The Tourists Attractions Of Sao Paulo For A Great Vacation Get Booted To Idyllic Southeast Italy Getting Around On Oahu Keeping Your Mauka Separate From Your Makai Visiting Alaska The Domain Of Mother Nature Total Emersion In Lisbon Portugal

The city of Sao Paulo has been compared to the city of New York, and has just as many interesting places to go and unique things to see as New York does! Sao Paulo is South America’s largest city, and is the third largest city in the entire world. It is home to an astounding 17 million people, and has many neighborhoods made up of a diverse collection of people with nationalities such as Japanese, Arab, Italian and Lebanese.

If you ever wish to make a trip to Sao Paulo, try to avoid the months of January, February and March, as this is the rainy season and floods are inevitable.

These floods disrupt the normal flow of things, and make seeing the sites nearly impossible. The best time to visit is April through December. This is the period of time when you will be able to see art and fashion shows, cultural events, as well as music festivals.

A visit to Sao Paulo will have one bewildered by the assortment of activities and attractions that are available. One unique place to experience is the Butanta Institute, one of the world’s most well known centers for the study of poisonous snakes. While it is foremost a research center, it does house thousands and thousands of poisonous snakes that can be observed by visitors to the Institute.

Art lovers will not want to pass up the opportunity to visit the Museo de Arte Sacra & Jardin de la Luz. This lovely museum is situated inside an 18th century baroque monastery, and houses what is thought to be the best collection of colonial artifacts, as well as art in South America. There are also numerous other museums and galleries scattered throughout the city, some housing major collections, with others hosting shows for local artists.

Sao Paulo, being a cosmopolitan city, is home to many of Brazil’s richest residents. It is also a shopping mecca, and top of the line goods such as cameras, clothes, perfume, jewelry, leather goods, shoes, art, antiques, as well as hand made goods and crafts are widely available.

Sao Paulo is also known for its vibrant nightlife and plethora of dance clubs and bars. One of Sao Paulo’s best-known bars is Bar Brahma, which has been around since 1949. It used to be a meeting place for artsy types as well as local politicians, but today is the favored location to hear live samba music.

Like any metropolitan city, Sao Paulo is easy to get around in by using taxis, buses and trains. It is wise not to rent a car and attempt to navigate the city yourself, as during rush hour the traffic can be at a standstill for hours, and when it rains, traffic doesn’t move at all.

Sao Paulo is a city rich in history; it has a diverse population, beautiful museums and galleries, and is full of attractions and beautiful architecture. It is a city that has much to offer to visitors and residents alike.

My holiday in Italy was a dream come true and my wish to enjoy the less touristy side of Italy was realized. I stayed in a vacation rental villa in the city of Avetrana , situated in the Apulien region which is also called the “boot heel” of Italy. This was the perfect way to experience the local culture and the little villa in Italy served as a great hideaway when I wanted to be alone.

Located in an area in Avetrana called Urmo Belsito, this vacation rental villa boasted a beautiful view of the sea from a rooftop terrace. Nestled on a small hill, my idyllic Italian paradise was within a few miles of the beach on the Ionian Sea. The open-aired balcony offered not only the great view but also a pleasant breeze that was cooling in the warm weather. I enjoyed the fine sandy beaches and clear blue waters and when I got tired, I just dusted myself off and headed to my villa.

This villa in Italy possessed two bedrooms and extra beds for guests (up to four people total), along with the requisite bathroom and kitchen. The landscaping was fitting for the beach town environment and the bricked courtyards were perfect for an evening of dining under the stars. With all the basic necessities and storage, this vacation rental villa made a perfect home base for traveling to other cities in the region like Tarent and Gallipoli. Both towns were within a short driving distance for sightseeing and partaking of various cultural activities.

During my adventures of meandering through the streets of Avetrana , I visited wonderful quaint stores and found some great deals on linens and ceramics and picked up a few lovely bottles of wine. Shopping for food in the markets was a fun experience. The townspeople were so gracious and friendly, even inviting me, a perfect stranger, over for dinner! Just the hospitality alone made my holiday in Italy worth it.

Day trips throughout the Apulien region to cities like Tarent and Gallipoli provided some great times. I rented a car and traveled the winding, narrow roads of the countryside, fascinated by the old stone walls left over from ancient times. The views of the coastline were spectacular and the architecture in these towns and those that dotted the countryside was amazing. My vacation in Italy was studded with valuable gems of sights, sounds and people. Of course, the food was excellent, with rich olive oils and fresh seafood.

All of these day trips to places like Tarent and Gallipoli and many points in between were made possible, thanks to my little vacation rental villa in Urmo Belsito in the city of Avetrana . Having it as my “home base” was a treasure. This little villa in Italy allowed me to relax after a long, eventful day of sightseeing. All the amenities like a washer, refrigerator and stove enabled me to save some money when I needed to do laundry or prepare a home-cooked meal. It was my home away from home! For a great vacation in Italy, I suggest getting the “boot” to the southeast region of Apulien, specifically a quaint little vacation rental villa in Urmo Belsito in Avetrana . You’ll be glad you did!

North, South, East and West don’t have a lot of meaning on the island of Oahu. Sure, there are some references to these points-of-the-compass: The North Shore is famous for its big wave surf and West Oahu is booming with development, but you’re much more likely to hear the term Windward Oahu than you are East Oahu and we haven’t even begun discussing the local terms for direction of mauka, makai, ewa and Diamond Head.

Consider for a moment the geography of Oahu–it’s an island, surrounded by water (obviously) that rises from sea level around its coast line to a series of mountain ridges in its middle. Diamond Head is a prominent coastal landmark located on the Southern-most point of the island. These features are what are used for directions and navigation by those of us who grew up on the island of Oahu. No looking for moss on the side of the tree. No sun rises in the East and Sets in the West nonsense. Directions are simple and direct. You can go Mauka (towards the mountains) or Makai (towards the sea). You can go Diamond Head (towards Diamond Head crater) or Ewa (away from Diamond Head crater). Since no matter where you are on the island, you can almost always see the ocean, the mountains and, at least until recently, Diamond Head using these geographical markers to get from point A to point B make sense.

To those of us who grew up on Oahu this is simple, easy to understand and clear to convey. It’s only when you try to explain it to someone unfamiliar with the island’s directional concept that it starts to get confusing. For instance, let’s say that you are standing in the town of Kailua on the Windward side (east side) of the island, facing North then clearly Makai would be on your right (or east) and Mauka would be on your left (or West). Ewa would also be on your left (or West) and Diamond Head would be to your Southwest. Now let’s say that you are at Pearl Harbor in West Oahu and again facing North then ipso facto Makai would now be on your left (or west) and Mauka would be on your right (or east.) You would be in Ewa and Diamond Head would be to your Southeast. Now, let’s put you facing North while in Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu. Makai would now be North: Mauka, Diamond Head and Ewa would all be to the South–see how easy this is to navigate by? Finally, let’s have you standing in Diamond Head Crater on Southern Oahu and facing North. Makai is now to the South, Mauka is to the North, you’re in Diamond Head and Ewa is to the Northwest. With a little practice and you will be able to get around like you lived on Oahu all your life. If you were to drive around the island in a clockwise direction makai would always be on your left but at varying times would be to the North, South, East and West. Similarly, mauka would always be on your right and at varying times would be to the North, South, East and West.

These days, it seems like humans are everywhere. Finding an adventure is outright impossible. A visit to Alaska, however, will convince you there is still open space in the world.

Visiting Alaska – The Domain of Mother Nature

Make no mistake, the northern most state in the United States is the domain of Mother Nature. While there are pockets of civilization in Anchorage, Juneau and a few other spots, the vast majority of Alaska is untamed. With the exception of Siberia, this makes it one of the last great open spaces on our planets.

For pure beauty, it is hard to beat Alaska. Once you hit the open spaces, your appreciation of nature cannot help but increase dramatically. From soaring mountain ranges to wide open spaces that seem to go on forever, the state is candy for the eye. A trip to the areas with glaciers can be dangerous as mosquitoes tend to fly into your mouth since it is open in wonder all of the time. Unfortunately, the glacier areas are receding in many places do to increased temperatures on our planet, which means you should go sooner than later.

One of the best ways to experience Alaska is to undertake a fly in adventure. Fly in trips put you in very remote areas, ones that can only be accessed by plane. You can fly in for fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, rock climbing and skiing trips to mention only a few. Regardless of your choice, you will develop a new respect for the world around you after the plane has been gone for a couple days. It is truly amazing to think what the original explorers must have gone through.

An excellent way to experience Alaska is to take a ferry up and down the coast. The views in the bays are amazing. Of particular interest are areas where the glaciers are calving into the bays. If at all possible, you should rent kayaks and paddle up to them. The glistening ice and size of the glaciers is simply stunning.

When visiting Alaska, it is vitally important that you bring a good camera with lots of film or data storage for digital models. Inevitably, you will start clicking off pictures at an amazing rate.

If you go sightseeing and do the typical tourism around the city, you will learn a lot about Lisbon history, hear the fascinating story of the earthquake in 1755 and see the effects of this disaterous events even though many beautiful and interesting monumentsstill remain. But for someone who has done similar sightseeing of this city and others around it like Porto, Fatima, Faro and Albufeira, there is another important part of Lisbon Portugal where you can also learn its history, past and present. Let us dive into the juicy world of wine and its history.

Lisbon Portugal and its wines

On the ourskirts of Lisbon there are four grape growing regions. To the west, just a little north of Estoril is the region called Carcavelos. This wine, like many other wines in Lisbon, got its good reputation thanks to the alliance with the English. It is a wine with a full-bodied flavour with an after taste of nuts, from moderately to semi-sweet. Colares, going towards the northeast, makes some of the most unusal wines around. The city is found between the hills of Sintra to the east and the Atlantic beaches to the west. The variety of the grape used, a small dark blue one, is grown in the sands of the Atlantic Ocean. As you can imagine, the process is a very arduous one because the roots must be planted in the Mesozoic layer of clay. Thanks to this thick and protective type of land, the grapevines that are used today survived the great plague which hit Europe in 1870. Therefore, the plants and wines are just as they were a hundred years ago. See how much history you can learn ! These wines are half-bodied and leave your mouth with a concentrated flavour. For a more finer and fragranced bouquet, a cleaner and drier flavour although with a slight marked acidity, go for a Bucelas wine. These vineyards are about 25 kilometers northeast of Lisbon, being grown on the clay hillside and in the ground near the valley of the River Trancao. The majority of these wines are young ones and do not spend much time in barrels but are very popular among other countires of the European Community. So, it is up to the traveller to find a goos aged Bucelas. One that has spent quite a few years in Brazilian oak barrels before it has been bottled, making it have a fruitful and more exotic flavour. The aged ones are considered to be among the best white wines in Portugal.

Courtesy Of Oporto

The Portuguese wines are world famous thanks to the oporto wine from Porto, their eminent embassador which has been made since 1830 with the collaboration of the British. With a long and fascinating history, the oporto wine has won its place among other great sweet wines like sauternes, tokai and madeira. it is a reinforced wine whose grapes have been cultivated in the mountainous and rugged terrain of the High Duero. It can be either white or red, although it is the red wine which has been given fame. When a wine is said to be reinforced, it means that the natural conversion of the sugars in the grapes i alcohol have been stopped at a determined moment when the addition of Portuguese grape liqueur has been added. This addition increases the alcoholic concentration between 15 and 24 percent, making it an energetic and moderately sweet wine.

Flying from Lisbon to Madeira

Even if you are not used to drinking many different wines, you cannot help but to have heard about Madeira wine through good friends, at a meeting or on the television. From the 16th century, the island of madeira was frequented by sailors making their long journeys to the new world and used Madeira as a stop-over, to relax in its paradisical atmosphere and, why not, drink its national product. There are four types of wine: Sercial which is the driest, pale in colour with a light body and drunk with an appetizer. Verdelho is a medium dry wine also used for appetizers or with soups. Malmsey wine is the richest with its full-bodied twang, sweet and therefore best with desserts. And lastly is Bual with a smokey savour, medium-bodied and slightly sweet so it would go best with desserts or cheeses. Madeira wine is aged in barrels anywhere from three to sixteen years so that they can be classified on the labels as vintage. Vintage wines are only made from the most select grapes and therefore the weather also plays an important role in each years quality.

And after having done the wine route, flying on down to the most southern region to Faro or Albufeira to soak up some rays laying on the terraces of some of the best hotels as the weather is usually quite nice many months of the year.Or visit the nearby town of tavira, one of the oldest and most enchanting one in the Algarve region, just a stone throw away from Lisbon, Portugal.

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