prior to the opening of Highway 40 to traffic, many cyclists enjoy the open road all to themselves as they ride 95 kilometers from end-to-end. The best time to go is one month prior to opening (June 15). Any earlier, the road is still covered with snow.
  • Take a mountain bike excursion to the Alberta-BC border. Carnarvon Lake is a small turquoise lake along the Continental Divide. You’ll follow an old logging road, ford rivers, scale a rock-wall and even take a chilly dip in the cold, colourful water.
  • Saunter around Upper & Lower Kananaskis Lake and enjoy a classic Canadian mountain scene. A small boat launch is available for anglers, kayakers & canoeists. Hiking trails wind around the shore and deep into the surrounding canyons. You may recognize this picturesque location from movies such as X-Men & Brokeback Mountain.
  • Slow down and enjoy a picnic at one of the many family recreation sites such as the Mount Lorette Picnic area. The green-water ponds are stocked with fish to introduce little anglers to the solitude & thrill of fishing.
  • Take a bike tour around the only hotel in the area, which hosted the G8 summit meeting of world leaders in 2003. Paved trails wind through thick forests and along the immaculate Kananaskis River.
      There are lots of mountain adventures for thrill-seekers just outside of Calgary and Banff, Alberta.. On your next trip to the Canadian Rockies, head off the beaten path and enjoy the undeveloped and wild places of Kananaskis Country.
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