Hotel and Shopping Tips to Enhance your Luxury Travel Experience in Italy

Italy is consistently in the top five luxury travel destinations for American Express Vacation clients. Italy is full of history, beginning with the ancient Roman Empire, to the rise of the Vatican, to the Italian renaissance. Traveling to Italy requires certain tips to make your luxury travel vacation enjoyable, and hassle-free.

Hotel Tips

Though traveling to Italy is quite safe. However, it’s advisable and useful to gather some basic Italy travel tips. There are hundreds of small luxury hotels of the world and the cities of Italy have plenty to choose from. Some Italian hotels, and nearly all hotels in Rome, have at least one staff member who speaks English. Search out this person to ask for additional tips, such as great dining spots, local sights, public transportation and shopping areas. Staying in touch with family and friends can be expensive in Italy, especially if you call from your hotel. Keep in mind that American cell phones will not work without special international services or devices. And since hotels tend to overcharge for long-distance and international calls, it is best to make such calls from public phones, using international calling cards. Staying in a luxury hotel is quite fun, but if you have already been there and done that, it’s never too late to consider a luxury world cruise!

Shopping Tips

One big draw for Italian tourists on a luxury travel vacation is the shopping tour. Consider booking one of these guided tours, instead of charging off on your own. These shopping tours offer travelers a more comfortable way to shop ’til you drop. Most of these tours include transportation to several different shopping districts and stores. Your guide will speak both English and Italian, in order to mediate your shopping experience. Yes, your major credit cards, such as American Express, Visa and Master Card, will work. But keep in mind that most American credit cards will charge a hefty currency fee, and use the most unattractive exchange rates. The best way to be safe and save money would be to use a combination of Euro Travelers Checks, Euros in cash and a credit card. Pick Pocketing can be an unfortunate reality of modern travel, so spreading the type of money you carry is the best choice.

Most stores and shops in Italy have operating hours that can be considered different, at least in comparison to what is expected in the United States. Normally, most Italian shops are open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stores are usually closed between 1 and 3:30 p.m., to allow employees a chance to have a family lunch. Stores usually reopen around 3:30 or 4 p.m., and finally close around 7:30 to 8 p.m. In large cities and tourist areas, there is a tendency to stay open from 9.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., with possible variations from town to town. Keep in mind that shopping etiquette in Italy is much different than in the United States. When shopping for clothing, take note that many stores will not allow shoppers to try on shirts and blouses. Also, there is a size discrepancy, so make sure that an attendant measures your body before you purchase. It is also customary to tip attendants if they are personally assisting you with fittings and selection. Whether shopping or relaxing in a small luxury hotel, a customary tip can go a long way!

Your accommodations are often considered one of the most important parts of your luxury travel vacation, so use these tips to make the most of your upscale hotel stay. When you use these American Express Tour tips to experience the best of small luxury hotels and high class shopping, you can enjoy yourself with no strings attached!

Beautiful Barcelona – Easy Travel Guide

Beautiful city of Barcelona, capital of Catalonia (a Spain’s province), is situated on on the shore of the Mediterranean sea and bordered at either end by 2 river deltas. Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after its capital city Madrid. Barcelona has a population of 1.5 million, over 4 million including suburbs. The varied, eventful history of the city dates back 4,000 years to the first settlements by ancient farmers. Later it became a Roman colony, the Visigoth’s capital city, then it came under Moorish rule. It went through sieges, destructions and occupations, finally to become an autonomous democracy 1975. The city has always played an important role in political and cultural life of Spain and it is well reflected in the variety and quality of historical buildings, museums, many other tourist attractions. Today Barcelona is one of the most diverse european cities with unique culture and rich traditions. You can find here a formidable balance of the traditional things and the avant-garde. A cosmopolitan metropolis, Barcelona affords visitors a warm and sincere welcome, being aknowledged worldwide as one of the best tourist-friendly cities in Europe.Barcelona’s organisation of the 1992 Olympics provided regeneration of this dynamic city, gave a fresh start to its infrastructure development.

WHAT TO SEE AND WHERE:

POINTS OF INTEREST – La Rambla is a tree-lined pedestrian boulevard packed with buskers, living statues, mimes and itinerant salespeople selling everything from lottery tickets to jewellery. Pavement cafes and stands selling craftwork, street performers surrounded by curious onlookers, a noisy bird market, Palau de la Virreina, a grand 18th-century rococo mansion, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the famous 19th-century opera house- these are all colourful parts of La Rambla’s mosaic. La Rambla ends at the lofty Monument a Colom (Monument to Columbus) and the harbour.

Barri Gotic – also known as Gothic Quarter, it is the old part of the city. Picasso lived and worked in Barri Gotic from 1895 to 1904 and Joan Miro was born and lived here during his youth. Gothic Quarter is situated on the right hand side of the La Rambla, it contains a concentration of medieval tall Gothic buildings (14-15th century) on narrow cobbled streets and now is home to much of the city’s nightlife.

La Sagrada Familia – La Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous and magnificent among Barcelona’s landmarks. The life’s work of Barcelona’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi, the magnificent spires of the unfinished cathedral imprint themselves boldly against the sky with swelling outlines inspired by the holy mountain Montserrat. Above each facade there are four towers, 12 in total, which are dedicated to the Apostles. The tower in the center, the tallest of all at 170 m., is dedicated to Jesus Christ. Around these there are the towers of the four Evangelists, and the tower over the apse is dedicated to the Virgin. They are encrusted with a tangle of sculptures that seem to breathe life into the stone. Gaudi died in 1926 before his masterwork was completed, and since then, controversy has continually dogged the building program. Nevertheless, the southwestern (Passion) facade, is almost done, and the nave, begun in 1978, is progressing.

La Pedrera – Casa Mila (Mila House) is an apartment building, the last example of Gaudi’s civil architecture.It is one of his finest and most ambitious creations, extraordinarily innovative in its functional, constructive, and ornamental aspects. Visitors can tour the building and go up to the roof, where they can see spectacular views of Barcelona. One floor below the roof is a modest museum dedicated to Gaudi’s work.
Montjuic – the largest open space in the city, its main attractions are the Olympic installations, the Spanish Village and the hilltop fortress. Montjuic, the hill overlooking the city centre from the southwest, is home to some fine art galleries, leisure attractions, soothing parks and the main group of 1992 Olympic sites. Montjuic is covered in ornamental gardens with water features and is the most popular destination in Barcelona on Sundays.

Tibidabo – is the highest hill in the wooded range that forms the backdrop to Barcelona. It has amazing views of the whole of Barcelona, a stunning cathedral, and a family fun park Parc d’Atraccions with old-style rides offering breathtaking views. A glass lift at the park goes 115m (383 ft) up to a visitors’ observation area at Torre de Collserola telecommunications tower.

Modernisme – spectacular modernista architectural creations dotted around the city by famous Antoni Gaudi and his contemporaries.

Camp Nou – home of F.C. Barcelona, one of Europe’s leading soccer teams, with capacity of almost 100,000 spectators.

The Seu Cathedral – Built in medieval times on the site of a Roman temple, La Seu is one of the great Gothic buildings in Spain.

Parc de la Ciutadella – Barcelona’s favourite park and a Sunday afternoon rendezvous for families, friends and ducks

The Sardana – traditional Catalan dance, performed outside the cathedral and at national festivals, with everyone encouraged to join in.

MUSEUMS – The Barbier-Mueller Museum of Pre-Columbian Art -the only museum in Europe devoted exclusively to Pre-Columbian cultures. Housed in a gothic palace, its collection is one of the finest of its kind and gives visitors an insight into the rich world of the earliest cultures on the American continent. This tiny museum contains one hundred pieces, including wood and stone sculptures, ceramics, tapestries, jade, often found in international exhibitions and prestige publications. The exhibits represented the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Chavin, Mochica and Inca civilisations.

Palau de la Musica Catalana – one of the world’s most extraordinary music halls, it is a Barcelona landmark. From its polychrome ceramic ticket windows on the Carrer de Sant Pere Mes Alt side to its overhead busts of Palestrina, Bach, Beethoven, and Wagner, the Palau is the flagship of Barcelona’s Moderniste architecture.

Museu Picasso – is Barcelona’s most visited museum. 3,500 exhibits make up the permanent collection. Picasso spent several years (1901-06) in Barcelona, and this collection, is particularly strong on his early work. Displays include childhood sketches, pictures from the beautiful Rose and Blue periods, and the famous 1950s Cubist variations on Velazquez’s Las Meninas (Ladies-in-Waiting).

Gaudi Casa-Museu – Gaudi lived in this pink, Alice-in-Wonderland house from 1906 to 1926, which now houses a museum of Gaudi-designed furniture, decorations, drawings, and portraits and busts of the architect.
Fundacio Miro – it was a gift from the famous artist Joan Miro to his native city. The museum opened in 1975, and now it is one of Barcelona’s most exciting showcases of contemporary art.

BEACHES – One of Barcelona’s greatest draws is undeniably its beautiful beaches. Beside world-famous Costa Brava and Costa Dorada which are within 1-hr drive time from Barcelona, there are also several nice beaches over 4 km long within the city boundaries, we will list just several of them here: Nova Icaria- Closest to the Olympic marina, always crowded, this wide swathe of rough golden sand is great for food goers. There are three perfect beach bars and two very popular restaurants on the promenade (Mango and Chiringuito de Moncho) and countless bars and restaurants are just a short stroll away. Bogatell- This beach is twice the length of adjoining Nova Icaria and fringed by a stretch of stone walkway perfect for jogging, roller blading and cycling. Three large informal restaurants on the promenade. Mar Bella (Metro Ciutadella Vila Olimpica, plus 20-minute walk)- Barcelona’s only naturist beach close to a peaceful park – good for a picnic or siesta under the trees. Barceloneta- wide and long, a traditional and popular stretch with locals, crowded, noisy and very jolly.

WHEN TO GO, WEATHER: The best times to visit Barcelona are late spring and early autumn, when the weather is still comfortably warm, around 21-25°C. Summers are usually hot and humid, with temperatures averaging +30 (+ 86 Fahrenheit). Especially avoid the “dead” month of August, when many shops, bars and restaurants close for the month as many local inhabitants head out of the city. Winters are cool with average daytime temperatures around +12 C (+59 Fahrenheit), occasionally rainy.

GETTING THERE AND AROUND: By a direct flight to Barcelona, or through Madrid or via another large European city from almost any major airports in the world. The highest fares are from May to September, the lowest in March-April, October-November and December to February (excluding Christmas and New Year when prices are hiked up). Note also that flying on weekends may increase your ticket cost. If traveling to Barcelona from within Europe you can also chose train, bus or car, though these take much longer than a plane and often work out no cheaper. Many Mediterranean cruises include Barcelona as a port of call.

ACCOMODATIONS: We can offer you a range of choices. You can choose vacation rentals in Barcelona starting from $ 125 USD for a double room in a 4-star apartment hotel. Or you can opt for hotels from $ 65 USD for a double room in a 3-star hotel. Accomodation prices do not change much throughout the year due to the steady all-season flow of visitors to this extremely popular tourist city and surrounding resorts.

DINING: Besides restaurants you can eat at bars where you would have a succession of tapas (small snacks- three or four chunks of fish, meat or vegetables, or salad, which traditionally used to be served up free with a drink) or raciones (larger ones). The bar option can be a lot more interesting, allowing you to do the rounds and sample local specialities. Generally, the average cost for a meal consisting of two dishes and dessert would come to about 25 Euros. Travellers on an extremely limited budget can do well for themselves by using the excellent markets, bakeries and delis and filling up on sandwiches and snacks. Decent restaurants and cafes are easily found all over the city, though you’ll probably do most of your eating where you do most of your sightseeing, in the old town, particularly around La Rambla and in the Barri Gotic. Look for the best and most authentic seafood restaurants in Barceloneta, a seaside neighbourhood. Gothic Quarter neighbourhood is home to some of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in the city. Gracia is a very popular area among young people during the weekend, it leads the way in terms of exotic restaurants (Lebanese, Egyptian, Thai etc.).

TRANSPORT: Barcelona has excellent transport system comprising the metro (subway), buses, trains and a network of funiculars and cable cars. You can find a link to transport maps at the end of our guide. On all the city’s public transport you can buy a single ticket every time you ride, but even over only a couple of days it’s cheaper to buy a targeta – a discount ticket strip. The T-10 targeta is valid for ten separate journeys on the metro, buses and trains. These tickets can be used by more than one person at a time. The metro is the quickest way of getting around Barcelona. For black-and-yellow taxis there is a minimum charge of $ 2 euro. You’ll obviously have a great deal more freedom if you rent a car . Major roads throughout the city are generally good, and traffic is generally well behaved, though Spain does have one of the highest incidences of traffic accidents in Europe. It also has some of the lowest fuel prices on the continent.

SHOPPING: Barcelona, one of the most stylish cities in Europe offers great shopping, from designer clothes and accessories to household items. You will find the city to be quite cheap for a lot of items, especially if you coincide with the annual sales ( rebaixes in Spanish) lasting from mid-January until the end of February, and throughout July and August. The best shopping areas in Barcelona are the old streets off the upper part of the Ramblas. Souvenirs include ceramics, which are widely sold in the streets around the cathedral; leather goods; city’s delicatessens, particularly cooked Catalan meats and sausages; a porron (the long-spouted glass drinking jar); CDs and tapes of Catalan rock and pop, sardana music, Spanish rock or flamenco. If you’re looking for original gift ideas, some of the best hunting can be found in the shops of any of the city’s museums, where you’ll find reasonably priced and unique examples of Catalan disseny (graphic), and other original items ranging from postcards to replica works of art.

Budget Euro Travel – What is Behind the Offer?

When you are planning a budget Euro trip to attractive countries of Europe like England and Paris, you would be conscious to know what there is in the offer and why is it being offered at low cost? The tourism authorities of these countries have made air fares, accommodation and transportation more affordable to promote the sites of their countries. The result is in the form of an increased number of visitors.

England is the first choice of most of the visitors when they plan a budget Euro Trip. And no one will like to miss the opportunity if offered a low budget visit to England with covering majority of tourist sites. It would be a great experience for the visitors if they could see the one of the tallest wheels of the world the “London Eye” with such a low budget Europe travel. The height of London eye is 135 meters above London and it is located along the river Thames. The London tower is another thing worth seeing when you visit England. With a history of 900 years has something special to be visited in the last 10 days of December for the celebrations of Christmas and New Year. A factor that you should not under estimate with your budget Euro travel is food price in London. You should have proper awareness about the food price in London otherwise you will mess-up your budget Euro travel.

Most of the people, who like to travel, would have dreams to visit Paris. It is possible for them to explore the beauty of Paris. Each and every corner is worth seeing in Paris but the Louvre is the best option to start with. Some of the world’s unique paintings and monuments are possessed by Louvre. It cannot be considered to be completed without visiting Notre Dame Cathedral. You cannot miss to talk about the great Eiffel tower which comes into your mind first as you think or talk about Paris.

Valencia is another famous tourists’ destination is worth seeing with budget Euro travel. Almost all types of fun activities are present in one of the most beautiful city of Spain. If you are planning a budget Euro travel, Valencia is one of the cities you should not miss to include in your visit schedule. There are a lot of specialists of handmade as well as materials of latest trends of fashion. Valencia is also famous for the verity of clothing it has got. The streets like Sorni and Amros are very famous for collection of jewelry. The jewelry items are available in different ranges so if your budget Euro trip is restricted in spending for accessories, you can easily find some stuff with very low price. The cultural monuments of Valencia are worth visiting, once you go to Valencia with budget Euro travel package.

Euro Travel

If you’re going to Europe, and planning on traveling, rather than staying in the one place for the duration of your vacation, and you don’t want to spend a fortune, there’s two or three alternative ways that you can travel throughout the continent.

The first option would be to take what you might call the “traditional” budget alternative, which would generally be backpacking and traveling by train. Nothing wrong with that at all, and by using a pass on the trains (known as a Eurailpass, and available in the USA from [http://www.raileurope.com/eurorail/index.htm]) you can certainly reduce your spending, whilst journeying widely throughout many countries.

There are, however, a couple of down sides to this traditional “budget” planning.

First, whilst it can often be exhilarating and exciting to meet and travel with strangers on a train, equally, sometimes, it’s nice to have your own space to enjoy the journey, on your own.

Secondly, by definition, trains can only take you as far as the railway station, and railway stations are not always placed where you want them to be placed. In other words, if you have definite “target” places that you want to see, then you might end up having to take a train, then a bus or taxi (for who knows what distances) before arriving at your destination. This shouldn’t be a problem if the place you so desperately want to visit is in the city, but what if it not?

And, of course, trains run to their timetable, not yours!

An alterative to trains are planes. Flying within Europe is now extremely cheap, and can be reasonably convenient, especially if you are visiting a country that it widely geared up for tourism.

For example, right now, it is possible to fly from the UK to beautiful Salzburg in Austria for GBP19 one way (approximately $35) or to Istanbul in Turkey for GBP31. See http://www.easyjet.com or http://www.ryanair.com for more information on availability of flights and fares.

Budget flying, however, carries with it many of the disadvantages of the trains – crammed into small seats next to someone you have never met before, the inevitable delays and so on.

So, here’s my suggestion. If you are lucky enough to be planning an extended European adventure, (at least one month) then make it a real adventure of which you are in total control.

Travel by car. Then, you can go exactly where you want, when you want, you can choose your own company, and, basically, you’re the boss. Maybe you are now thinking, nothing so revolutionary in that, car hire is not exactly a new idea, is it?

No,. it isn’t, but I’m not suggesting that you use Hertz, Avis or any of the other global car rental companies.

I’m suggesting that you do what I did some years ago for a three month tour of Europe.

BUY a car – a used model, something relatively cheap that you can then resell at a later date, before you fly home. Make sure that it’s a fairly basic model, something that is widely available throughout Europe (so that any required spare parts will be cheap and plentiful) and that it’s mechanically straightforward – no turbochargers or superchargers – so that if anything does go wrong with it on your travels, repairs will be simple (i.e. inexpensive) as well.

In my case, I traveled to Europe, bought an estate car (a station wagon) in France for $750, drove some 10,000kms throughout France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and so on, and sold it for $650 three months later. Apart from a couple of minor repairs (a new battery) and the cost of the gasoline, I lost exactly $100 on the deal.

In the meantime, I had gone exactly where I wanted, when I wanted and done exactly what I wanted to when I got there! Truly, the freedom of the open road!

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More Europe, Less Euros – Travelling on the Cheap

The first thing that should be on your mind when it comes to booking your holiday in Europe is arranging your flights. It may sound obvious, but the easiest way to save money on your flights is to book well in advance. According to many travel experts the best time to reserve your flights is eleven months in advance of your trip, due to the flights just being released. As a result, plenty of cheaper seats will be available. The opposite is also true, as booking at the last minute can result in substantial savings as airlines try to fill up their unsold seats.

Further savings can be made on your European sojourn by simply splitting the cost with your travelling companions. Depending on the accommodation you wish to stay in during your trip, you could save a considerable amount of money. Staying in youth hostels, which, despite the name, are no longer just the preserve of the youth, as many hostels now have family rooms, is always a financially sound option and if you do decide to split the cost, it could ending up costing you next to nothing. Investigate cheap hotel chains as well, as many are significantly cheaper than their Travelodge cousins in Britain. In France, for example, many budget hotels offer three person rooms for under £20 a night.

Keeping an eye on the exchange rates is also a useful idea. Fluctuations between the Pound and the Euro could be the difference between a leisurely, fun packed holiday and a minimalist, dull one. For example, Greece, a once cheap option for a family holiday, has become relatively expensive on the back of its entry to the European Union and its view of itself as an Olympic host and European football champion; while Italy on the other hand, remains very reasonable. With that in mind, do some research and find countries that offer competitive rates on accommodation, food and tourist attractions.

Depending on your destination, it’s worth remembering when planning your holiday that renting a car may be more convenient than relying on pubic transport. Cheap car hire in Spain and Tenerife, for example, is relatively easy to find and allows for far greater flexibility.

Quite possibly the best tip for saving money on your European holiday is to shop around for a low cost insurance policy. The travel agent – online or on the High Street – will attempt to sell you insurance but many travel experts recommend arranging your own instead, as it’s almost a guarantee that similar cover can be found for a lower price elsewhere. This rule also applies to European breakdown cover. While we’ve all heard of the RAC and AA, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s still just insurance and a number of companies will offer the same thing for less money.

When booking a European holiday on a budget, the easiest way to save money is simply to shop around for the best deals, with the internet being a godsend to travellers wishing to book their own trips. Research the countries you’re planning on visiting too and make yourself aware of any opportunities to save money on food or accommodation. By taking all of the above into account, your European trip is sure to be a great experience which won’t break the bank.

The Top 9 Best Beaches of Goa

Have you explored it yet? GOA is a destination of beaches. Explore till you get your peace and your favourite spot. Discover the ones, which have not been explored by many.

Butterfly – If you are planning a quite vacation, then this is the place to be.It lies towards the north of Paloeum beach. Best way to reach is via boat ride from Paloeum beach. Calm peaceful with no disturbance away from the hustle bustle.

Tiger – Located in South Goa. It is one of the most isolated beaches in Goa and truly a wild one. Taking a stroll with your loved one on the soft white sand is a delight here. Fresh breeze hitting the rocks, sea looking at you with all the brightness and shine is breathtaking. Ferry from Kola beach can be rented to take you there.

TIP: carry your snacks and water and other important items.

Hollant – This beach is a delight for travellers. It’s a great beach to go for nice swim unlike the others in Goa. Enjoy a swim and get your perfect tan here. It’s well connected and can be reached in your scooty or car from Vasco. Good cafes and hotel are around.

Betul – is a secluded beach and picturesque. The stunning side of the Mobor peninsula is around the Betul hills giving a spectacular view. It’s a great place to do some fishing the goan style. Trust me worth an experience.

TIP: carry your picnic basket

Cola – A romantic beach, it’s mesmerising and magical at the same time. It feels the sea is begging you to visit again and again. The beauty of the beach is the river flows very close to the beach. Highly recommended. Take a ride from Palolem- Cancona to reach here.

Arambol – It’s a non-crowded beach unlike the Baga and Candolium beaches. Away in the extreme North Goa this beach is located. You can take a long walk by the seaside. Heavenly isn’t it. Arambol takes care of the basic amenities from food to shacks and if you want to relax, then get a nice massage done by the sea.

Morjim – is the now called: Mini Russia, as lot of Russians prefer this beach. This beach gives bird enthusiasts a reason to keep coming back again and again. Great place for bird sighting and travellers thrill lies in dolphin sighting.A must visit place in North Goa if you want to watch turtles by your side.

Vagator – is a great place to enjoy the sunset by the rocks with a beer in your hand. Quiet yet a ravishing place to visit. Lot of tourists prefers this to Anjuna and other beaches.

Siradio – It’s a beach with all that can interest a traveller. A beach great for shell collection to a rocky sandy beach, which entices you to explore the caves around it. It has the great history, which is best explored when you are there.

Why Should You Go for Team Building in Bangalore?

Bangalore is not only an IT hub of India but it is also the party capital of India. It provides ample of opportunities for doing adventures, indulging in fun -activities, night parties and relaxation in luxury resorts. The city not only demands the hard work of the people but it also serves the people with some wonderful team building activities and places so that they can have fun as well as learn.

There are numerous team building activities in Bangalore. Manchinbele is an ideal spot for team building activities in Bangalore. It has some fun water and adventure sports in which the employees and employers can involve and strengthen their relationships with each other.

The city has many resorts as well which provides a luxurious home like stay, fun activities for team building, amazing food and all the other basic and amazing amenities. Staying in resorts makes the team members comfortable with each other. It also helps in establishing communication with the bosses. A thin line between the bosses and the employees can be broken while having fun activities as a team as well as staying in a comfortable environment.

Shilhaandara Resort is for rejuvenating the nerves of the team members. It is placed at the foothills of the Ramangara. It is surrounded by lush greenery and is a perfect place for nature as well as adventure enthusiasts. It has a swimming pool, space for fun-activities indoor as well as outdoor, different cuisines of food and many more amenities. There are many activities like zorbing, paintball, rope climbing in which you can take part with your team. There are many resorts in and around Bangalore that boost team building activities and are perfect for corporate team outings.

The city serves many opportunities for team building. There are many adventurous trekking and camping spots in Bangalore as well which helps to boost the confidence in employees. Adventure sports bring back power and vigor back in the lives of the employees. Savandurga is one of the best places in Bangalore for trekking. This place provides tranquil surroundings as well as thrilling treks which boosts up the employees. Similarly, there are many more trekking places in Bangalore. Employees can head and stay in night camps. They can play games around the campfire, roast food in the early man’s way, stay in camps among the wild animals, and enjoy the scenes of a bed of stars in the dark sky at night. Together with getting involved in camping and trekking enhances the bond and they get to work better as a team.

Bangalore is a perfect city for corporate outings. There are many other activities like archery, rappelling, rock climbing, boating, and much more in which the teams can take part and work as a team. It is rightly said that sports activities not only provide enthralling experiences but also build skills in people. Skills like teamwork, confidence, risk-taking abilities, better planning and development skills are inculcated while performing sports activities.

Peru Travel: Qeswachaka Festival and Alternative Inca Trails in Peru

Many people travel to Peru to hike the famous Inca Trail. There’s an undeniable allure to the idea of treading the same path once used by the ancient Incas as they traveled to the great citadel of Machu Picchu. However, the Inca Trail is not the only impressive remnant of the Inca Empire. In addition to the well-known Inca Trail path to Machu Picchu, the Incas built a vast and elaborate system of roads hundreds of kilometers long that traversed the entire Inca Empire.

The Inca construction, however, didn’t stop at roads. In addition to building paths, the Incas were master bridge builders, and these bridges were an integral part of the road system. Q’eswachaka, commonly known as the Inca Rope Bridge, is the last of these bridges still in use, and is located just outside of Cusco in the Quehue District. Though originally destroyed in an attempt to halt Pizarro’s attack on Cusco during the Spanish invasion, it was reconstructed and continues to remain in use to this day. The bridge spans the raging Apurimac River as it cuts through the breathtaking Apurimac Valley.

Q’eswachaka is made of fibers woven together to create a strong rope, and small slats of wood are used to reinforce the footpath. Part of the reason the bridge has lasted almost 600 years, however, is that every year, the people of four local Quechua communities come together to replace the old bridge with a new one. The Q’eswachaka Festival, four days of work and celebration, marks this occasion. This ancient tradition has been carried out annually since the days of the Incas, and continues to be an important connection to tradition and culture in the high Andes.

Every year, the four communities enthusiastically come together for the process of rebuilding the bridge- an important and ceremonial tradition. Certain members of the community hold the role of engineer, while others serve as weavers. One male holds the important position of “Chakaruwak”, meaning he is a specialist in braiding and construction. In order for the sacred art to be carried on from generation to generation and to keep the spirit of the bridge alive, fathers teach their sons the process, just as their fathers did before them.

Before the festival begins, community members collect the building material, primarily consisting of grass and natural fibers. These fibers will be woven into the cables used in the bridge’s construction. Before the festival and bridge building can begin, however, the spiritual leader of the community must ask the apus, or the mountain spirits, for permission to begin the process, and make offerings of coca leaves and corn to Pachamama, Mother Earth. After this offering, the weaving of the cables begins. In the afternoon, the men divide into two groups, one each side of the bridge, and begin braiding the cables towards each other.

On the second day, the engineers begin by untying the old ropes, which are attached to stone nails, and attach the new ropes to the nails. This is a time consuming and intricate process, but finally the base and handrails of the new bridge are in place.

On the third day of the festival, construction finishes on the handrails and footpath, and when the construction has finished, the bridge is officially opened to the tune of music accompanied by traditional dances.

The festival reaches its climax on the fourth day, which is a day of celebration. The communities once again come together to celebrate the completion of the bridge through song, indigenous dances, and eating traditional foods. This final day serves as a culmination of all the hard work, and a celebration of the lasting traditions that have allowed these communities to keep their vibrant culture alive.

This year, the Q’eswachaka Festival falls during the second week of June, with the principal day of the festival on the second Sunday of the month. The bridge reconstruction and subsequent festival will take place once again, as it does every year, as the local communities gather to honor both Pachamama and their ancestors, and celebrate their community and heritage.

TOP 10 Must Visit Places in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

1) The Ridge:

This is one of the most popular points in Shimla. Located on the Mall road, at the heart of Shimla, this is a much appreciated and enjoyed stretch here, where visitors arrive and drench themselves in the views of mountains and surrounding Beauty.

2) The Mall:

If you love shopping and want to get yourselves bagged with some shimla arts and other accessories then the best place for you is THE MALL. One can shop for local handicrafts, shawls, woolens, exquisite jewelry etc. here.

3) Kufri:

Kufri is just 13 km away from the main town of shimla. You can book a taxi or catch a regular HRTC transport bus from the local bus stand. The views and sceneries here are amazing and the landscapes more flattering, a bit untouched with the tourist rush.

4) Toy Train to Kalka:

if you want something really different then here is a TOY TRAIN SERVICE FROM SHIMLA TO KALKA. This awesome beauty was all setup during British Rule. This route is one of the most pictorial train routes in the world and it passes through more than a hundred tunnels It is a narrow gauge train route and it connects Kalka to Shimla.

5) Jakhoo Temple:

This Temple is well known for its world’s largest and Huge Hanuman Statue. This awesome statue can be viewed from most part of the shimla city. one must visit this place once his/her visit during Shimla tour. Must Visit the temple, to view this statue upright and strain your neck a bit admiring its magnificence.

6) Chail:

This place is very famous for having the world’s highest cricket and polo grounds. Must visit place in chail is Chail Palace. Once the summer capital of the Patiala Kings, the palace has now been converted into a hotel and a tourist destination.

7) Tatta Pani:

“Taatta Pani ” is a hindi Synonym of HOT WATER. It is a very well known tourist spot situated at 51 km away from shimla. This place is very famous for its natural hot water springs.

8) Naldhera:

Naldehra is located around 22 km from Shimla and is famous for the Naldehra Golf Club. Situated at an altitude of 2200 m, this is a 18 hole golf course and is among one of the best golf courses in India.

9) Tara Devi:

Tara Devi is dedicated to the Deity of Stars. This Temple is located at a mountain peak near Shogi. Tara Devi place got its name after this Deity. There are legends and tales to the origins of the temple, making it a simple yet subtly fascinating experience.

10) Indian Institute of Advanced Study:

IIAS was originally built as home for Lord Duffein, who was the Viceroy of India during the years 1884 and 1888. A residential centre for higher education, the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), is located on Observatory hill – one of the seven hills of Shimla.

5 Major Attractions of Nepal

Nepal experiences a huge diversity in terms of tourists as different people are tempted to visit this country for a variety of reasons. While some fancy the adrenaline pumping of the Himalayas, some are intrigued by the outstanding culture and traditions of the country. A lot of travelers visit Nepal in a hope to rediscover the soul from within and in turn attain a spiritual awakening. The country is blessed with the stupendous beauty of nature, huge mountains, vivid landscapes, beautiful temples and monasteries, and vibrant places like Kathmandu. This article briefs about the 5 major attractions of Nepal among the wide choices to explore in here.

1. Kathmandu

The capital city of Nepal is a must-visit place as nearly every itinerary begins from here. The beauty of Kathmandu is incomparable and unmatched to any other city in the world. The lively ambiance, vibrant monasteries, with sights of looming snow-capped peaks in the backdrop makes it a sight to cherish forever. There are a lot of outstanding places to explore in Kathmandu, the Pashupatinath Temple, the Monkey Temple, the Buddhist Shrine are among the finest places to visit. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Durbar Square is a primary attraction in Kathmandu, which was damaged by the 2015 earthquake but still boasts the grandeur in the best way.

2. Pokhara

The gateway to the Himalayas at a distance of 200 km from Kathmandu, the Pokhara rests at the base of the foothills and is surrounded by supreme sights of some of the highest mountains of the world. The picturesque beauty of the surrounding Mt. Manaslu, Annapurna I, and Dhaulagiri makes the landscape postcard perfect. The region around the Lake Phewa is blessed with an unparallel serene ambiance ideal for a relaxing stay. The second largest town of Nepal is much less chaotic than Kathmandu and gifted with an enchanting landscape.

3. Chitwan National Park

Nepal gets a lot of attention for the enticing trekking routes and the high mountains, but the Chitwan National Park packs a different kind of thrill for the tourists. It is a beautiful place that showcases the best of wildlife of Nepal and homes to some amazing animals like the Rhino, Bengal Tigers, Sloths, Leopards, Bears, and many others. The elephant ride lets you explore the best of this National Park blessed with a Tropical Monsoon Climate. A journey through this amazing place creates a memory that will be etched in the heart of the travelers for long.

4. Trekking in Annapurna Region

Trekking and hiking in Nepal is a fascinating thing to do as this rewards the travelers with the bewildering and enthralling sights of nature’s extravaganza. The Annapurna Trekking route is the most popular trekking route of the country as it covers a number of outstanding locations and can be modified according to the wants of the trekkers. The Annapurna Region is also a delight to explore as it displays the enchanting glory of the Nepalese country side and even features of the Tibetan Plateau. This journey also gives an insight into the culture, traditions, and life of the locals at a large.

5. Trekking in Langtang

Another bewitching destination in Nepal is the Langtang Region. It is an outstanding place that ideally serves the travelers with an incredible hiking experience and some captivating sights. The high passes, vibrant landscapes, magnificent views, old monasteries, pukka mountain scenery, and the compelling beauty of the Rhododendrons are a delight for every traveler. A much easier and less tiring destination in comparison to the Annapurna and Everest Trekking trail, the Langtang Region packs some commanding sights that bask in its own glory.

Apart from these 5 destinations, Nepal is also well known and popular for many other mesmerizing locations that can make our extension from India a truly delightful experience. Experience the best of Nepal as it has loads and loads to offer.