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places to see

Perfectly Picturesque: The Prettiest Destinations For Sightseers

The best thing about travel is being able to see new things. A different part of the world with different types of architecture, terrain and landscape, weather conditions and more. So if you want the type of vacation where you will be taking in the sights rather than just lying on a beach- you won’t be disappointed with any of the following locations.

The Lake District and The Peak District, UK

When most people picture the UK they think of dreary weather and busy London town. However, the UK is also full of amazing, natural beauty. The lake district in located in the north of England, it’s a mountainous region and offers some of the most stunning scenery in the country. From spectacular lakes to forests, rivers and mountains you’re sure to snap some fantastic photos. In the peak district, in central England, you can expect to see limestone valleys and stepping stones with lots of interesting terrain. As well as breathtaking views you can find out more with the various educational programs they run. There are all kinds of trails you can hike with varying levels of difficulty depending on your fitness. There are caverns, a reservoir and lots of historic buildings nearby that you could look into. Both destinations have quaint villages nearby that you could take a walk into and see what English life is all about.

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Noto Peninsula, Japan

If you want to see mountains, hot springs, stunning gardens, dramatic coastlines and gorgeous seaside villages then Noto Peninsula- a peninsula off the main island of Japan is definitely one to consider. If you look into Japan cycling tours you’ll see this is a popular destination as it’s so pretty. Visit in spring or autumn if you want warm, dry weather. The summer is hot and humid, and there’s often snowfall in the winter so it all depends on the kind of trip and weather backdrop you’re after.

The Arctic Region

The Arctic isn’t a country or destination within itself, it’s actually an area made up of parts of Alaska, Sweden, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Russia. The Arctic has varying levels of snow and ice cover throughout  the year, and provides incredible scenery since it’s one of the most unspoiled areas in the world. There are all kinds of wildlife which in the Arctic making it the perfect place to view different animal. Plus snow covered peaks, frozen bodies of water and ice everywhere really does look magical- a great place if you want to see some mind blowing views.

Florida, US

When you think of Florida you might think of Disney, built up areas jammed with tourist attractions. Which might be fun, but don’t really provide a whole lot of scenic viewing. However there’s so much more to the Sunshine State than being the home of Mickey. From stunning sandy coastlines to idyllic gardens in Miami, palm trees and the Florida Keys where you can watch or swim with wild dolphins. With the year round sunny weather it provides a gorgeous backdrop to the beaches, plantlife and rolling hills.

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Join the Let There Be Light £500 Blogger Photography Competition From Urban Cottage Industries

I am an aim and shoot kind of photographer in my family. My daughter and husband are the fancy shutterbugs who know how to use their D-SLR cameras. I just rely on my dependable iPhone camera to provide me the snaps I need for my blog posts. But, Urban Cottage Industries may give me a chance to improve my photography skills with their Let There Be Light Blogger Photography competition!

Since buying the accessories for a good camera is a hefty undertaking, winning this competition will surely help in acquiring them.

The #LetThereBeLight Blogger Photography Competition is from the generous Urban Cottage Industries and they are giving away £500 worth of vouchers of photography equipment from Amazon. That is one hefty price to be given to the lucky winner.  5 Runner ups will also get a price which is a nice personalized Moleskine Notebook.

Joining is simple but you do need to have your own blog.

Read the mechanics below and the full T&C here.

HOW TO ENTER

To enter the competition, publish your “Let There Be Light” blog post on your own blog containing two images – one showcasing natural light and one showcasing artificial light – including a follow link to http://www.urbancottageindustries.com/.

I am sure you will have plenty of photos to select from because of the recent holidays. Those will surely yield colorful, vivid, photos worthy to showcase in this fabulous competition. Of course, you can choose whatever photos you like as long as you follow the requirements.

All entries must be made via a blog post and submitted by 31 Jan. 2018.

Entrants via social media must tag @urbancottageind and use #LetThereBeLight in their post when linking to their blog post.

Once you are done with your blog post, notify them via email (urbancottageindustries@yoma.co.uk) and your email must must include a link to your post, your name, and email address.

Don’t forget to read the full terms and conditions I have included above before the mechanics so you’ll never go wrong.

 

And here is my entry for the competition.

For the natural light, I used this photo taken during our family outing last 29 December in Dubai Parks and Resort. I feel the view in the Riverland area is so calm and captures the natural sunlight we get in this part of the world year-long.

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For the artificial light, I am submitting this very Christmas-y water fountain with green hue in the same park before we headed home. It changed to several colors like blue, red, and this green which were all reminiscent of a fun Christmas. And not to mention, those Christmas lights hanging on the trees at the background made this photo more magical!

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Good luck!

 

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Places To See In Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey is a place rich in culture, art and history. There are so many places to see while in Istanbul. Some places are just around the city while the others are in the outskirts. Below is the list of places of interest in the beautiful city of Istanbul.

The Sultanahment Mosque or famously called Blue Mosque – It is called the Blue Mosque because of its  interior blue Iznik tiles.

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Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia – This beautiful church is adorned with magnificent frescoes and mosaic tiles which were covered in plaster when Turks conquered Istanbul and ordered the conversion of the church into a mosque.
Galata Tower – The tower is a prominent fixture in the Old Pera or Beyoglu District. It was used as an observatory tower to aid the Turkish defense during the 1300s. For the tourist, this tower offers an great 360 view of the Asian and European side of Istanbul.

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Obelisk Monument
at the Hippodrome

Hippodrome Square and the Obelisk – Chariot races took place in this square. Elections were done via chariot races in the Hippodrome during the Byzantium days. In one area of the Square stands the granite Obelisk carved in Egypt and brought in Istanbul around 1450 BC by the Byzantine emperor Theodosius.
Grand Bazaar – This is a vast shopper’s delight, housing more than 4,000 shops selling various goods from carpets to spices to wares. It is a big labyrinth of shops constructed in 1464 upon the order of Mehmed II.
Basilica Cistern – The underground water reservoir is right beneath the Stoa Basilica. It has 336 columns of either in Doric and Corinthian  style which hold the high ceiling.
Topkapi Palace – This place used to be the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire. The palace is situated between the Golden Horn and the Marmara sea of Istanbul and offers a great view of the Bosphorus.
Dolmahbace Palace – This extravagant palace is like a mini Versailles and has many French influences in its designs and interiors.

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Istiklal St. in Taksim

Istiklal Street in Taksim – This is a well-known pedestrian street is the melting pot of people of all walks of life. It is teeming with cafes, pubs/bars, restaurants, movie theaters and shops and has a tram running in the middle of the quaint street. St. Anthony Church (a Catholic church) is also located along this street.
Museums – Rahmi M. Koc Museum, Istanbul Modern Museum, Kariye Musem, to name a few.

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Experience The Wild Side Of North Carolina

From the Appalachian mountains in the west to the rugged coastline of the east, North Carolina is a state of extremes and well worth exploring. Whichever season that you choose to visit, North Carolina will provide you with the most stunning vistas. The active holidaymaker has a wealth of options at their disposal including hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding or deep sea fishing to name but a few. If you’re after a vacation that will see you experiencing the joys of nature, take a look at these ideas that will get you experiencing the wild side of North Carolina.

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Walking Is The Best Mode Of Transport

There is no better way to experience the clean, fresh air of this southern state than to walk. Not only does this save you money but you get to venture into areas that are inaccessible by vehicle. Some of the hikes aren’t for faint hearted. You’ll need a solid pair of walking boots and an above average level of fitness to complete some of the challenging trails. Make sure you do your research beforehand and choose the walk that is right for you.

Embark on a hike within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and you’ll venture through oak forests with an abundance of flora and fauna. You’ll have the chance to spot wildlife native to the area, and at the end of your hike, you’ll be rewarded with the most incredible view of Blue Ridge Parkway waterfalls.

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Ocean Air

If the sea scented air is more your style, you could choose to hoist yourself up onto your trusty stallion and, depending on your level of skill, take a gentle wander down the beach or a thrill inducing gallop along the sand. There can’t be many life experiences that are more romantic than sunset horse ride along the coast.

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City Life

Although you’re keen to experience the lush forests, the historic national parks, and the striking mountain ranges, you need to think about where you will be basing yourself. For some of your vacation, it’s wise to think about resting your weary bones at a Comfort Inn based in town. This way, you’ll have a range of useful amenities on your doorstep and won’t be stuck for supplies, as well as being able to venture out into the wilds.

Don’t forget, within the more populated areas there are still some awesome sites of natural beauty. Airlie Gardens consists of a peaceful lake, giant oaks and seemingly neverending acres of relaxing walking opportunities. If you’re after something a little more laid back while still being outdoors, it’s a good idea to check out the green spaces that the town and cities have to offer.

 

So forget the lure of NYC and opt for the more adventurous NC to get your fix of the outdoor lifestyle. Pack your waterproofs, hiking boots, and rugged camera and start planning your trip to the beautiful state of North Carolina.

 

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Southern Texas Hidden Beauty Spots

Texas conjures up many stereotypical images such as cowboys and cattle ranches.  Texas has some truly hidden beauty spots across the state. When thinking of Texas you don’t think of sandy beaches, however, the south of Texas have warm temperatures allowing plenty of outdoor activity opportunities. The best way to travel along the southern coast is region to region spotting the natural beauty of Texas. South Texas lies roughly south of San Antonio and to the east of the Gulf Of Mexico.

With it’s gorgeous in climate weather and beautiful beaches.South Padre Island is a major beauty spot of Southern Texas, the unspoiled beaches at Isla Blanca Park are a mile long and a rarity on the island. The sands are crisp white and the waters are pure blue something that looks featured in a holiday brochure.  If you’re a big camper the preserve is best to pitch a tent for the night.

 

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Rio Grande Valley region is idealistic for outdoor enthusiasts. Falcon Lake is classed as one of the best lakes in the country. Fishing is a hot spot around the lake, the guarantee of a catch is imminent with catfish and bass inhabiting the lake.

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Big Bend National Park is a must see, just over 800 thousand acres one of the biggest parks in the US. For a quieter serene trail explore the winding valley. This wonderful trail separates the US and Mexico. Surrounded by rivers and 1,000ft cliffs. The water can be 2ft deep in shallow waters able to paddle.

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Get the most out of your trip,is important, highlighting why it’s best to prioritize the must sees of any trip and to make the most. Planning on where to go and figuring out if you wish to go region to region or stay in one particular place. Research what  type of trip you wish to take be it natural or full on with outdoor activities,

Finding the perfect place to rest on your travels is easy, Fiesta Inn Hotel in McAllen,Texas offer up plenty of things to see and do in the local area for you to explore and discover. Located nearby is plenty of culture and history. This part of your trip visits the International Museum Of Art and Science a large collection of Mexican arts and crafts in the country.

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San Antonio is a natural hot spot, perfect for nature lovers. Full of unspoiled natural beauty the attraction is popular for the Spanish colonial building which is full of history too. The area is gorgeous and built up of four areas; Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada. At the end of this gorgeous wonder is the San Antonio National Historical Park.

One of the most popular outdoor activities for visiting tourists is Birding. The warm weather has brought in a vast amount of species other the recent years. Birding facilities have now opened up plenty of centers to educate visitors on the species.Rio Grande Valley has the world birding center which homes wildlife refuges as well as nature trails.

When visiting Southern Texas enjoy the warm weather when exploring and making new memories. A host of exciting adventures awaits whether it’s exploring new activities to try or relaxing on a beach break. Southern Texas is a must see for travelers.

 

 

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Adventure: That’s The Real Reason Idaho Is Called The Gem State

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We have a fascination with the nicknames given to the US states; so much so, we recently took off to Idaho simply because of its moniker. We just did it. We packed the car and went on a backpacking whim. It wasn’t until we got there that we found out different people believe different things. Some say it was a translation that means Gem of the Mountain, others say it is to do with the native gemstone garnet, and some say it is simply because this state is spoiled with natural beauty. We couldn’t argue with any of them.

But whatever the origins of its name, one thing we realized very quickly was, wow, does that place deserve its name. Summertime in Idaho is amazing. There are just so many adventures to be had in Idaho, and here are the best of the bunch:

Jump Creek Hike

When we get to a place, we love to ask the locals what they recommend. Forget Tripadvisor or seeing what a place looks like first, we just love asking locals for their number one must-do Idaho activity, and so many people said hike Jump Creek in Marsing. We don’t want to give too much away, but there is a secluded waterfall and it is beautiful. That’s all we’ll say, though.

Payette River Adventure

Everyone has a little streak of adventure in them, somewhere, and what better way to let that beast out then to get wet and wild on the Payette River. The whitewater rafting here is immense. It’s so exciting. The adrenaline rush, the sun, the splashes of cool water, the banks and banks of pine trees and mountain views. Yeah, it’s an absolute must do.

Swim At Sandy Point

It’s summer. Nothing beats hanging out by the water with your friends and family in the summer, and that is what makes the Sandpoint City Beach Park one of the most awesome places anywhere. You step out of the Best Western Edgewater Resort and bam! you’re hit with these magnificent views down Lake Pend Oreille. Swimming, boating, volleyball, lounging in the sun, tennis, a stroll downtown; it’s all at your fingertips.

Shoshone Falls

We mentioned it earlier, how the Gem State got its name from its natural beauty. Well, the Shoshone Falls give credence to that myth. It’s almost 50 feet higher than Niagara Falls and it is breathtaking. It’s that tonic for tired eyes that everyone needs to see. The sounds of the crashing water, the rock formations, the sheer size. If this sounds like your thing, then you need to get to Twin Falls this summer.

A Fair Like No Other

Apparently, in Idaho, the Western Idaho Fair is like the last hurrah of the summer that everyone gets involved with. It’s that last bit of fun before school starts again. However, when we say fair, what we mean is a party like no other. It’s as if the 1950s has returned, bringing all the fairground rides and rock n’ roll spirit along with it. You won’t believe it until you see it with your own two eyes, stamp along with the music all night and wake up the next day still smiling.

 

 

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The Beautiful Canals in Amsterdam

I am in love with Amsterdam! I used to say that about Paris but when I saw the beauty of Amsterdam last year, I have been in awe.

I have always dreamt of visiting The Netherlands even when I was a young kid. I think I was only 5 years old when I made my bucket list of places to visit. Of course, that piece of paper where all this “wanderlust” nature started has been long gone, in my heart and soul, I know what they are.

Visiting Amsterdam last year for my birthday was something I have only dreamt about. So, you can imagine my amazement when I actually saw the canals in the beautiful city of Amsterdam in person. My friend and I were both awe-struck, to say the least. All we could utter was, “so pretty!” And yes they are!

Do you know why The Netherlands has plenty of canals? The country is below sea level. They need a robust irrigation system to divert the water out of the country through the canals to prevent flooding. The canals have been around since 17th century.  In Amsterdam, the canals reaches more than a hundred kilometres when combined and they are now used as ways to travel.

A view of the flower market in Amstel

This is near the Amsterdam Central Station

One of the beautiful canals in Amsterdam

This is near Hotel The Bird where we stayed in Amstel. 

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