Addis Ababa, the largest city and the capital of Ethiopia, is situated in the gorgeous highlands of the country.
With a rich historical significance, lively markets, friendly and courteous people and delicious food, Addis Ababa has become one of the top holiday destinations for leisure travellers, family holidaymakers and honeymooners. Take a look at three of the must-do experiences in the city.
Stroll around Addis Mercato
Addis Mercato is among the largest open-air markets in the entire continent. The whole marketplace is abuzz with noise and activity, and the shops here sell a variety of stuff, such as clothes, mouth-watering food and souvenirs. It is a lovely place to spend some strolling around even if you have no intention of buying anything. Tourists are advised to be careful in the market, especially when it is crowded as the pickpockets are common in the area.
Visit St. George’s Cathedral and Museum
St. George’s Cathedral is one of the most revered places of worship in the city. The complex is situated on the hill-top and overlooks the Menelik II square. There is a museum situated beside the cathedral. The museum holds many brilliant artefacts such as Ethiopian crosses, clothing and religious writing. Inside the cathedral you will find magnificent paintings depicting the scenes from the Ethiopian history and the Bible.
Enjoy Ethiopian Food
Do try out local Ethiopian dishes during you tour of Addis Ababa. Injera, which is a spongy soft pancake made from teff flour, is a big hit with tourists. Various types of curries, meat and vegetables are eaten with injera. Also, make sure you enjoy the delicious Ethiopian coffee, locally known as buna. One of the best places to have injera and other delicious Ethiopian dishes is in Yod Abyssinia restaurant, whereas for a lip-smacking cup of Ethiopian coffee, you can visit Yeshi Buna Cafe.
New Zealand’s Splore is a wonderful summer festival which celebrates the art and music of the country. It is held annually at the Tapapakanga Regional Park, an attractive coastal farm park located at a short drive from Auckland.
Splore 2016, scheduled from 19th to 21st February, promises a lot of fun and many great performances from top artists. Find out more details about the Splore 2016!
Artists from all across the globe will be here in New Zealand to perform at Tapapakanga Regional Park. The party will start early in the morning on the 19th of February. There will powerful rock performances as well as terrific acts by international DJs. Joe Revell, Tommy Flowers, DJ Takas, Tkay Maidza and Ragga Twins are some of the famous artists and bands that are scheduled to perform this time around at Splore.
Free camping is available on first come first serve basis. Or, you can choose to book your spot at the reserved site for camping and RVs. Special camping facilities are available for families at Family Camping area and Family Vans area. There is also an option for glamping (glamorous camping) for the ones who want to do it in style.
Rumpus Room makes Splore an ideal event for families. A range of activities for both kids and adults are organised here, promising them a fun-filled experience. Kid-centric activities such as giant bubbles, sand sculptures, and DanceArama are big hits at the festival. One can learn hula hoop, circus tricks, and juggling at Circus Skills & Unicycle Workshop.
Tickets for Splore 2016 are available online. On arrival, you will get your all-purpose wristband which is needed to buy drinks, food as well as the tremendous merchandise. Also, the wristband provides free access to the unreserved campsite.
The Caribbean is among the top holiday destinations in the world for many reasons, and one of them is the way the locals here celebrate the many events and fests. From world class cultural festivals to local community events, the Caribbean celebrates hundreds of festivals all round the year. Take a look at some of the best known events you can enjoy here in the year 2016.
Antigua Sailing Week (April 16-April 31)
Antigua Sailing Week attracts the best of yachting teams to show up with all sorts of sailboats, from the classic wooden ones to colourful mega-yachts! If you are passionate about sailing, you can even enter the race. If you aren’t, you can just choose one of the many superb parties that take place during the Sailing Week; some of the best party venues are the Antigua Yacht Club`, Nelson’s Dockyard and Shirley Heights.
St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Fest (April 29 – MAY 8, 2016)
St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival is one of the best music festivals in the world. With an amazing backdrop of azure waters, lush greenery and golden beaches, the venues – Mindoo Phillip Park, Rodney Bay, and Pigeon Island National Landmark – resonate with the sound of jazz music and crowd cheer!! From local talents to international favourites, all sorts of artists can be seen performing here.
Reggae Sumfest, Montego Bay, Jamaica (July 17- July 23, 2016)
One of the largest concert festivals in Jamaica, Reggae Sumfest started from where the genre’s first generation of legends left in the 80s! The fest takes place each year in mid-July in Montego Bay. Ziggy Marley, Destiny’s Child, Alicia Keys, Maxi Priest , Mary J. Blige, Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, , Chris Brown, and Usher have been some of the best known performers at the festival.
Festivals and events are just another reason to party. Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts, ‘The High Performance Rodeo’ embraces theatre, music, dance, comedy and interdisciplinary art.
Many local, national and international performers together share stage for this four week festival. It will be held from 7th Jan’16 to 31st Jan’16. If you appreciate art, then you must visit Calgary to experience High Performance Rodeo festival.
One Yellow Rabbit Theatre
The High Performance Rodeo festival features a variety of live performances, majorly from one of Canada’s best known theatre companies, One Yellow Rabbit. Their award winning performances have original plays and are exceptionally noted for their intricate physical movements and musicality. The theatre is a resident company of famous Arts Commons and offers an exceptionally good time to guests.
The Laycraft Lounge, known as the Rodeo Bar, is the official festival hangout. They offer pre show drinks and post show parties to visitors. The lounge is right across the building of Arts Commons, overlooking the scenic Olympic Plaza. The ambience is charming and urbane. Have a drink, meet new people who share your interest in art, and enjoy your time at the High Performance Rodeo Festival.
The Trees, Bankers Hall
Stroll under the ‘Galleria Trees’ on Stephen Avenue. Introduced by Calgary Cassette Preservation Society, this concept is a tribute to the city’s musical heritage. It comprises of 30 song playlists that celebrates 30 years of music in Calgary. The High Performance Rodeo festival gets even more engaging and beautiful with music wafting from towers to trees and throughout the downtown area.
Cathedral Church of Redeemer
The Cathedral Church of Redeemer is a beautiful and historic venue in the heart of Calgary’s cultural district. One can explore the work of talented new performers in the intimate settings of the Cathedral Church of Redeemer. The melodious choir and piano performances truly gives an authentic Calgary musical experience to visitors.
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, Sri Lanka will delight you no end. Despite its small size, the country is one of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots and promises a blissful experience for nature lovers and wildlife buffs. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most popular national parks in Sri Lanka.
Wilpattu National Park
Sprawling over an area of 131, 693 hectares, it is Sri Lanka’s largest national park and is believed to be one of the best places in the country to spot leopards. One of the highlighted features of Wilpattu is the abundance of lakes and ponds, which are scattered throughout the park. So apart from wildlife safaris, the park also offers opportunities for fishing, camping and bird watching. Elephants, sloth bears, leopards, spotted deer, and mongoose are some of the animals that can be spotted here.
Yala National Park
One of the most visited and the second largest national park in Sri Lanka, Yala is home to a tremendous variety of flora and fauna. The park has a very high density of the leopard population and is home to over 215 bird species, six of which are endemic to Sri Lanka. Other animals and reptiles you might spot here include sloth bears, sambars, wild pigs, golden jackals and crocodiles. Visitors are also enthralled by its historical and cultural significance; two important pilgrimage sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are located inside the park.
Uda Walawe National Park
Uda Walawe National Park boasts a variety of eco systems including grassland, scrub jungle and riverine forests. It is considered to be amongst the best places in South Asia for sighting elephants in their natural habitat. There are plenty of walking trails here that allow visitors to explore the region at a leisurely pace. The park may not be very rich in terms of wildlife, however, the stunning landscape more than makes up for it. Meandering rivers, beautiful waterfalls, a number of bird species and of course, lush greenery make the park worth exploring.
Monterrey, ‘Sultan of the North’ and Mexico’s third largest city is truly a surprise when it comes to art and culture.
This modern city is full of cultural offerings with a blend of American and Spanish culture. It is famed for its fine museums and galleries, along with numerous public squares and parks that host a variety of cultural events and festivals.
MARCO: The Museum of Contemporary Art
The stunningly designed MARCO, also known as Museo de Arte Contemporaneo is a must visit place for those curious about the Mexican art. The museum hosts many fascinating exhibitions and boasts an extensive collection of modern art from across the country. It features 11 galleries which includes numerous fine paintings, sculptures and installations from leading Latin American artists. The building itself is a marvellous piece of art with gardens, reflective mirror fountain and fascinating courtyard.
The Museum of Steel
One of the largest museums in Mexico, the Museo del Acero is a must visit when in Monterrey. This fascinating attraction is built within a former steel mill and celebrates the city’s long tradition as a steel manufacturing hub. It is built around the massive 70-metre tall blast furnace and features numerous exhibits dealing with the production of steel. For those curious to know the city’s history, this museum is definitely worth visiting.
Mexican History Museum
Museo de Historia Mexicana boasts an exclusive collection of Pre Columbian artefacts. This hi-tech museum allows visitors to explore Mexico’s rich history by showing them vast collections and interactive displays. The museum is spread across four large halls that exhibit the country’s cultural, economic and political history. The museum also has a man-made river with facilities of boat rides. By way of food, the onsite restaurants dish out pretty good fare.
The Obispado and Regional Museum
Perched high on the hill called Cerro del Obispado, stands the former Bishop’s Palace, Obispado. This splendid old palace is home to the Regional Museum, Museo Regional de Nuevo Leon. The museum’s exhibits largely pertain to the state’s cultural and economic development. It has numerous artefacts from the time of ‘Mexican war of independence’ and also a carousel for kids.
The Catlins is one of the most beautiful areas in South Island, New Zealand. Visit this remote part of the country to explore the rugged natural beauty, rich wildlife and captivating culture of the region. A holiday here is your chance to participate in various outdoor activities, check out interesting collections at small museums and dine in style at sophisticated restaurants. Let’s check out some of the finest attractions at the Catlins.
One of the oldest lighthouses in New Zealand can be found at Nugget Point. This is probably the best place to admire the dazzling views of The Nuggets, wave-ordered rocks that look like gold nuggets. It is also famous for its fur seal colony. Visit Roaring Bay, located just a walk away from the Nugget Point to take a look at the cute, yellow-eyed penguins.
Curio Bay is popular for its fossil forest, wildlife as well as its gorgeous waters. According to experts, the fossils here belong to the Jurassic era. Visitors can often spot yellow-eyed penguins at this bay. Enjoy a leisure walk to reach Porpoise Bay which is home to Hector’s dolphins, a species which is found only in New Zealand.
This is probably the most prominent coastal attraction in the Catlins. These majestic 30-metre high caves are accessible only during the low tide and that’s why it is always recommended to check the official website before planning a day out here. The entrance is located on a private beach, and you need to pay nominal entry fee.
These falls are among the most popular waterfalls in New Zealand and are probably the most photographed attraction in the Catlins. It is located in the Catlins Forest Park. From the top viewing platform, you can admire the stunning beauty of three-tiered Purakaunui Falls. Purakaunui Beach is located in close proximity to the falls.
Owaka Museum and the Catlins Information Centre are located in the same premises. Visit the information centre to know about the landscape and the wildlife of the Catlins. Spend some time at the Owaka Museum to explore interesting exhibits that represent various aspects of the Catlins and New Zealand. The museum also hosts a range of research and educational programmes.
The California desert stretches from the eastern side of the northern Californian region to the southern part of the state border.
You will find some of the most amazing landscapes, parks and lakes along the rugged and enormous terrain. Have a look at three of the most popular and spectacular places in California desert.
The Valley of Fire
The Valley of Fire, located about an hour’s drive from Las Vegas, is the oldest state park of Nevada. Covering about 42,000 acres of sandstone formations of solidified sand dunes, the place dates back to the age of dinosaurs. The rough landscape is perfect for wildlife viewing and hiking, especially during winters. Although the park remains open year-round, it is not advisable to visit the place during summers, when the temperatures soar up to around 48 degree Celsius.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, situated about 135 kilometres from San Diego, is the largest State Park in California. The park covers around 600,000 acres of desert landscape. You will find various species of cacti here. Before exploring the State park, we recommend you to check out the Visitor’s Centre where you can get maps and other important information about the park. You can also get information about the latest hiking trails and roads.
Salton Sea Recreation Area
Salton Sea is actually an ancient lake that once used to be a dried up salt-bed but came back to life in 1905 due to the Colorado River flood. The irrigation canal in Imperial Valley gave way to the swelling river waters, which flooded over to the old bed and filled it up to 82 feet. The lake, known as Salton Sea at present, kept getting flooded by the river till 1907. The inland lake is below sea level, and has no natural outlets. The State recreation area has been set up near the northern banks of the Salton Sea and is a popular picnic area and campsite. It is also used as a fishing spot by fishermen and a recreational area for water sports enthusiasts. The various species of birds found here make it a birdwatcher’s haven.
If you are planning to visit an exotic, adventurous and offbeat destination this holiday season, Ocho Rios is just the place for you. Ocho Rios, located on the north coast of Jamaica, is surrounded by a number of waterfalls and tropical gardens.
The place is famous for being home to various famous writers and musicians. The author of the famous James Bond series, Ian Fleming lived in Oracabessa. You can also visit the abode of the famous composer and playwright Noel Coward. But Nine Mile in Ocho Rios is known for being the birthplace and the final resting place of the King of Reggae, Bob Marley. Check out three prominent attractions here.
Green Grotto Caves
The Green Grotto Caves are popular as the erstwhile hideout for Spanish settlers and runaway slaves and were also used as a backdrop for a popular James Bond flick. Presently various species of snakes and bats reside in these famous limestone caves. You can take guided tours from the Runaway Bay, to know more about the history of the caves and see the marvellous formations of stalactites and stalagmites along with a mesmerising underground lake. Senior citizens, children, claustrophobics and people with physical disabilities are advised not to go inside the caves as they are full of slippery paths and stairs.
Nine mile can aptly be called the Mecca for music fans; especially the reggae lovers, as this is where the reggae legend, Bob Marley was born and finally laid to rest. You can choose to take guided tours which will take you through a museum and the mausoleum where Marley is buried. The tour guides will also provide information about the Rastafarian religion and interesting stories from the extraordinary life of Bob Marley.
Dolphin Cove situated across the Dunn’s River Falls is a popular marine park which offers encounters with sharks, stingrays and dolphins. The beautiful three acre park houses a natural cove where you can choose to kayak or snorkel among the lush vegetation of the rainforest. You can also choose to swim with the dolphins and pet them. Although there is a fee for swimming with the dolphins which is not included in the price of entry tickets, the experience is worth every penny. After spending some fun time with dolphins you can also take the Jungle Trail walk where you will come across snakes, iguanas, and various species of tropical birds.
If you are planning to book tickets to an overseas destination for celebrating the New Year in a somewhat different manner, consider visiting Boston, Massachusetts in the US. In Boston, First Night/First Day Festival hosts a huge celebration on the commencement of the New Year. The festivities herald the New Year on a joyous note. About one million foreign and local revellers turn out to join the popular New Year event.
About the First Night Tradition
First Night Boston, the largest celebration of New Year’s Eve in North America is organised by First Night, Inc., a non-profit and independent organisation. The organisation manages the Neighbourhood Network of First Night in the greater Boston area, which is a community-based outreach program. The First Night New Year’s celebrations were first started in 1975 and have initiated many other First Night events in various cities across the US. The main purpose of the celebration was to get performers and artists on a platform to showcase their talent and also to remove the emphasis on alcohol for the celebrations.
Carrying the tradition forward, mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh will participate in the commencement of the festival and promoting the First Night concept of an alcohol-free New Year’s celebration for everyone. In the past, one was required to buy tickets in order to attend specific events but this year’s events are free and open to everyone making it a family-friendly affair. Most of the specialty attractions and entertaining events will be hosted at the Boston Common and Copley Square.
This year’s events will include the traditions from the First Night’s past such as light displays and ice sculptures. In addition, there will be various music and arts performances, a spectacular fireworks show over Boston Harbour at midnight, and the Grand Procession down Boylston Street. MBTA will provide an extended commuter rail and subway schedule till 2 AM for First Night. The T-train (subway) will be free of charge from 8 PM and 2 AM.
Start your New Year with a First Day Fun Run/Walk on Boston Common. You will also find various discounts for attractions like museums and art performances around the whole of Boston. You can also attend the First Day brunches across the various restaurants in the city.