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Paraguay: Pride of the Guarani

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  We left Iguazu Falls on a high of blustering waterfalls surrounding us in a circle of thundering water, but we forgot to tell you about our excursion to Paraguay.   We booked a catamaran boat excursion down the Iguazu and Parana Rivers into Paraguay.   The Iguazu and Parana Rivers cross each other at the three-country border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.   The catamaran wasn’t a sailboat: it was a motorized pontoon boat, but we needed it for shallow areas of the river.   Along the way we were going to see an original Guarani Indian site in … More…

We’ve Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This One…

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  Sitting in the Buenos Aires airport, we were lazily waiting for an announcement to board, when someone said we had to find a shuttle out to the plane. What? Scrambling to figure out what and where, we finally found the right shuttle boarding at the very last moment to Puerto Iguazu, far up into the NE tip of Argentina.   We had purchased a flight package from Buquebus Turisimo that included 4 nights hotel with air from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu. Buquebus is an Argentine-Uruguayan company that operates ferry services from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Montevideo, Uruguay, and also offers … More…

With My Eyes Closed

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  “Want to go to Argentina?” I said to my friend D. “What? Argentina? Hmm… I don’t know… how long?” “Just a month. There is a great price out of LA.” “A month! I can’t get that much time off work.” “Are you sure? Have you asked?” “No. Ok, I’ll ask… but I don’t think so… it’s always been two weeks.” The next day, she called to say they said YES. I think she was in shock. But she was excited and so was I! Since we were both ballroom dancers, the idea of going to the birthplace of the … More…

Places We Regret Going

  We’ve travelled to over 30 countries, and each one had something special, unforgettable and memorable.   But upon careful review, do we have any travel regrets? Have we travelled to any places that we wish we had not gone to?    There are a few that stand out above others as the best with no regrets whatsoever, like Tonga, New Zealand, Uruguay and Venice, but then there was also China, and Ireland… oh, and Croatia, and Scotland… and France and Mexico and Hungary… there are so many incredible memories, and so many fantastic places!    So… ummm… let me … More…

Cyclone In Tonga

  Our dear friends survived a major cyclone in Tonga this spring. Their beautiful private island, Uoleva, and their amazing cabins on an absolutely perfect South Pacific beach were destroyed. Their entire resort was smashed and they were were lucky to withstand the cyclone alive.   First, here are some photos of what Serenity Beaches looked like when we visited: Arriving at Uoleva Island, Tonga… notice the lush and green jungle…   Our beautiful cabin home made of imported Indonesian hardwood…   Our spa bathroom with outdoor shower…   Solar lights line thick jungle path to gazebo restaurant…   The perfect … More…

Sky Diving – Insanely Incredible!

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  Recently, our friend, Wendy, a fearless adventurer, decided to go skydiving. She described it as “Insane and Incredible!”   She flew with a company called Adventure Skydiving, and found it wonderful. Excited for her, we went to watch, along with her two children, aged two and five years old respectively. We were a little nervous and apprehensive and excited, all at once!   At first we were surprised to see that the children were quite nonchalant about the whole thing, as if this was something Mommy did every day, but upon reflection, it made sense. They had no idea of the … More…

10 Top Travel Secrets For Europe

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  If you would like to travel cheaper, save money and have fewer travel issues, these tips for Europe will help: 1. Forget super-expensive Western Europe (England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy). It’s hard to enjoy travel when you are aghast at the costs of everything. 2. Focus on cheaper Central Eastern Europe: Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia with a quick 2 day side trip to Venice, a must-see in Europe. 3. Croatia and Slovenia are both as beautiful as France at a quarter of the costs for food and accommodation, and has an amazing coastline  with hundreds of islands, as … More…

Gyor, Hungary

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  I was so excited to return to my favourite small town in Hungary: Gyor.   Near the border of Slovakia and only an hour and a half to continue to Vienna, it’s a pleasant two hour drive from Budapest to Gyor…   Gyor (pronounced “Dyur”) is packed with charm, and has a quiet community atmosphere with the storybook river Raba running through it…   E and I had spent a lot of time here several years ago when she lived in Gyor. She had a pretty little apartment just off downtown.   Since I was there in winter, I … More…

Parking In Europe

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  Get a load of this! Cars parked inches apart! This is the way parking is all over Europe’s cities. Space is at a premium so no parking spot is too small…     In Budapest the view from my friend, E’s, balcony up and down the street in provided ample example of the tight parking…   This type of parking is prevalent everywhere we went in Europe and cars whiz down narrow alley streets and between cars on narrow streets with inches to spare. We came to the conclusion that they are much better drivers than we are in … More…

The Taxi Ride Of Our Lives!

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In Budapest, we took a Danube Riverboat Cruise down the river to a little town called Szentendre.   We enjoyed great views of the bridges and Parliament Buildings as we cruised slowly down the Danube…   Jaws dropped though when we saw a bus floating in the river…  Oh My God.   A few minutes later we realized that it was a bus boat! Hilarious.   After a nice cruise down the river, Szentendre came into view…   Szentendre was a charming little town…   But what really was unique was the Marzipan Museum. Yes, marzipan, the almond paste that can be … More…

A Powerful Voice

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How many times have we said we don’t like something, only to find that an authentic first-hand experience of that very thing astonishes you, and you come away with a complete change of mind… and so it happened with us in Budapest.   First of all, Budapest is an extravagant and exciting city, ranging from magnificent to modest. Architecturally, it is beautiful. Many original historic buildings have been maintained, and these elegant structures seem to be valued much more in Europe in general, than they are in North America.   Much of the charm of Europe is in the magnificent … More…

The Best Hot Chocolate & Cheap Elegant Food in Budapest

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  Hungarian food is simple and hearty, offering wholesome soups, stews and goulash but there is one traditional item that is not to be missed: Langos. It’s available in many markets, malls and family events. Think of a luscious king-size fresh fry bread topped with garlic butter, sour cream and loads of cheese! One Langos is a meal in itself…   The absolute best hot chocolate ever is at the Napos Oldal Cafe, in a quiet area of central Budapest, on Jokai Utca 7 at the end of Zichy Jeno Utca. Napos Oldal is an owner-run specialty cafe with many vegan items, healthy desserts, coffees, a … More…

The Garden of Happiness

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  One day I was out shopping at the mall in downtown Budapest at West End City Centre Mall…   It’s a huge five-level mall!   Not without its charms…   A bit disgruntled that I could not find a single thing I particularly wanted to buy, I was equally tired of walking and walking back and forth on five endless levels with no palpable results. Perhaps I should have been happy to save my money, but I was looking for things I thought I needed (you know how that is).   Finally, peeved, I stepped outside a back entrance … More…

Heal Thyself in a Roman Turkish Bath House

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  It seems that Hungary sits over a steaming inferno of water…   Hungary has a reputation for having the best Roman Turkish bath houses in Europe.   People from all over Europe, as well as from other parts of the world, visit their famous medicinal hot springs.   Thermal baths are literally spread all over the country. There are over 140 registered thermal baths in Hungary and over 1300 thermal springs.   The city of Budapest holds the title of having the most thermal and medicinal springs than any other city in the world.   The Roman Turkish bath houses are … More…

White Cinderella Castle On The Danube

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  With the River Danube running through the centre of the city, Budapest is a spectacular city!   Did you know that there are two separate cities that make up Budapest? Buda is on the West side of the Danube and Pest (pronounced Pesht) is on the East side of the Danube.   One of the most impressive things about Budapest is its diverse architectural buildings, ranging from Gothic to Soviet-era, to Baroque to Roman Ruins to Art Nouveau. This is a result of Hungary being invaded an unbelievable number of times!   Hungary’s history goes back to over 350,000 years. Considering … More…

Music Echoing Across The Austrian Alps

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  It wasn’t the yodeling through the Austrian Alps that was impressive, no, – though I’m sure yodeling would be equally amazing – but it was the music!   We can understand much better now, how incredible it is to experience sound resonating across the giant alps and how dramatically it floats through the air…   The Kufstein Fortress of the 12th Century is remarkable in itself…   Even more notable, however, is that the Kufstein Fortress houses the Heroes Organ of 1931, the largest freestanding organ in the world with 4307 working pipes…   The organ is played only once a day, but it is … More…

Gingerbread Medieval Lane, Kufstein, Austria

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  About ten years ago, we were driving through the rich rolling hills of Austria, licking lush Gelato ice cream cones, and I swear the hills were so beautiful that they were alive with the Sound of Music…    But this time we were on the train heading through a different part of Austria – the impressive Austrian Alps…   Nestled in the Austrian Alps is a small mountain town called Kufstein…   We stayed at the Hotel Kufsteinerhof at 204E (317C) right in the centre of town…   With a great view of the Kufstein Fortress of 1205… (upper left corner) … More…

Our Favourite Place In Europe

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  What a surprise! This country’s lush green countryside was as beautiful as Southern France!   It was very clean and tidy, with beautiful highways and modern conveniences everywhere. Very warm helpful people too, with a great sense of humour.   This country is relaxing, easy, friendly, and has fewer tourists than France, with the same gorgeous scenery.   Where are we? Croatia!   Our destination that day, after getting lost and ending up in the wrong country… http://travellittleknownplaces.com/oops-wrong-country/,  was Plitvice, Croatia, home of the exquisite layered waterfalls.   It was pouring rain…    The mist hung over the forested hills…    But when the … More…

Oops – We’re In The Wrong Country!

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  Trieste, Italy, was a very elegant city, combining Italian, German, Latin, Austrian, Hungarian and Slavic cultures, but it was time to move on to Slovenia and Croatia.   We could not find an automatic car to rent in downtown Trieste and found automatic transmission vehicles were only available at the airport. We paid an astonishing $120 for a taxi from Trieste to Trieste Airport, which is 50 km away from Trieste, in Montflanquin, and then we just barely found a vehicle at a reasonable rate.   As if it wasn’t bad enough paying $120 to the airport, we had to pay … More…

Trieste: Full of Surprises

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  The trip from Venice to Trieste by train follows the curved coast of Italy and has some spectacular views of the towns dotting the hilly green coast and the Adriatic Sea.   We met the sweetest couple on the train. A Chinese couple that helped us with our luggage, offered the most delicious Chinese nougat candies, and shared rushing to the windows to get that perfect photography shot. They were very concerned about our comfort and very kind people. How silly that we didn’t get their contact information. (You know who you are, so perhaps if you read this you … More…

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